Ken Kercheval, who played oil tycoon Cliff Barnes, the rival of Larry Hagman’s J.R. Ewing on “Dallas,” has died. He was 83.
A spokeswoman at Frist Funeral Home in Kercheval’s hometown of Clinton, Ind., confirmed his death on Wednesday to Variety, but did not provide additional information.
Kercheval and Hagman were the only two stars who appeared on CBS’ soap opera “Dallas” for its entire 14-season run between 1978 to 1991. Kercheval was a recurring character for the first two seasons, but was then upped to a regular in the 1979-1980 season. He reprised his role in the 1996 “Dallas” reunion, the 2004 CBS reunion special and the 2012-2014 TNT revival. He was among five series stars who directed episodes, taking the helm for two episodes for Seasons 13-14.
When “Dallas” viewers asked him when Cliff was “finally going to get J.R.,” Kercheval always answered: “This Friday night!”
In the 1960s, Kercheval appeared on Broadway in Mike Nichols’ “The Apple Tree” and Harold Prince’s “Cabaret.” He also had roles in films like “Pretty Poison,” “Rabbit Run” and Sidney Lumet’s “Network” and “F.I.S.T.” Kercheval’s small-screen career was prolific, with appearances on “Search for Tomorrow” in the ’60s and early ’70s, “CHiPs,” “The Love Boat,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “ER” and more.
Kercheval was born on July 15, 1935, in Wolcottville, Ind., and raised nearby in Clinton. He attended the Indiana University to major in music and drama, and later studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York with Sanford Meisner.
A heavy smoker, Kercheval had part of his lung removed in 1994 after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
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