Sad news today as Dallas star Larry Hagman died at the age of 81 yesterday, Friday 23 November, due to complications with his recent battle with throat cancer. He is survived by his wife Maj Axelsson, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, and their two adult children Heidi and Preston. RSVP’s thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
Larry was famous for playing J. R. Ewing in hit show Dallas and reprised the role in a recent reboot. It was during filming, in October 2011, that he revealed that he had been diagnosed with a “treatable” form of throat cancer and that he would receive treatment while filming the show. He said “As J.R. I could get away with anything – bribery, blackmail and adultery. But I got caught by cancer. I do want everyone to know that it is a very common and treatable form of cancer. I will be receiving treatment while working on the new Dallas series. I could not think of a better place to be than working on a show I love, with people I love. Besides, as we all know, you can’t keep J.R. down!”
Larry was surrounded by his friends and family when he died at 4.20pm yesterday in bed at a Dallas hospital. His Dallas co-stars Linda Grey, who played his wife Sue Ellen, and Patrick Duffy, who played Bobby Ewing, were among those at his bedside. Linda’s agent,Jeffrey Lane stated, “They had been friends for 35 years and they had worked together for many years, so obviously it is devastating.”
His family issued a statement saying “Larry was back in his beloved Dallas, re-enacting the iconic role he loved most. Larry’s family and close friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday. When he passed, he was surrounded by loved ones. It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for. The family requests privacy at this time.”
Larry was born in Fort Worth, Texas on 21 September, 1931. In 1952 he was drafted into the United States Air Force. He began his acting career in 1956 by starring in the off-Broadway play Once around the Block. His big break came in 1965 when he played Anthony Nelson in the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie but it was when he landed the role of the conniving J. R. Ewing in Dallas in 1978, and ran until 1991, that he became a household name. Larry Hagman was a truly legendary actor and will be forever remembered for playing the greatest villain in the history of television. He will be sorely missed.