After a few days of conflicting reports on social media, it appears that classic Dallas actor Ken Kercheval who delightfully played Cliff Barnes in every season of the original series as well as a reunion movie and episodes of the reboot has passed away.
While Kercheval was not originally a member of the opening-credits cast, he was the perfect foil for Larry Hagman’s J.R. Ewing. Though J.R. was ostensibly the villain, fans often rooted for J.R. to take Cliff down. And while Cliff could be cowardly and conniving, Kercheval’s performance had so many layers that deep down, you liked him as well. The “War of the Ewings” reunion movie suffered from his absence, and the TNT Dallas reboot lost a bit in ignoring the later character development the original series gave Cliff, including his making peace with Miss Ellie after years of a Barnes-Ewing feud.
Of the 357 episodes of the original Dallas series, Kercheval starred in 342 of them, topped only by the legendary Larry Hagman.
Kercheval’s other credits included I Still Dream of Jeannie — which ironically did not star Hagman — as well as episodes of Kojak, Diagnosis Murder, L.A. Law, Crossing Jordan, and more. He was 83 years old at the time of his passing.