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Linda Gray bids farewell to ‘dear friend’ Larry Hagman

LindGray 'Dallas' TNT.

Linda Gray on "Dallas" on TNT.

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Updated: March 4, 2013 6:21AM

This season on the revived “Dallas,” Sue Ellen Ewing is pushed to the edge of her sobriety.

“I was panicked,” says Linda Gray, who plays the former boozer. “When I read the script, I saw the words, ‘She pours a glass of wine’ and I froze. I couldn’t read the next words. I thought, ‘Oh no, they can’t do this to me again!’ ”

She has played it all on “Dallas,” both on the ’80s original and the update (8 p.m. Mondays on TNT). Now the 72-year-old has to do the rest of the series without her longtime friend and co-star Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing. He passed away last fall, which has left a hole as big as Texas.

1 Have you filmed the show where J.R. Ewing dies?

Yes, we have, and it was really tough for everybody. Patrick Duffy, Larry and I have been dear friends for over 35 years. I always called him Mr. Hagman. He insisted on calling me Miss Gray. I swear to you, it was the most beautiful friendship, and the episode this season where he dies is a beautiful one. The writers gave it their all.

2 Did people lose it during the funeral scene?

Absolutely. Every single person who spoke broke up, and there was not a dry eye in the house. It was the way Mr. Hagman would have wanted it. It was a stunningly beautiful scene and everybody gave it their best shot. I think that the fans want that closure. They want to mourn J.R. Ewing. It’s final. We love him and bless him.

3 Is it hard to imagine the show now without him?

I have been thinking about the episodes without him and it’s hard. I honestly expect him to walk through that door at any moment as J.R. I can’t help but think, “Oh, wouldn’t this be great if J.R. was in this scene?” I keep looking for the ultimate J.R.-Sue Ellen scene. But when I get sad, I think, “You were blessed to have all those scenes and all of those years.”

4 So give us some plot hints. Does Sue Ellen become governor of Texas?

Well, here’s a wonderful thing. The governor of Texas lives in Austin and not Dallas. If she wants governship, she has to move to Austin and the show is called “Dallas.” I think that might help people figure that one out.

5 Does she get a new main squeeze?

I think Sue Ellen definitely needs a love interest. She has a house and a car. What’s left? A cat? No, she needs human love.

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