Did you grow up watching the popular soap opera Dallas? It was a long-running series that followed Texas oil tycoon J.R. Ewing and his trials and tribulations as he dealt with his business rivals.
The show soared in popularity throughout its run and lasted for 14 seasons. The show was one of the most-discussed television shows in its heyday. To this day, it’s consider a classic of American television and be a classic piece of Americana.
David Jacobs created the show. The show’s excellent writing and direction are what led to its success. But the show’s stars were the talented cast members – many who have sadly left us.
Let’s look at all Dallas actors who have died…
Who could have been better to play a Texas oil tycoon than Larry Hagman, who was a native Texan himself?
He started his career playing bit parts on TV shows and landing the occasional film role. His breakthrough role was in I Dream of Jeannie which is what made him a star. But it was the role as JR Ewing in Dallas that made Larry a household name.
Larry Hagman continued to have a successful career in both film and television following his work on Dallas. His feature film work included roles in Superman, Stardust, Mother Jugs and Speed, Nixon, Primary Colors, and The Flight of the Swan. He also had recurring roles on Desperate Housewives and Nip/Tuck.
But it’s as JR that many of us will always remember Larry by. He died in 2012 at the age of 81. He died due to complications from cancer.
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BARBARA BEL GEDDES
JR’s mother was Ellie Ewing played by veteran actress Barbara Bel Geddes. She began her career on stage, acting in the Broadway production of Out of the Frying Pan. She also had regular roles on television shows including Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Her film career included roles in Vertigo, By Love Possessed, Summertree, and Mrs. Todd Killings. When she landed her role on Dallas, she became one of American television’s favorite matriarchs.
She died in 2005 due to lung cancer.
JR had an enemy in Cliff Barnes. The role played by Ken Kercheval who was perfect for the role.
He already had a lot of experience working in soap operas, including roles on The Secret Storm, How to Survive a Marriage, and Search for Tomorrow. After Dallas he continued to work in popular TV shows such as Kojak, Starsky & Hutch, and Matlock.
He continued to act in the 1990s and 2000s. He appeared in TV shows such as Diagnosis Murder and Walker, Texas Ranger. Ken also had occasional film work including roles in films such as Pretty Poison, Cover Me Babe, Rabbit, Run, Beretta’s Island, and Bad Ass. His final role was in the film Surviving in LA which was released posthumously in 2020.
The dallas actor died in 2019 at the age of 83 due to a long illness.
The formidable Jim Davis played Jock Ewing who was the patriarch of the family. He had launched his career acting in the feature film Winter Meeting alongside Bette Davis.
Much of his career before Dallas consisted of appearing in B-movies. Among these B-movies, many of them were Westerns. It was clear that he had a knack for playing characters living in the Old West. This made him perfect to play a character in the New West as well.
He became a huge star when he got the role as Jock Ewing in Dallas. Sadly, in the 4th season, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. The dallas actor died due to complications from his illness in 1981 at 71.
His character was so loved on the show that the character wasn’t recast with another actor. Now that’s the respect a great actor deserves! It even took time for the writers to “kill off” his character in the show.
After the character of Jock Ewing was finally killed off, the show’s writers decided to find a new love interest for Ellie.
This character would become her second husband Clayton Farrow and played by Howard Keel. The actor was born in Illinois and grew up mostly in California.
He began his career working in many musicals including Three Guys Named Mike, Show Boat, Texas Carnival, and Annie Get Your Gun. Howard also appeared in many Westerns including Calamity Jane – where he played the famous outlaw, Wild Bill Hickok.
He was primarily a film actor and didn’t start working regularly in television until his role in Dallas. Howard Keel died in 2004 due to complications from colon cancer.
JR wasn’t the only oil tycoon on Dallas. There was also Carter McKay played by George Kennedy.
This prolific and versatile actor was born in a show business family. As early as age 2, he was part of a touring production of Bringing Up Father. By 7, he was a DJ at a local radio station in New York City.
He would later enlist in the US Army during World War 2 and served 16 years in the military – eventually becoming a Captain. George served under General Patton and received 2 Bronze Stars.
He began his television career on The Phil Silvers Show. In the 1960s, he began his film career and had a successful run with the medium. His film work included roles in films such as Lonely Are The Brave, Charade, Strait-Jacket, Mirage, The Flight of the Phoenix, and The Sons of Katie Elder.
