Legendary Dallas star Ken Kercheval, who played JR Ewing’s arch-rival Cliff Barnes in the hit show, has died aged 83.
The veteran actor is believed to have passed away on Sunday night.
A spokeswoman at a funeral home in Clinton, Indiana, and his talent agent, Jeff Fisher, confirmed his death to The Hollywood Reporter.
Kercheval was best known for playing Cliff Barnes after spending 14 seasons as the oil tycoon. He also returned for the primetime show’s reboot in 2012.
He was only one of two actors to be on Dallas through its entire original run from 1978 to 1991. The other was Larry Hagman, who played J.R. Ewing.
David Jacobs, the creator of Dallas, said: ‘He was one of those guys who was going to be the next James Dean.’
Barnes, the brother of Victoria Principal’s Pamela Ewing, would routinely lose out to J.R. He also had an affair with J.R.’s wife, Sue Ellen, played by Linda Gray.
Kercheval had been originally been cast as Jock Ewing’s illegitimate son Ray Krebbs.
In a 2012 interview he said: ‘J.R. was coming after my ass all the time, so I always had to defend myself. If I did something that wasn’t quite right, it’s because I had to.’
Kercheval said: ‘From the very beginning, Cliff would always get defeated by J.R.
‘I thought as an actor, ‘How am I going to have an audience believe that this guy is not some imbecile who keeps coming back, [only] to get whipped?
‘I thought the only way is to add some humor to it, just to say, ‘Dust yourself off, get up and start all over again.”’
Kercheval said he always told Dallas viewers Cliff was ‘finally going to get J.R.’ this ‘this Friday night’.
He came back to play Barnes for a 1996 TV movie and a reboot series between 2012 and 2014.
Smoker Kercheval had a part of his lung removed after he was diagnosed with cancer in 1994.