Ken Kercheval, the actor who played Cliff Barnes on CBS’ 1980s megahit drama ‘Dallas,’ has died at the age of 83.
Kercheval’s death was confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. Kercheval reportedly passed away in Indiana, where he grew up.
Kercheval appeared in supporting roles in many films and performed on-stage in numerous productions, but he was best known for his portrayal of Barnes -- the flummoxed and frustrated rival of Larry Hagman’s J.R. Ewing.
‘Dallas’ debuted on CBS in spring 1978 and aired for the next 13 years as a featured part of CBS’ primetime lineup. Kercheval and Hagman, notably, were the only two members of the show’s sprawling cast to appear in the entire run of the series. Kercheval reprised his role as Barnes from 2012-2014 for the series’ three-season reboot on TNT.
Kercheval’s Barnes played a major role in the series, acting as the foil in numerous ways to Hagman’s Ewing. Usually, Ewing wound up getting the best of Barnes and sometimes in humiliating fashion.
“He just makes you cringe sometimes,” Kercheval told the Chicago Tribune in 1987. “The only reason he works is his own sincerity and the humor I inject into him. If I wasn’t able to convince people that Cliff really, really believes in all his schemes, it would never work.”
Actress Audrey Landers, who portrayed Barnes’ girlfriend Afton Cooper in several seasons, said in a social media post that Kercheval would always be in her heart.
“Thank you for being a great friend, scene partner, and for making history on Dallas,” Landers wrote.
Kercheval was born on July 15, 1935 in Wolcottville, Indiana and is survived by several adult children.