Ken Kercheval who played Cliff Barnes on 'Dallas' dies aged 83
Ken Kercheval, the actor who played the role of the oil tycoon Cliff Barnes on 'Dallas', has passed away at the age of 83. The news of his death was confirmed Wednesday, April 24, by a spokeswoman at Frist Funeral Home in Kercheval’s hometown of Clinton, Indiana, as reported by Variety, but no other additional information has been released.
Kercheval's character Cliff Barnes was the arch-rival of Larry Hagman’s J. R. Ewing on 'Dallas,' and both of them were the only two stars who appeared on the CBS’ soap opera for the entirety of its 14-season run from 1978 to 1991. For the first two seasons, Kercheval played a recurring character, before becoming a series regular in the 1979-1980 season.
Later on, Kercheval reprised his role in the 1996 reunion of the show, followed by its 2004 CBS reunion special and also the 2012-2014 TNT revival. Kercheval was also among the five series regulars of the show who directed episodes, as he helmed two episodes in Seasons 13 and 14.
In the 1960s, Kercheval appeared on Broadway in Mike Nichols’ 'The Apple Tree' and Harold Prince’s 'Cabaret.' His other popular roles were in films like 'Pretty Poison', 'Rabbit Run' and Sidney Lumet’s 'Network' and 'F.I.S.T.' Kercheval’s small screen stint was also pretty extensive with appearances on shows like 'Search for Tomorrow' in the ’60s and early ’70s, 'CHiPs', 'The Love Boat', 'Murder, She Wrote', 'ER' and several others.
Born July 15, 1935, in Wolcottville, Indiana, and raised nearby in Clinton, Kercheval attended Indiana University and pursued a major in music and drama, before studying at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York with Sanford Meisner.
A heavy smoker, he had been diagnosed with lung cancer in the past, for which he had part of his lung removed in 1994.