Actor Larry Hagman who played 'Dallas' villain J.R. Ewing dies

DALLAS (CBS) - The Dallas Morning News reports that actor Larry Hagman of the famed CBS "Dallas" series has died.

Hagman who played J.R. Ewing -- the most famous character in what was one of the biggest hit television series of the 1980s -- was 81 years old.

The paper says that Hagman's family announced that the "Dallas" star died on Friday.

"Everybody hates me, they love this character," said Hagman.

Love him or hate him, audiences watched 14 seasons of Larry Hagman playing the infamous J.R. Ewing, the conniving oil baron with the reptilian smile.

The series aired on CBS and WKYT from 1978 until 1991.

In "Dallas," J.R . cheated his family, his friends and his wife while taking
plenty of knocks of his own. When the "Who shot J.R.?" episode aired in November 1980, millions of Americans tuned in to watch.

In real life, Hagman's years of heavy drinking led to a liver transplant that
prolonged his life. And perhaps gave him a sense of mortality his scheming TV character, J.R., never shared.

Like J.R., Hagman was born in Texas, the son of actress Mary Martin.

"The meaner he gets on television, the nicer he gets at home," said his mother during the "Dallas" series' heyday.

Indeed, he didn't always play a bad guy. Americans first knew him as an anxious astronaut harried by a genie in "I Dream of Jeannie."

Hagman received no residuals for "I Dream of Jeannie," which is still in
syndication. He was determined not make the same mistake with "Dallas" and he negotiated record salary and rerun compensation packages.

Like J.R., a real businessman.

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