Dallas Star Larry Hagman Dies

Larry Hagman, who starred in the hit TV series Dallas as the scheming oil baron J R Ewing, has died.

His family said in a statement that the 81-year-old died in a Dallas hospital following complications from his battle with cancer.

He had suffered from liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver in the 1990s after decades of drinking.

Dallas, which made its premiere on the CBS network in 1978, made Hagman a superstar.

The show quickly became one of the network's top-rated programmes, built an international following and inspired a spin-off, imitators and a revival in 2012.

"Larry was back in his beloved hometown of Dallas, re-enacting the iconic role he loved the most," his family said in a statement. "Larry's family and closest friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday."

The popularity of Dallas made Hagman one of the best-paid actors in television and earned him a fortune. He lost some of it, however, in bad oil investments before turning to real estate.

Fans and celebrities took to Twitter to pay tribute to him.

Linda Gray, who played J R's wife, Sue Ellen, and was at his bedside when he died, said: "Larry Hagman was my best friend for 35 years. 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."

Larry King said: "Larry Hagman was a dear man who had an incredible career. He helped me to stop smoking. He was a very special person."

Actor William Shatner said: "My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Larry Hagman. My best, Bill".

In July 1995, he was diagnosed with liver cancer, which led him to quit smoking, and a month later he underwent a liver transplant.

Hagman said he quit drinking the moment doctors told him he had cirrhosis of the liver and could die within six months.

Hagman was born in Weatherford, Texas, and his father was a lawyer who dealt with the Texas oil barons Hagman would later come to portray.

His mother was stage and movie star Mary Martin and he became a star himself in 1965 on I Dream of Jeannie, a popular television sitcom.

Barbara Eden, who starred alongside him in I Dream of Jeannie, tweeted: "Larry Hagman not just a great actor, not just a television icon, but an element of pure Americana. I'll miss him."

Hagman started his acting career in theatre in New York where he married Maj Axelsson in 1954 while they were in a production of South Pacific. They have two children, Heidi and Preston.

He served in the Air Force, spending five years in Europe as the director of USO shows.

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 also a longtime member of the Peace and Freedom Party, a minor leftist organisation in California.

Hagman had a eccentric streak. When he first met actress Lauren Bacall, he licked her arm because he had been told she did not like to be touched and he was known for leading parades on the Malibu beach and showing up at a grocery store in a gorilla suit.

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