TV star Larry Hagman, best known for playing J.R. Ewing on the 1980s CBS soap Dallas and as Major Anthony "Tony" Nelson on I Dream of Jeannie, died Friday, Nov. 23, at Medical City Dallas Hospital from cancer complications. He was 81.
Hagman, who reprised his role as J.R. on TNT's Dallas update, announced in 2011 that he was being treated for "a very common and treatable form of cancer," later revealed to be stage 2 throat cancer. Earlier this year, he said, "I beat that thing. I am in remission now. All good!" He had recently completed filming six episodes of Dallas for TNT.
"Larry was back in his beloved Dallas, re-enacting the iconic role he loved most," the Hagman family said in a statement to the Dallas Morning News. "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."
Hagman's Dallas co-stars and crew remembered the icon as "a giant, a larger-than-life personality whose iconic performance as J.R. Ewing will endure as one of the most indelible in entertainment history. He truly loved portraying this globally recognized character, and he leaves a legacy of entertainment, generosity and grace. Everyone at Warner Bros. and in the Dallas family is deeply saddened by Larry's passing, and our thoughts are with his family and dear friends during this difficult time."
Among those friends, of course, is the actor's I Dream of Jeannie co-star Barbara Eden, who mourned Hagman's passing on her Facebook page.
"I still cannot completely express the shock and impact from the news that Larry Hagman has passed," she wrote. "I can still remember, that first day on Zuma Beach with him, in the frigid cold. From that day for five more years, Larry was the center of so many fun, wild, shocking… and in retrospect, memorable moments that will remain in my heart forever. He was such a key element in my life for so long and even, years after I Dream of Jeannie; our paths crossed many times...Amidst a whirlwind of big laughs, big smiles, and unrestrained personality Larry was always, simply Larry. You couldn’t fault him for it, it was just who he was…."
"I, like many others believed he had beat Cancer and yet we are reminded that life is never guaranteed," she continued. "My deepest condolences go out to his wife Maj, his son and daughter, and his grandchildren, as well as his friends in this time of his passing. I can honestly say that we’ve lost not just a great actor, not just a television icon, but an element of pure Americana. Goodbye Larry, there was no one like you before and there will never be anyone like you again."
Hagman is survived by his wife of more than 58 years, Maj, two children, and five grandchildren.