LOS ANGELES — Ken Kercheval, who played perennial punching bag Cliff Barnes to Larry Hagman's scheming oil baron J.R. Ewing on the hit TV series “Dallas,” has died. He was 83.
Kercheval died Sunday in the city of Clinton in his native Indiana, said Jeff Fisher, his agent. The cause of death was being kept private by family, Fisher said Wednesday.
He was in “Dallas” for its full run, from 1978 to 1991, and returned as oilman Cliff opposite Hagman for a revival of the prime-time drama that aired from 2012-14.
He expressed fondness for his beleaguered character, also part of two TV '90s movies, in a 2012 interview with a “Dallas” fan website, The Dallas Decoder.
Cliff was a nice guy, but with brother-in-law J.R.'s constant battering he had to defend himself, Kercheval said. "If I did something that wasn't quite right, it's because I had to," he added.
Kercheval's big-screen credits included "Pretty Poison" (1968), "The Seven-Ups" in 1973 and "Network" in 1976.
He made frequent guest appearances on TV series, stretching from "The Defenders" to "ER." His last online credit is for the film "Surviving in L.A."