Larry Hagman, Star of ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and ‘Dallas,’ Dead at 81
Larry Hagman, best known for his roles as Air Force Captain Anthony Nelson on ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and as J.R. Ewing on the long running late night soap ‘Dallas,’ has passed away at the age of 81.
Though he kicked around Hollywood with bit parts in movies and television, it was in 1965 that Hagman secured a place in television history with his co-starring role in the hit show ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ where he played an astronaut that stumbled across a bottle containing a genie. And thought the show was obviously modeled on ‘Bewtiched,’ it ran for five seasons and has been in re-runs ever since.
Like many TV actors, he spent much of the 1970′s doing guest spots, and directed the film ‘Beware! The Blob,’ but in 1978 his fortunes changed dramatically when he was cast as J.R. Ewing on ‘Dallas.’ The show was a pop culture phenomenon, as even those who may not have been alive at the time have heard about “Who shot J.R.?” (if only through ‘The Simpsons‘ parody)., which was joked about by president Jimmy Carter. It’s fair to say when a president makes a pop culture reference, it’s because he thinks everyone gets the joke. The episode that answered the question of who shot J.R. – “Who done it?” – ranks as the second most watched television episode ever with a reported 83 million viewers. ‘Dallas’ ran for thirteen years from 1978 through to 1991 when evening soap operas began to fade from network television.
Hagman recently made a comeback of sorts as he returned to the part of J. R. Ewing for the TNT reboot of ‘Dallas.’ He is survived by his wife and two children.