Notable Deaths ›

Ken Kercheval (1935–2019), J.R.’s rival on “Dallas”

Getty Images / CBS

Ken Kercheval (1935–2019), J.R.’s rival on “Dallas”

Ken Kercheval played J.R. Ewing’s nemesis, oil tycoon Cliff Barnes, on the popular primetime soap, “Dallas.” Rivals on screen, Hagman and Kercheval were real life friends. He reprised the role of Cliff Barnes when the series was rebooted in 2012 for a two year run on TNT. Barnes was mostly a stage actor when he got the part on “Dallas” in 1978. He appeared in many TV shows and movies including “Network,” and “F.I.S.T.” His first regular TV role was playing Dr. Nick Hunter on the soap opera, “Search for Tomorrow.”

We invite you to share condolences for Ken Kercheval in our Guest Book.

Died: Sunday, April 21, 2019 (Who else died on April 21?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 83, confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter by his talent agent.


Is there someone you miss whose memory should be honored? Here are some ways.


On his “Dallas” character Cliff Barnes constantly losing to his rival J.R.: “I thought as an actor, 'How am I going to have an audience believe that this guy is not some imbecile who keeps coming back, [only] to get whipped? I thought the only way is to add some humor to it, just to say, 'Dust yourself off, get up and start all over again.'” —Kercheval, according to the Hollywood Reporter

What they said about him: Ken Kercheval - "Supremely talented, a wonderful story teller, slyly humorous and always unpredictable. I hope you, Larry & Barbara are throwing a Texas style heavenly party!
RIP sweet brother. XO" - co-star Victoria Principal on Instagram

“He was one of those guys who was going to be the next James Dean.” —David Jacobs, the creator of “Dallas”

“R.I.P. to my co-star on the #Dallas series, #KenKercheval. 'Now cracks a noble heart. — Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!' (Hamlet, Act V)” —Kevin Page on Twitter

“Cliff Barnes, Ken Kercheval, you will always be in my heart.” —“Dallas” actress Audrey Landers

Full obituary: The Hollywood Reporter

Related lives: