Ken Kercheval, who played J.R. Ewing’s foil Cliff Barnes on “Dallas,” died in 2019. Alongside Larry Hagman, Kercheval had the distinction of being the only actor to remain for all 14 seasons of the show’s run, and he also appeared in the reunion specials and the 2012 revival. His character Cliff was Bobby Ewing’s brother-in-law through his sister Pam (Victoria Principal) and a huge part of a family that feuded with the Ewings over with Cliff considered their rightful oil fortune and led Cliff to constantly try to take control of the business.
Kercheval — who once said that Barbara Bel Geddes was his best friend, and who was also said to be good friends with Hagman, according to the Chicago Tribune – told the Dallas Decoder that he sincerely liked his character, which is probably a rarity on “Dallas” given all the shenanigans taking place throughout the years. “I thought he was a nice guy too. J.R. was coming after my a** all the time, so I was always had to defend myself,” he said. “If I did something that wasn’t quite right, it’s because I had to.” Of course, Cliff Barnes often came out on the wrong end of any dispute.
The actor, an Indiana native, was also known for guest roles in “Diagnosis Murder,” “ER,” several “Perry Mason” mystery movies, “Murder, She Wrote,” “Matlock,” “Hotel,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Kojak,” and “The Love Boat.” Kercheval also starred in the reunion movie “I Still Dream of Jeannie,” which featured his friend Hagman.
Kercheval was diagnosed with cancer in 1993, which resulted in him having a lung removed. He died at age 83 in April 2019, reportedly of pneumonia, after a long illness (via the New York Times).