'Dallas' Returns: Who Shot J.R. With Clinical Depression?

VIDEO: The Ewing family returns to TV beginning summer 2012 on TNT.
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It's a new "Dallas" for a new generation.

The original "Dallas," which debuted in 1978 on CBS and had an astonishing 13-year run, centered on the Ewings, a family of Texas oil barons who had money, cattle, and more scandals and power struggles than the Kardashians.

In a promo shot for the continuation of the iconic TV series, premiering tonight on TNT, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, and Larry Hagman join newcomers Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, Brenda Strong, Julie Gonzalo and Josh Henderson for a new round of scheming, backstabbing, oil-fueled battles and a peak at a steamy scene that might have made jaws drop in the '70s.

The three original cast members will appear in the new series. The continuation is expected to focus on J.R.'s son, John Ross Ewing, and Bobby and Pam Ewing's adopted son, Christopher. With Southfork on the brink of a possible sale, the indomitable J.R. sits in a retirement facility calculating his next move after losing his fortune. The oil baron has apparently been medicated for clinical depression.

Click through for a look at some of the key players of "Dallas," then and now.

Larry Hagman/J.R. Ewing

Hagman, 80, inherited the acting gene from his mother, Broadway musical legend Mary Martin. He'd had roles in television programs 20 years prior to "Dallas," including "I Dream of Jeannie" from 1965-70.

The original strategy behind "Dallas" was to focus on the newly-married Bobby and Pam Ewing. But Hagman made his role more than the producers had intended. He quickly became the focus of the program and is the undisputed power villain in TNT's modern version of the show even if he is not at his best at the start of the season.

He never left the business. Four years ago he had a recurring role on "Nip/Tuck," and appeared on "The Simpsons."

While Hagman has clearly aged since his days as the man everyone loved to hate, he wears it well. Like the hard drinking J.R., Hagman was an admitted boozer. In 1995, he had a life-saving liver transplant and a cancer scare that led him to quit smoking. He later chaired the American Cancer Society's annual Great American Smokeout for many years and became involved with the National Kidney Foundation.

As for oil, its interesting to note that in the last few years Hagman has become an alternative energy supporter. He publicly showed off his super energy, solar-powered home in 2007. This of course would be heresy to J.R. Ewing who in the new version of the show faces a push by his nephew to get into the renewable energy game.

Patrick Duffy/Bobby Ewing

Duffy, 63, made a name for himself in "The Man from Atlantis" television series before being signed to play J.R.'s good guy brother on "Dallas." Bobby continues to try to do the right thing on the reinvented show.

Duffy has kept himself busy since the series ended its run. He landed a role in "Step by Step," and continued to act in television movies. He had a run on "The Bold and the Beautiful," and appeared in the movie "You Again."

Linda Gray/Sue Ellen Ewing

Gray, 71, was already a television regular when she got her plum "Dallas" gig, as J.R.'s long-suffering alcoholic wife. But Sue Ellen has come a long way from the sad, conniving, drunk wife of J.R. We now find her considering a political career. Sue Ellen Ewing for Governor? Just imagine the opposition research on Sue Ellen.

After the original series ended Linda Gray she continued her television work, including a role on "Models, Inc." and guest appearances on episodic television.

Victoria Principal/Pamela Barnes Ewing

Principal, 62, had started her television acting career in the 1970s. Then she struck oil. She was cast in "Dallas" playing Bobby Ewing's wife, a character who often found herself in the middle when the Ewing and Barnes clans feuded.

After she left the series in 1987, she continued her acting career, appearing in TV movies, episodic television and series, including "Titans" in 2000. She's also the founder of Principal Secret, her skincare line. Sadly we won't be seeing her on the new "Dallas." Bobby's wife is now Ann Ewing, played by Brenda Strong.

Priscilla Presley/Jenna Wade

Presley, 66, was the third actress to play Jenna Wade, the childhood love of Bobby Ewing. As Jenna, she rubbed shoulders with J.R., the formidable oil baron. But in real life Presley had already married the King -- she'd tied the knot with Elvis Presley in 1967.

As the marriage wound down, she began to explore acting. Five years into "Dallas," she joined the series for a five-year stint. After she left the show -- reportedly because she was displeased with the planned direction of her character -- Presley appeared in episodic television programs such as "Melrose Place" and "Touched by an Angel." She also appeared in the highly popular "Naked Gun" movies.

Even before her run on "Dallas," Presley had a real talent for business as a boutique owner. And as Elvis's gorgeous widow, she administered Graceland, their home, with a steely eye on the bottom line, until she passed the reins to her daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, in 1998. Post-"Dallas," in 1988, she launched an international fragrance line.

And the rest? Charlene Tilton, who played Lucy Ewing Cooper, J.R. and Bobby's niece, is still in the business and makes an appearance on the new show.. Ken Kercheval, who played Pam's brother, Cliff Barnes, survived lung cancer. As J.R.'s arch enemy in the original series it will be interesting to see the sparks fly when he returns for a guest appearance. Among the dozens of actors who contributed their talent to "Dallas," it's a sure bet that those who remain will eagerly watch the new intrigues of the Ewing clan. After all, family comes first.

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