Ken Kercheval dead: Dallas’ Cliff Barnes actor dies aged 83

A representative for Ken Kercheval told the Dallas star’s children were on their way to his hometown of Clinton, Indiana, where he had died. She also paid tribute to the actor on Instagram, sharing a series of pictures with her 706 followers and informing fans he died on Easter Sunday. “Ken was one of kind,” she wrote. “Safe journey home… remembering Ken – great actor, loved women, very particular about his clothes, always prepared, loved the stage as well as film and TV.”

She went on to say: “We had a bumpy road but Ken was always there… steady as a rock!

“He left a giant footprint for everyone to enjoy.

“His kids, Aaron, Caleb, Liza, and Madison all have shared memories,” she continued.

“Down the road… look up and perhaps Ken is smiling at you! Goodbye Ken… bring light and love up there.”

The actor will be remembered by fans of US soap opera Dallas for playing Cliff Barnes for over 13 years.

His character was famous for being J. R. Ewing’s (played by Larry Hagman) nemesis in the show and the pair were the only characters to appear in the entirety of the series.

One particularly memorable storyline saw Cliff start an affair with J. R.’s wife Sue Ellen (Linda Gray).

He was thwarted by the protagonist once again when he proposed to Sue Ellen only to be denied.

In a past interview, Ken opened up on his character, saying: “From the very beginning, Cliff would always get defeated by J.R.. Finally, I went to [Dallas writer and producer] Leonard Katzman and said, ‘I’m not sure exactly how to play this, because for this guy to keep coming back again and again, he’d have to have gotten a lobotomy.’

“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 to get whipped?

“I thought the only way is to add some humour to it, just to say, ‘Dust yourself off, get up and start all over again,’” he added.

In addition to Dallas, Ken’s acting career boasted roles in Diagnosis Murder, Starsky and Hutch and The Lincoln Conspiracy.

He got into acting after training under Sanford Meisner, whose previous students included Steve McQueen and Gregory Peck, at the Neighbourhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York.

Ken also appeared in stage productions, including playing Clifford Bradshaw in Cabaret.

Fans took to social media to remember Ken’s finest moments, with one saying: “I’ve always loved Ken. Such a powerhouse. There’s a great scene in Dallas where he acts with his back. WITH HIS BACK. That’s talent.”

Actress Audrey Landers tweeted: “Cliff Barnes, Ken Kercheval, you will always be in my heart.”

“His long running feud with J.R. was the hub of the programme,” another fan said. “They don’t make shows like that anymore. RIP.”

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