Mark Schnyder, NBC 5 News
"Dallas" star Larry Hagman is being remembered by fans and officials across North Texas.
From the mayor of Dallas to fans at the famed Southfork Ranch, many spent Saturday remembering Larry Hagman.
The actor played J.R. Ewing on the hit television drama "Dallas" died Friday at the age of 81.
Small groups started gathering outside Southfork at about 9 a.m. Saturday. Among those who stopped was Marianne Ferguson and her family from Memphis, Tenn.
“He was the top dog, really,” said Ferguson, referring to Hagman’s conniving character. “I don’t know what they’re going to do without him, but it’ll still be a great show.”
“As a kid [I remember] watching it, every single one,” said Risa Rivers of Pennsylvania, who was in the gift shop waiting for a tour of the ranch to start. “I cried when I found out he [Hagman] died.”
Jason Parrott lives in Allen now but grew up in Chicago watching the show.
“It’s a very sad day,” said Parrott. “But it’s very amazing how the show’s endured for so long, it just will live forever.”
As the morning wore on the crowds picked up and the folks at Southfork put a huge picture of Hagman out front along with flowers for a memorial where people could write cards and leave them messages.
Cindy Smith of Georgia was on her way to a football game and didn’t have time to tour Southfork, but she did pull off the road to pay respects.
“Just really sad to hear because his character just made the show. He was such a villain that you loved.”
On Saturday, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings released the following statement:
"Larry Hagman created a role that was mythic and put Dallas in the spotlight in the 1980's and that attention has lasted decades; gaining world wide recognition for our City. The recognition and affinity he created for Dallas can never be replicated - he was one of a kind. Larry is a North Texas jewel that was larger thank life and he will be missed by many in Dallas and around the world. We are grateful for his being a hard working ambassador for Dallas as well as the underdog with our City. On behalf of the City and Citizens of Dallas - our thoughts and prayers are focused on his family and his fellow cast and crew as they grieve such a large loss."