- (Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)
J.R. Ewing's funeral will soon air on TNT, and it's likely the episode will be as famous as the "Who Shot J.R.?" episode of the original series. TNT decided to dedicate an episode to Larry Hagman after he died from cancer.
Hagman first enacted the role of J.R. Ewing in 1978 and was the only member of the "Dallas" cast to appear in all 357 episodes of the series, according to The Guardian. Fans couldn't get enough of Ewing's villainous character, even though two of the highest-rated episodes focused on Ewing's supposed death.
Ewing was ranked number 11 on TV Guide's annual "50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time," which is ironic given that Ewing was meant to be a supporting character. Hagman's portrayal of the dastardly brother elevated Ewing to a new level and quickly became someone viewers loved to hate.
In 2012, TNT decided to bring "Dallas" back to life with a new, younger cast carrying on the stories of the Ewing family. Hagman returned as J.R. in order to mentor his younger son, John Ross Ewing III, who has become just like his father. Fans were thrilled to see Hagman return and, after spending several episodes playing a seriously depressed Ewing, get back to himself and fight for his homestead of Southfork.
Ewing's character will be mourned in season two of "Dallas," but no other details have been released yet. Hagman had a difficult life and publicly struggled with alcoholism but enlisted in a 12-step program in order to maintain his sobriety. According to Texas Monthly, Hagman also advocated using marijuana to help stop drinking.
"I liked it because it was fun, it made me feel good, and I never had a hangover," he told Texas Monthly.
Yet later he quit smoking altogether after being diagnosed with liver cancer. He underwent a successful liver transplant and became an advocate for the Great American Smokeout and National Kidney Foundation.
In June 2011, he announced he had stage 2 throat cancer.
"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," he said, according to The Daily Express.
Hagman passed away on Nov. 23, surrounded by family and friends. TNT has announced it will not recast Hagman's character and instead honor him in the upcoming season.