The late Larry Hagman will not be forgotten when Dallas returns to television on Jan. 28.
Hagman, who shot to fame as the show’s star patriarch oil baron, J.R. Ewing, will be honored in upcoming episodes this season, including a funeral, set for the series’ March 11 episode, EW.com reports.
The actor passed away on Nov. 23 at 81 from cancer, forcing the show’s producers to make significant changes to the storyline, even as they mourned the show’s longtime villain who was also a great friend. Extra scenes with J.R. that had previously been cut were put back in for episode 6, said executive producer Cynthia Cidre, who had to explain to viewers as she wrote future episodes why the key character was absent.
The tribute show will include many faces from the original Dallas series, which premiered in 1978, Cidre said. “It will be funny and appropriate to J.R., but it will also be sad because his family loved him,” she said. “As do the fans.”
His castmates continue to remember him and the indelible mark he left on the show over the decades. Patrick Duffy, who plays J.R.’s brother Bobby, said he and costar Linda Gray hold hands often on set for support and to remember their friend fondly.
“I’ll reach over and just hold her hand for a while. As she will for me,” Duffy told EW.com. “We just sit and smile and think, ‘Gosh, that guy was our friend for 35 years. How lucky are we?'”
Hagman, a Texas native who had been married to his wife Maj Axelsson since 1954, will remain on the production’s call sheets for the rest of the year as tribute. His Airstream trailer will also remain on set with a sign that says: “No. 1 is on hold.”
Duffy said all of it was fitting: “This is the house that Hagman built.”