Larry Hagman put in an astonishing 356 episodes with the original primetime version of Dallas – and that doesn’t even count the follow-up television movies or the recent TNT sequel series. Hagman’s portrayal of the scheming oil patriarch J.R. Ewing is considered one of the all-time great television performances. Hagman himself apparently took great relish in stepping back into the boots of the irascible Ewing for the 2012 revival of the classic soap opera.
As such, it’s only fitting that Dallas pay tribute to the man who was perhaps its most recognizable player. In the upcoming second season of the TNT serial drama, a full episode will apparently be given to eulogize the character of J.R. Ewing and the lasting legacy of Larry Hagman after the actor’s untimely death last month.
TVLine reports that season 2 of Dallas will culminate with the death and subsequent funeral of J.R. Ewing. The eighth episode of the new season, set to air March 11, 2013 will contain the funeral service for one of television’s most enduring characters. Larry Hagman had already finished filming most of his scenes for season 2 of Dallas when he was hospitalized for complications from a lengthy bout with cancer. Hagman died on November 23rd, with production of the season still underway.
Due to the suddenness of Hagman’s illness and death, Dallas‘s season 2 has had to undergo script and production changes to deal with the veteran actor’s absence. In the process of retooling the end of the season, the production team has decided to devote a full episode to the death of Hagman’s iconic character and the fallout of such an event on the show’s fictional universe. The episode will apparently feature appearances from other Dallas stars both past and present.
While Larry Hagman wasn’t only known for Dallas (his dramatic career spanned some 55 years in film and television), he was best known for playing J.R. and was reported to take great pride in the role. He was a fixture even after the thirteen years Dallas initially spent on the airwaves, and his outsized performance made J.R. into one of the most famous villains that audiences loved to hate. It makes sense for the most direct tribute to his life and career to take place on the last television show he ever acted on – and indeed, the franchise that made his grin and swagger recognized around the world.
Dallas will mosey back onto TNT on January 28th, 2013.