LOS ANGELES — J.R. Ewing was a business cheat, faithless husband and bottomless well of corruption. Yet with his sparkling grin, Larry Hagman masterfully created the charmingly loathsome oil baron — and coaxed forth a Texas-size gusher of ratings — on television’s long-running and hugely successful nighttime soap, “Dallas.”
Although he first gained fame as nice guy Major Tony Nelson on the fluffy 1965-70 NBC comedy “I Dream of Jeannie,” Hagman earned his greatest stardom with J.R. The CBS serial drama about the Ewing family and those in their orbit aired from April 1978 to May 1991.
The actor, who returned as J.R. in a new edition of “Dallas” this year, had a long history of health problems and died Friday due to complications from his battle with cancer, his family said.
TNT’s “Dallas” reboot was slated to return for a second season Jan. 28. But Hagman’s death leaves the future of the show in question.
Sources close to “Dallas” who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly said this weekend that Hagman had completed filming on several new episodes before his death and would appear in Season 2.
But the sources also acknowledged that the show’s producers hadn’t yet established how they would address J.R.’s departure from the series.
The show’s writers and producers are said to be working to give his character a proper send-off.
Years before “Dallas,” Hagman had gained TV fame on “I Dream of Jeannie,” in which he played an astronaut whose life is disrupted when he finds a comely genie, portrayed by Barbara Eden, and takes her home to live with him.
Hagman also starred in two short-lived sitcoms, “The Good Life” (NBC, 1971-72) and “Here We Go Again” (ABC, 1973). His film work included well-regarded performances in “The Group,” “Harry and Tonto” and “Primary Colors.”