Larry Hagman, the longtime television actor known for his starring roles on the popular series I Dream of Jeannie and Dallas, died November 23, 2012, in Dallas, Texas. He was 81. According to news reports, the cause was cancer. The son of actress Mary Martin, who rose to fame on Broadway in such productions as South Pacific and Peter Pan, Hagman followed his mother into a career as a performer and eventually became one of the most enduring TV stars of the past 50 years.
He first rose to fame as Major Tony Nelson, an astronaut who discovers a beautiful genie, played by Barbara Eden, on I Dream of Jeannie, which aired on NBC from 1965 to 1970, and he became a pop-culture icon as the scheming J.R. on Dallas, which aired on CBS from 1978 to 1991. The latter broke viewing records following the so-called "Who shot J.R.?" episode, in 1980, a cliffhanger that left unclear if the nefarious character was dead. When the assailant was revealed in November of that year, an average of 41 million U.S. viewers tuned in to make it one of the most-watched entertainment shows of all time — second only to the 1983 finale of M*A*S*H, which drew 50 million viewers.
For his performance as J.R., the actor earned Primetime Emmy nominations in 1980 and 1981. When the show was rebooted this year on cable network TNT, Hagman reprised the role, and had completed episodes for the second season at the time of his passing.
Mr. Hagman's interview with the Archive of American Television is available here.