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He was dastardly, he was ruthless, he was conniving but JR Ewing still stands as one of the most iconic villains in television history.
With Larry Hagman’s passing Friday, it’s my honor to present this Top 10 list of JR’s best…and worst moments.
10. When Bobby’s (played by Patrick Duffy) high school sweetheart, Jenna Wade (played by Priscilla Presley) returned to Dallas and caused problems for Bobby and Pam (played by Victoria Principal.) Bobby thought he might have sired Jenna’s daughter, Charlie and JR saw his opportunity to stick it to Pam. So, he pushed Jenna and Bobby together. JR even announced Jenna and Bobby’s engagement at the Oil Barrons Ball as Pam looked on in total shock.
9. When Ed Haynes, Pam’s ex-husband showed up on Dallas and JR saw his opportunity to once again try to get rid of Pam. Ed was in the Vietnam War when Pam got the divorce and claimed he never got the divorce papers…meaning he and Pam were still married and her marriage to Bobby was null and void.
8. Every Dallas fan knows that there was no love lost between JR and Pam’s brother, Cliff Barnes (played by Ken Kercheval.) When Cliff decided to run for state senator, JR wasn’t happy and looked for any way possible to fend off his election. Pam gave Cliff her full support but JR tricked her into giving him damaging info on Cliff. JR tried to start a rumor that Cliff was gay to dissuade voters from voting for him. Pam, to counter this laughable accusation, Pam told JR about an old girlfriend of Cliff’s. Unfortunately, JR found out that the old girlfriend died having an illegal abortion. JR was confident that the voting public wouldn’t look favorably on this part of Cliff’s past.
7. While separated from Bobby, Pam befriended a woman named Leanne Rees. But, Leann was a former prostitute. When JR learned this he saw another opportunity to break Pam and Bobby up once and for all. JR created a photo that made it look like Pam was also a prostitute but Bobby found out about JR’s scheme and the whole thing actually brought Pam and Bobby closer together much to JR’s dismay.
6. JR and Sue Ellen’s sister Kristen (played by Mary Crosby) had an affair. Meanwhile, Pam learned she was unable to have children, which she knew would devastate Bobby. It was discovered that Kristen had a baby before she died and Bobby bought Kristen’s baby thinking JR was the father. But, Bobby told Pam that he got baby Christopher through a private adoption and that his real parents were a couple from Louisiana, who were killed in a car crash. A lawyer then told Bobby that he would have to ask Sue Ellen’s (played by Linda Gray) permission to adopt Christopher since she was Kristen’s sister. Bobby asked Sue Ellen for an affidavit stating that she had no idea who Christopher’s real father was though she believed JR was Christopher’s father. The court ended up granting temporary managing conservator ship of Christopher, which was a necessary step before they could fully adopt him. Later, Sue Ellen got angry since JR believed he was Christopher’s father. JR later wanted to find out everything about Kristen’s baby and a copy of its birth certificate. JR got the birth certificate and demanded Bobby’s support on Ewing Oil business in return for keeping the matter secret. JR later turned out not to be Christopher’s father.
5. Over the years JR has pushed Sue Ellen beyond the limit with his underhanded schemes and numerous infidelities. All of these incidents pushed Sue Ellen into having a drinking problem that she won and lost many times. To get what he wanted, JR was never above pushing Sue Ellen right back to the bottle and even tried to institutionalize her because of the problem.
4. Following Bobby’s “death,” JR couldn’t believe that he may end up in business with the person he hates the most—his former sister-in-law, Pam. J.R. tried to buy Christopher’s shares of Ewing Oil, and Jeremy Wendell of Weststar worked with Cliff to convince his sister to sell her Ewing Oil shares to them. Pam was truly torn between wanting to do the right thing for Christopher and wondering what Bobby would want her to do.
3. At a Ewing barbeque, after a drunk Sue Ellen arrived she made a spectacle by announcing that she’s going to strip and that she wanted a baby to JR. When JR said something insulting, Bobby punched him in the face. When J.R. recovered, he saw a pregnant Pam watching the barbecue from the loft of the barn. J.R. ascended to Pam's level. He snuck up on her and told her what Bobby did to him. She said that he deserved it. Angry, she announced that she and Bobby were moving off the ranch. J.R. asked her not to leave. They continued arguing. They were moving backwards from the window, and suddenly Pam lost her balance and falls on her stomach to a lower level. Bobby announced after the barbecue that Pam has lost the baby, but she was unsure if she can have another baby. J.R. gave excuses as to why she fell.
2. A despondent JR wandered the rooms of Southfork, gun in hand. He took a seat on the porch and contemplated what life would have been like if he was no longer around… or if there had never been a JR Ewing. Then, a man dressed in white appeared on the balcony and encouraged JR to pull the trigger. JR shot at him and watched as the shot went right through him. The man suddenly moved to the diving board and said his name was Adam (played by Joel Grey.) Then, Adam offered JR the chance to find out what life would have been like without him. JR was hesitant but Adam seemed to know everything about his life situation. The pair was then transferred to the Ewing Oil office, which was now housing an insurance company. Adam showed JR that Ewing Oil went bankrupt because his brother Gary (played by Ted Shackelford) mismanaged it, which caused JR’s father, Jock (played by Jim Davis) to kill himself and for his mother Miss Ellie (played by Barbara Bel Geddes) to die of a broken heart a few years later. Also, Adam showed JR that Sue Ellen became a soap opera actress and now married to an enemy of JR’s. Cut to Bobby, who Adam shows JR is now a compulsive gambler living in Las Vegas. After being taken through this journey J.R. is encouraged by Adam to pull the trigger and kill himself. J.R. scoffs at the idea, saying that Adam's boss would not be happy— implying that Adam is an angel. However, Adam reveals himself to be not a true spirit, but actually a demon sent by Satan himself. By this time J.R. has either fallen asleep and wakes up with a start in his bedroom with the gun and bourbon still in his hands. He appears relieved that it was a dream, only to find Adam staring at him from his bedroom mirror dressed in red. In the midst of this, Bobby returns to the ranch to check on his brother. Adam continues to egg J.R. on as Bobby enters the house, and J.R. raises the gun to his head. Finally, Adam's eyes roll into the back of his head and he screams "DO IT!" to J.R., who fires a shot. Bobby hears the gunshot and runs up to J.R.'s room. Looking at the scene, he gasps and says, "Oh, my God" when he sees what has happened. The episode and series end on that note, with J.R.'s fate left unknown. It wasn’t until the Dallas reunion movie that it was revealed that JR had in fact shot the mirror and not himself.
1. Many people wanted JR dead. He had double crossed and lied to so many people. In the season three cliffhanger, JR was alone in his office at Ewing Oil. The phone rang but there was no one on the other end when JR picked up. JR went to get himself more coffee, turned out his office light, but then looked out his office window into the dark Dallas sky. Meanwhile, someone had crept into his outer office. JR heard a noise and asked who was there. He got no response. When he went to investigate, he was shot twice. “Who Shot JR?” was one of the biggest cliffhangers in television history. Every fan had a theory on who had shot JR. But, who really pulled the trigger? It ended up being Sue Ellen’s sister, Kristen.