Larry Hagman has been diagnosed with cancer, but doctors have told him it's a highly treatable form that might not impact his return as TV baddie J.R. Ewing on TNT's upcoming Dallas reboot.
Hagman, who turned 80 last month, is still set to report to work on October 17, when production begins on the revived primetime soap. Hagman is confirmed to appear in at least the first four episodes, and it's likely he'll appear in more beyond that. It's unclear whether he'll need to take any time off while undergoing treatment. Insiders say there's a chance that he'll be able to continue on the show in some sort of capacity throughout the first season, which wraps production at the end of January.
"As J.R. I could get away with anything — bribery, blackmail and adultery," Hagman said in a statement. "But I got caught by cancer. I do want everyone to know that it is a very common and treatable form of cancer. I will be receiving treatment while working on the new Dallas series. I could not think of a better place to be than working on a show I love, with people I love. Besides, as we all know, you can't keep J.R. down!"
Hagman is set to be a major part of Dallas 2.0, along with fellow returnees Patrick Duffy, Charlene Tilton, Linda Gray, Steve Kanaly and Ken Kercheval. (The new version of Dallas also stars Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo, Josh Henderson, Brenda Strong and Jesse Metcalfe.) Depending on Hagman's treatment, executive producer Cynthia Cidre and her team will likely keep some of this season's storylines fluid.
Keck's Exclusives: Dallas' Next Generation
TNT and Warner Bros. TV's Warner Horizon arm (which produces the show) issued a joint statement: "Everyone at Warner Horizon Television, TNT and the entire Dallas family completely supports Larry Hagman during this time. We look forward to watching Larry once again work his magic by bringing one of television's most interesting, complex and controversial characters back to the screen in the new Dallas series."
Hagman played TV villain J.R. Ewing throughout Dallas' original 1978 to 1991 run, as well as in two later TV movies. Since then, his credits have included Nip/Tuck, Orleans and the features Nixon and Primary Colors. He also guest starred last season on Desperate Housewives.
Keck's Exclusives: Larry Hagman Confirmed for TNT's New Dallas
Hagman has faced other health scares in the past, including a well-publicized liver transplant in 1995, having developed cirrhosis of the liver after years of heavy drinking. Since then he has spoken out against smoking and in support of the National Kidney Foundation (as a part of its organ transplant awareness program).
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Additional reporting by William Keck