He would later win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as “Dragline” in Cool Hand Luke – in which he starred alongside Paul Newman.
As such, he was a welcome face when he was cast as Carter McKay in the later seasons of Dallas. This role was reprised in two Dallas TV movies: Dallas: JR Returns and Dallas: War of the Ewings.
George Kennedy died in 2016 from a heart ailment. He was 91 years old at that time and sadly become one of the dallas actors that died.
THE REST OF THE CAST
There are still a few surviving members of the main and supporting cast of Dallas.
JR’s brother was Bobby Ewing, played by Patrick Duffy. Bobby was the misfit of the Ewing family. Oddly enough, he was the only one who isn’t considered a villainous character!
Patrick Duffy began his career in the 1970s. His breakthrough came in a TV show called Man from Atlantis. He also had bit parts in shows such as Charlie’s Angels and The Love Boat.
Throughout the 80s he had small roles in TV shows as well as TV movies. But his breakthrough came when he was cast as Bobby in Dallas. After Dallas, one of his most successful roles was in the show Step By Step.
Today, he continues to work mostly in television. His major work has been in the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, and Welcome to Sweden. He’s currently working on a show called On The Verge.
Linda Gray played Sue Ellen Ewing, who was JR’s wife. This was to be a small role that we’d only see in a few episodes.
But Linda Gray’s performance was so good that the writers had to give her more screen time! She had a bit of acting experience prior to her role on Dallas. Linda Gray had a few bit parts on TV shows as well as a few roles in films. She showed her acting chops in Dallas and Sue Ellen became one of the most popular characters.
Linda continued to act after Dallas ended. Her major work included roles in Melrose Place, Models, Inc., The Bold and The Beautiful, Hollyoaks, and Hilton Head Island. Her latest work was a lead role in the feature film Intuitions – which was released in 2019.
Ray Krebbs was the illegitimate son in the Ewing family. He was played by actor Steve Kanaly. Ray Krebbs was Steve’s most popular role and after the show ended, he continued to have recurring roles in shows such as Charlie’s Angels, Touched by an Angel, and Walker, Texas Ranger.
His final work was on the 2012 revival of Dallas. He lives in California and focuses more on philanthropy nowadays.
Pam Ewing was a member of the rival Barnes family but ended up marrying Bobby Ewing. She was played by Victoria Principal.
Outside of Dallas, she’s had many guest appearances in popular TV shows including Home Improvement, Just Shoot Me, and Family Guy. Today, she focuses mostly on philanthropy and her production company.
Lucy Ewing was a sporadic character throughout the series. She was played by Charlene Tilton. Prior to her role on Dallas, she had roles on TV shows such as Happy Days. She also appeared in the 1978 film Freaky Friday. After Dallas, she appeared in a slew of parody films such as Silence of the Hams!
Her most recent acting role was in the 2019 film Starting Up Love. She’s also got a successful career in music, appearing in a European dance show called C’est la vie.
Susan Howard played Donna Culver Krebbs who was in a strained relationship with her husband Ray Krebbs. Susan Howard would eventually leave the show after Patrick Duffy returned following the so-called “dream season.”
Her other television work included roles in Star Trek, Columbo, Mission Impossible, and Bonanza. She acts sporadically today and focuses mainly on her political activism – working with organizations such as the National Rifle Association and the Texas Republican Party.
Deborah Rennard’s first role was as secretary Sly Lovegren. After Dallas she had roles in shows such as Days of our Lives, Family Law, and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. She also had roles in feature films such as Lionheart and Kazaam. Deck The Heart was her latest role in the 2020 Film.
Priscilla Presley played the role of Jenna Wade. That is first played by Morgan Fairchild, then Francine Tucker.
Priscilla Presley has of course taken different career paths throughout her life. However, she still works in film and television on occasion. She’s currently working on a Netflix animated show called Agent King.
Omri Katz played the role of JR’s and Sue Ellen’s son. After Dallas, he had a lead role in the TV show Eerie, Indiana and had a starring role in the film Hocus Pocus.
Journey into Night was his last role in a 2002 short film.
Are you a fan of Dallas? The show was one of the most popular television shows of all time and is a classic example of Americana. I know that it is sad to know that some of Dallas actors died already.
So that brings up the question:
Do you think that Dallas actors can still attract new fans to the show? Or do us fans need to introduce this great show to the new generation?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments about the dallas actors who have died already
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