Cancer claims 'Dallas' bad boy Hagman

Larry Hagman, who played conniving, amoral oilman J.R. Ewing of Dallas has died aged 81.

Hagman died of complications from throat cancer. He also had liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver in the 1990s after decades of drinking.

The son of stage and movie star Mary Martin became a star himself in 1965 on TV sitcom I Dream of Jeannie, playing an astronaut who discovers a beautiful genie in a bottle.

In Dallas he played J.R. Ewing who cheated business competitors and on his wife. At the end of its second season he was shot by an unseen assailant.

The "Who shot JR" story was among the most followed plots in 1980s television, when 350 million viewers tuned in to the episode in which his shooter was revealed.

The popularity of Dallas made Hagman one of the best-paid TV actors in television and earned him a fortune.

Ironically, he lost some of it in bad oil investments.

An updated Dallas series began in June this year with Hagman reprising his J.R. role with some original cast members. The show was to focus on the sons of J.R. and Bobby.

Hagman was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He married Swedish-born Maj Axelsson in 1954 and the couple had two children. His wife of 58 years is battling Alzheimer's.

Hagman openly admitted to alcoholism, telling how he often drank bottles of champagne on the Dallas set. His alcoholism led to him having a life-saving liver transplant in 1995.

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