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Who Shot JR? Bing’s Daughter. But this time it really is RIP Larry Hagman

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 24 November 2012

Dallas was part of my childhood. Who shot JR? The poison dwarf, Lusty Dusty. I remember it all. And JR Ewing was at the centre of it all. And, as you probably know, my cousin Jeff appeared in two episodes where he raped Lucy ( the poisoned dwarf). Not quite the highlight of his career ( I think that was giving Tatum O’Neill her first on screen kiss in International Velvet) but that made the Winnifrith family bond with the programme even stronger. We even had Dallas the board game. And so, today I really do mourn the death yesterday of Larry Hagman, the actor who played JR.

Hagman did actually hail from Texas and died there. He was, by all accounts, a bit of a character, downing five bottles of champagne a day as he filmed Dallas. His battle with the bottle caused him one liver transplant and then he abused the new liver. But in his last few years he was sober. At his bedside, as he headed off to the great Oil barons ball in the sky, was his best friend of 36 years Linda Gray (aka Sue Ellen).

Dallas One was a great tale of late 70s early 80s excess. The shoulder pads, the big bucks deals, the pre Aids promiscuity, it was all there. Dallas Two has been a more sober tale (heck even Sue Ellen has been off the bottle for a whole series) but JR has been at the centre of it all. His battles with his two great rivals, Bobby Ewing and Cliff Barnes, have held the show together.

Can Dallas survive without JR? As i have noted before, unlike Downton, the younger generation have been as good as the older generation. John Ross (son of JR and Sue Ellen) is ready to step up to the plate. The show will be weaker without JR’s pure evil (but with a heart in there somewhere) but it can survive. I hope it returns.

Larry Hagman clearly had a full life, during which he amassed a collection of 2,000 Stetsons. He gave us one of the great characters of TV. RIP JR Ewing.
PS In case you have forgotten the person who shot JR was Kristin Shepard, the younger and scheming sister of Sue Ellen. She was, of course, played by Bing’s daughter Mary Crosby. Her cousin used to run an AIM listed oil company. It bombed. He should have had JR on board as a non-exec.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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