I’m currently visiting an old uni friend for some R&R, but had to log in for a quick post. I arose to the sad news of Larry Hagman passing away earlier today. He died aged 81, from complications arising from cancer and liver disease. To say I’m gutted, is a bit of an understatement. I recall Dallas being on in the background when I was growing up, but it was only recently that I got into the new series. I immediately fell in love with Larry Hagman’s JR and he remains one of my favourite TV characters of all time.
A wonderfully astute actor with impeccable delivery, Hagman had presence which gave JR’s character an added dimension of unparalleled gravitas. Being hooked on the new Dallas since it aired in the UK earlier this year, I’ve championed Hagman getting more screen time. Because those few scenes were never enough. A barely there one minute scene came alive in Hagman’s oh so capable hands. I’ll be ordering the original 1980s Dallas series for some Christmas viewing and can’t wait to see a younger JR in action.
What are your favourite JR moments? I loved his chemistry with Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Josh Henderson. That kind of chemistry is difficult to manufacture and I hope that the series doesn’t suffer with Hagman’s passing. I have full confidence in Cynthia Cidre, whose vision brought the old series bang up to date for a whole new generation. And for that, I shall always be grateful to Cynthia, because under her stewardship, I have been introduced to the delectably ruthless JR. No doubt the premiere of Season Two to be aired on 29th January 2013 will get scores of additional viewers.
What always surprises me, is the impact of celebrity deaths on the populace. Chances are, most of us never met said celebrities or had any contact with them (Facebook and Twitter doesn’t really count). So how and why does their passing affect us so? In the case of actors, I think it’s testament to the gumption with which they portray their character. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a good character; as long as he or she strikes a chord, or is entertaining in some way, they automatically become watchable. Nothing can be truer of the character of JR, the scheming oil baron whose withering putdowns and machinations would make even the Devil blanch. He was delightfully delicious to watch. Larry Hagman had that rare quality of making you side with him, even in his most reprehensible incarnation. Because he was coming from a good place, even though his actions didn’t translate to the good of mankind. I wonder where Dallas can go from here. Will any more of the original cast make a comeback? Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing springs to mind), but according to Cynthia, she hasn’t been written in… yet. All I know is this – JR is irreplaceable. Larry Hagman, you will be missed; thank you for giving us JR.