'Dallas' star Larry Hagman dead at 81

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Staff and Wire Reports

Posted on November 23, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 3:48 AM

DALLAS — Larry Hagman, known for more than three decades as oil tycoon J.R. Ewing on the TV show "Dallas," died Friday afternoon, News 8 has confirmed.

He was 81 years old.

His family said in a statement that Hagman died Friday in Dallas. The statement was provided to The Associated Press by Warner Bros., which produces the new edition of the show "Dallas." A representative of the actor also confirmed the death to WFAA-TV.

The Dallas Morning News reported that several of Hagman's co-stars were by his side at the time of death.

The North Texas native was part of the original "Dallas" cast on the CBS evening soap opera that debuted in 1980. The show returned last year on cable, was a hit, and season two was currently being shot in Dallas.

Larry Hagman had battled cancer, but the cause of death was not released.

The actor gained TV fame with the fluffy 1960s sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie," in which he played Capt. Tony Nelson. But it was his portrayal of the ruthless J.R. Ewing that brought Hagman his greatest stardom.

"Who Shot J.R.," the 1980 cliffhanger episode in which Ewing was shot, was among the most-watched broadcasts of its day.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings released the following statement on Hagman's passing:

"Larry Hagman created a role that was mythic and put Dallas in the spotlight in the 1980's and that attention has lasted decades; gaining world wide recognition for our City.  The recognition and affinity he created for Dallas can never be replicated - he was one of a kind. Larry is a North Texas jewel that was larger thank life and he will be missed by many in Dallas and around the world. We are grateful for his being a hard working ambassador for Dallas as well as the underdog with our City.  On behalf of the City and Citizens of Dallas - our thoughts and prayers are focused on his family and his fellow cast and crew as they grieve such a large loss."

News 8's Ron Corning interviewed Hagman and his "Dallas" co-star Linda Gray on October 12. A representative of the actor confirmed that it was Hagman's final sit-down interview, and talked about his enduring friendship with Gray and how close the new "Dallas" series cast had become.

Hagman was scheduled to appear on News 8 Daybreak next week to issue the first checks to the creative arts education programs that are going to benefit from The Larry Hagman Foundation, which Hagman said he founded to give back to the city that has given so much to him.

WFAA and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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