The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

November 24, 2012

'Dallas' star Larry Hagman dies in Texas

(Continued)

Years before "Dallas," Hagman had gained TV fame on "I Dream of Jeannie," in which he played an astronaut whose life is disrupted when he finds a comely genie, portrayed by Barbara Eden, and takes her home to live with him.

Eden recalled late Friday shooting the series' pilot "in the frigid cold" on a Malibu beach.

"From that day, for five more years, Larry was the center of so many fun, wild and sometimes crazy times. And in retrospect, memorable moments that will remain in my heart forever," Eden said.

Hagman also starred in two short-lived sitcoms, "The Good Life" (NBC, 1971-72) and "Here We Go Again" (ABC, 1973). His film work included well-regarded performances in "The Group," ''Harry and Tonto" and "Primary Colors."

But it was Hagman's masterful portrayal of J.R. that brought him the most fame. And the "Who shot J.R.?" story twist fueled international speculation and millions of dollars in betting-parlor wagers. It also helped give the series a place in ratings history.

When the answer was revealed in a November 1980 episode, an average 41 million U.S. viewers tuned in to make "Dallas" one of the most-watched entertainment shows of all time, trailing only the "MASH" finale in 1983 with 50 million viewers.

It was J.R.'s sister-in-law, Kristin (Mary Crosby) who plugged him — he had made her pregnant, then threatened to frame her as a prostitute unless she left town — but others had equal motivation.

Hagman played Ewing as a bottomless well of corruption with a charming grin: a business cheat and a faithless husband who tried to get his alcoholic wife, Sue Ellen (Gray), institutionalized.

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