Dallas star who played JR Ewing’s arch-rival Cliff Barnes dies

 

Actor Ken Kercheval was best known for played Cliff Barnes in the hit US TV series

Dallas’ Cliff Barnes has died at the age of 83.

Ken Kercheval was best known for playing JR Ewing’s arch-rival opposite Larry Hagman in the hit US TV drama.

He is believed to have passed away on Sunday night but no further details were available.

A spokeswoman at the Frist Funeral Home in the actor’s hometown of Clinton, Indiana, confirmed his death to The Hollywood Reporter, but no official announcement has been made.

Kercheval starred in 14 series of Dallas and even returned for the 2012 reboot.

The actor and his onscreen nemesis Hagman, who played JR, were the only two castmembers to stay on for the entire original run from 1978-1991.

He was originally cast as Jock Ewing’s illegitimate son Ray Krebbs, but was later given the much more juicy part of Cliff Barnes, brother of Pamela Ewing.

In a 2012 interview, Kercheval said of his character’s rival: “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.”

After studying music and drama at university, the actor went on to work with Dustin Hoffman in an Off-Broadway production of Dead End, before later heading to Broadway in 1961 in The Young Abe Lincoln.

He then moved from the stage to TV with roles in Search For Tomorrow and The Secret Storm, but his big break came when he was cast in Dallas in 1978.

After the show ended in 1991, he returned for 1996 Dallas reunion, J. R. Returns, and for for a 2004 reunion special.

He later reprised his role once again in the 2012 Dallas reboot which ran until 2014

In addition to Dallas, he also appeared shows such as Kojak,Starsky & Hutch, L.A. Law, Diagnosis: Murder and ER.

He battled a long-running smoking habit over the years, admitting he would often smoke two or three packs a day.

Kercheval was diagnosed cancer in 1994 and had part of his lung removed.

As well as being a heavy smoker, he called himself a “practicing alcoholic” for 20 years before he eventually gave up booze.

He was married four times, and divorced his last wife, Cheryl Paris, in 2004.

The actor had five children from his marriages and had more than six granchildren.