LOS ANGELES, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Larry Hagman, the actor who played a central, nefarious and iconic figure on the TV show "Dallas," died Friday in Dallas, Texas. He was 81.
The actor's death was announced by the family members to the Dallas Morning News. He passed away at Medical City Dallas Hospital from complications after he fought against cancer.
Hagman first broke the news about the illness in October 2011 when he said he had a "treatable" form of cancer. He said he hoped that he would work on TNT's "Dallas" reboot during treatment.
Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings said over Hagman's death: "Hagman in his role as J.R. was mythic, and as a human he was a hard-working ambassador for Dallas and the underdog."
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, as the son of Broadway legend Mary Martin, Hagman launched his acting career as a production assistant while playing small roles. After his retirement from the United States Air Force in 1956, Hagman returned to New York City and played in several off-Broadway shows.
Hagman showed his talent by appearing in a number of television programs including "Harbormaster" and "The Edge of Night." He began his film career in 1964 when he starred in "Ensign Pulver" and played opposite Henry Fonda in cold war drama "Fail-Safe."
Among the over 60 films and television series that Hagman appeared in, including the popular 1960s NBC sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie," the most memorable role is J.R. Ewing, the most popular villain in television history from the 1980s hit CBS primetime series "Dallas," a story about a wealthy Texas family that lived communally on a ranch called Southfork.
The 1978-1991 show ended in a huge success, making Hagman the highest-paid television actor while turning J.R. Ewing into a hugely popular small screen character.
In 1999, "TV Guide" ranked the role as number 11 on its "50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time" list.