Goodbye Larry: Hagman was a class act

I had a lot of fun last summer watching the revival of “Dallas,” and most of that was because of Larry Hagman. Sure, the plots were fun and the rest of the cast – holdovers and newcomers – were better-than-might-be-expected.

But Hagman, with his devilish smile and crazy eyebrows, was the centerpiece of the revival just as he was in the original series.

The loss to the series and to entertainment in general is enough reason to mourn the passing yesterday of Hagman, who died at 81 after a battle with cancer.

Hagman was, by most accounts, a pretty good guy and someone who knew how lucky he was. He had a big hit with “I Dream of Jeannie” in the 1960s, a long-running hit with “Dallas” in the 1970s and 1980s and the revival last year on TNT. In between, he lived a comfortable life.

The best part about Hagman’s acting and persona was that he seemed to get the joke but never treated it as one. “Dallas” could have been camp and J.R. Ewing might have been a caricature of a villain. But that didn’t happen. And Hagman seemed to know what people wanted out of their favorite TV actor.

I’ve written about the new “Dallas” – which returns in January – and Hagman a few times in recent months.

First there was a look at what we wanted to see in the new series, then a reaction to the first-rate opener, then reviews of the next-to-last and final episode of the season.

Here’s to Larry Hagman, J.R. Ewing and “Dallas.” We’ll always love you.

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