4 hr ago| By Bill Trott
Actor Larry Hagman played the iconic role of J.R. Ewing in television's "Dallas," which had been revived by the TNT network. He died Friday at 81.
Larry Hagman, who created one of American television's most supreme villains in the conniving, amoral oilman J.R. Ewing of "Dallas," died on Friday, according to a co-star. He was 81.
Hagman died at a Dallas hospital of complications from his battle with throat cancer, the Dallas Morning News reported, quoting a statement from his family. He had suffered from liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver in the 1990s after decades of drinking.
Linda Gray, who played J.R.'s long-suffering wife, Sue Ellen, was with Hagman in Dallas when he died, the actress' spokesman, Jeffrey Lane, said in an email.
"Larry Hagman was my best friend for 35 years," Gray said in a statement. "He was the Pied Piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew. He was creative, funny, loving and talented, and I will miss him enormously."
In July 1995, he was diagnosed with liver cancer, which led him to quit smoking, and a month later he underwent a liver transplant.
After giving up his vices, Hagman said he did not lose his zest for life.
"It's the same old Larry Hagman," he told a reporter. "He's just a littler sober-er."
Hagman was born on September 21, 1931, in Weatherford, Texas, and his father was a lawyer who dealt with the Texas oil barons Hagman would later come to portray. He was still a boy when his parents divorced and he went to Los Angeles with Martin, who would become a big name in Hollywood and a Tony winner on Broadway, where she starred in "Peter Pan" and "The Sound of Music."
Hagman eventually landed in New York to pursue acting, making his stage debut there in "The Taming of the Shrew." In New York, he married Maj Axelsson in 1954 while they were in a production of "South Pacific. The marriage produced two children, Heidi and Preston.
Hagman served in the Air Force, spending five years in Europe as the director of USO shows, and on his return to New York he took a starring role in the daytime soap "The Edge of Night." His breakthrough came in 1965 when he landed the "I Dream of Jeannie" role opposite Barbara Eden.
In his later years, Hagman became an advocate for organ transplants and an anti-smoking campaigner. He also was devoted to solar energy, telling the New York Times he had a $750,000 solar panel system at his Ojai estate, and made a commercial in which he portrayed a J.R. Ewing who had forsaken oil for solar power. He was a longtime member of the Peace and Freedom Party, a minor leftist organization in California.
Hagman told the Times that after death he wanted his remains to be "spread over a field and have marijuana and wheat planted and harvest it in a couple of years and then have a big marijuana cake, enough for 200 to 300 people. People would eat a little of Larry."http://news.msn.com/pop-culture/actor-larry-hagman-tvs-jr-ewing-of-dallas-dies