Actor Larry Hagman passed away over the weekend from complications from throat cancer. This is strangely sad news, considering that his iconic character, J.R. Ewing from Dallas, was such an insufferable dickhead.
Larry was 81 years old … not a bad age to kick it … and apparently died peacefully surrounded by friends and family, as should we all. Among the friends at his deathbed were two other Dallas stars: Linda Gray, who played J.R.’s slutty alcoholic wife Sue Ellen, and Patrick Duffy, who played J.R.’s whiny brother Bobbie. The fact that those three were real-life friends is very heart-warming, for some reason. I bet when Shannen Doherty dies, Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling and the others will all be there for her, holding hands and letting bygones be bygones.
If you are too young to have enjoyed the original Dallas, it was a truly awesome show. It was THE nighttime show back then, with lots of sexy adultery, back-stabbing, boozing, Charlene Tilton and her hair, and those great giant Stetsons. J.R. called everyone darlin’ in that smarmy way that made you want to run away screaming and begging for an AIDS test.
Dallas also pretty much invented the end-of-season cliffhanger. On one season finale, J.R. was shot, you didn’t know if he was alive or dead, AND you didn’t know who shot him. The “Who Shot J.R.?” cliffhanger was the biggest thing ever. The next season’s premiere when the answer was revealed remains the second most-watched entertainment show of all time. (In case you don’t remember, he was shot by his ungrateful bitch sister-in-law Kristin … she was mad because J.R. had knocked her up and then threatened to frame her as a hooker if she didn’t leave Dallas.)
Many stars tweeted condolences and memories after Larry’s death was made public, from Larry King to Kevin Smith, but by far the best was from Tom Brokaw. He tweeted:
“One winter as Larry Hagman’s neighbor he’d invite our kids to join his parade on the beach. He’d march in caftan w/flute. Joyful soul.”
Brokaw’s image is so far from the J.R. Ewing of my childhood that it makes me extremely happy. It’s very pleasant to imagine that bastard J.R., he of the BVD commercials and that awful dickish smirk, skipping happily on the beach wearing a caftan and playing a flute. Rest in peace, Larry. You always seemed like a cool guy.