'Dallas' star Larry Hagman dies at 81 - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

'Dallas' star Larry Hagman dies at 81

(Source: Glenn Francis/www.PacificProDigital.com) (Source: Glenn Francis/www.PacificProDigital.com)

DALLAS - Larry Hagman, best known for his role as J.R. Ewing on TV's Dallas, has died.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Hagman passed away Friday afternoon at a hospital in Dallas due to complications from a recent bout with cancer.

He was 81.

Hagman had been in the city celebrating Thanksgiving and "re-enacting the iconic role he loved most" for the recent revival of the hit 80s show, according to a statement from his family, obtained by the newspaper.

TNT released a statement late Friday saying the network is "deeply saddened" to hear of Hagman's passing.

"He was a wonderful human being and an extremely gifted actor. We will be forever thankful that a whole new generation of people got to know and appreciate Larry through his performance as J.R. Ewing," the statement read.

"Our thoughts a prayers are with his family at this very difficult time."

Hagman, a native Texan, was born in Fort Worth on Sept. 21, 1931, the son of actress Mary Martin and attorney Ben Hagman.

He moved to Los Angeles after his parents' divorce and would eventually follow in his famous mother's footsteps.

For five years, Hagman was a cast member of the London production of his mother's show, South Pacific, before joining the U.S. Air Force.

While stationed in England, he met and married his wife Maj Axelsson.

After serving, he appeared on and off Broadway, and later moved to California.

Hagman became a household name when he landed the role of Anthony Nelson on TV's I Dream of Jeannie. The show ran from 1965-1970.

But his role on Dallas would make him a TV icon. The episode "Who Shot J.R.?" received some of the highest ratings in TV history, with more than 350 million people worldwide watching and guessing who the triggerman was.

Dallas originally aired from 1978-1991. Nearly 20 years later, TNT brought the series back to television, premiering on the network in June 2012. It was renewed for a second season, slated to begin airing in January 2013.

Hagman is survived by his wife and two grown children, as well as several grandchildren.

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