Actor Larry Hagman passed away last night of complications from throat cancer. He was 81.
The son of actress Mary Martin, Hagman gained fame in his own right in the mid-1960s co-starring with Barbara Eden on I Dream of Jeannie which aired on NBC.
But Hagman was, of course, best known for playing J.R. Ewing on the long running CBS series Dallas. Hagman reached the height of his fame in 1980 after J.R. was shot at the end of the third season which prompted the question, “Who Shot J.R.?” not just in America, but all over the world. The first episode of the fourth season was the highest rated TV program in history until the airing of the final episode of M*A*S*H in 1983. Dallas remained on the air until 1991. Hagman reprised the role of J.R. Ewing earlier this year in the relaunching of Dallas on TNT.
A longtime member of the far-left Peace and Freedom Party, Hagman made headlines in 2003 when he criticized President George W. Bush shortly before the beginning of the War in Iraq. He claimed that Bush was “a sad figure: not too well educated, who doesn’t get out of America much. He’s leading the country towards fascism.”