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Larry Hagman's JR Ewing To Get Dallas Send Off
In a fitting farewell to one of soap's greatest characters, JR Ewing is set to be killed off in a whodunnit plot worthy of the 1980 Dallas cliffhanger Who Shot JR?
The unexpected death of actor Larry Hagman on November 23 left the producers of the next generation Dallas with a dilemma about how to write his character out.
Hagman had filmed five episodes of season two when he died, leaving executive producer Cynthia Cidre with the task of finding a fitting end for the ruthless Texas oilman he played.
The character's funeral will be shown in March in episode eight of the series, which begins on the US TNT channel on Monday. It will air on Channel 5 in the UK later this year.
The show's writing staff, headed by Ms Cidre, have reworked the second half of the season in the light of 81-year-old Hagman's death.
The result is a multi-episode Who Killed JR? mystery that Ms Cidre hopes will rival the wildly popular Who Shot JR? storyline.
"We all felt having JR die of natural causes would have been completely inappropriate, not only to the character, but also to Larry Hagman," Ms Cidre told the US magazine TV Guide.
She received the go-ahead for the plotline from JR's screen brother Patrick Duffy, who plays Bobby, as well as Hagman's son, Preston.
Ms Cidre told Entertainment Weekly: "It will be funny and appropriate to JR, but it will also be sad because his family loved him, as do the fans."
She said writing the plotline was an emotional experience, adding: "I never cried when I was writing but the next day I started to type, and I started crying so hard I couldn't even see the computer screen."
Two months after Hagman's death, cast members past and present assembled at the swanky Petroleum Club in Dallas to shoot an epic, drama-filled funeral for JR.
Among the mourners were Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval), Gary and Lucy Ewing (Ted Shackelford and Charlene Tilton), Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly), Mandy Winger (Deborah Shelton) and Cally Harper Ewing (Cathy Podewell).
It is also rumoured that Victoria Principal, Bobby's first wife Pam, will be at the funeral.
Hagman died in a Dallas hospital following complications from his long battle with cancer.
He had suffered from liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver in the 1990s after decades of drinking. He had a liver transplant in 1995.