When 'Dallas' Left Us All Asking 'Who Shot JR?'

By Cyn Felthousen-Post
Left: Actor Larry Hagman on the set of the television soap opera 'Dallas', 18th July 1979. (Photo by Maureen Donaldson/Getty Images). Right: People magazine asks the question on everyone's lips. Source: Pinterest

In 1980, everyone wanted to know: "Who shot J.R.?" Dallas posted the question by showing us the shooting of J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), and drove fans of the soap opera all over the world mad with curiosity and anticipation.

He was the villain viewers loved to hate -- and they couldn't imagine the show without him. Plenty of characters on the show wanted him dead, but audiences didn't.

In all of '80s TV, this one catchphrase looms largest, not because it's simple and intriguing, but because it sums up the greatest cliffhanger the medium has ever seen. President Jimmy Carter and presidential hopeful Ronald Reagan weighed in on Who shot J.R.? Beer branded "J.R." was sold with a variation on the question. Posters, magazine covers, coffee mugs, buttons, and T-shirts all asked the same thing: Who shot J.R.?

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