Ken Kercheval, the actor who became famous around the world for playing Cliff Barnes in the oil business drama Dallas, died Sunday in his hometown of Clinton, Ind., at 83. Kercheval’s talent agency confirmed his death to EW.
Cliff was the brother of Victoria Principal’s character, Pam, and always seemed to be one step behind his archenemy, Larry Hagman’s always-scheming tycoon J.R. Ewing, who was Pam’s brother-in-law. Kercheval portrayed Cliff in the initial iteration of Dallas, which ran on CBS from 1978 to 1991, and then reprised the role when TNT revived the show in 2012.
Kercheval was also an accomplished stage actor, appearing in the original Broadway productions of The Apple Tree and Cabaret. The actor’s many other screen credits included 1978’s Sylvester Stallone-starring film F.I.S.T., the 1993 TV movie Woman on the Ledge, and the TV shows L.A. Law and ER.
Those who have paid tribute to Kercheval include British actor Mark Gatiss and Dallas costar Kevin Page.
“Farewell Ken Kercheval,” Gatiss (Sherlock, Game of Thrones) wrote on Twitter. “Always a charming, Cagney-like presence in ‘Dallas’. Might have a Chinese in tribute,” he added, referencing Cliff Barnes’ fondness for Chinese food.
Page quoted Hamlet, tweeting, “Now cracks a noble heart. — Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”