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Ken Kercheval from 'Dallas' — Inside Life and Times of the Famous Actor Who Died in 2019

Busayo Ogunjimi
Jun 15, 2020
10:20 P.M.
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Ken Kercheval was one of Hollywood's finest stars who boasted a career span of over 50 years in his impressive show business resume.


Hollywood's Ken Kercheval showed expertise in showbiz ranging from Broadway musicals, TV series, and blockbusters.

The late actor was, however, widely acclaimed for his role in CBS-aired 1978 soap opera, "Dallas." Kercheval returned in 2012 to reprise his role.

Kercheval at South Fork Ranch on November 8, 2008 in Parker, Texas | Photo: Getty Images

Kercheval at South Fork Ranch on November 8, 2008 in Parker, Texas | Photo: Getty Images



The Indiana native was born Kenneth Marine Kercheval to medical practitioners. He studied at Mississippi before going on to learn music and drama at Indiana University.

Kercheval studied at the University of the Pacific in California, before taking an acting course at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York.


The star actor started his career in Broadway shows and showed expertise in stage works, including "Cabaret," "Fiddler on the Roof," and his debut work, "The Young Abe Lincoln." Kercheval got his big break on TV after he landed a gig on the daytime series "Search for Tomorrow" in 1965.



The late entertainer doubled as an actor and movie director and was known for films like 1976's "Network" and "The Secret Storm," among others. However, most 90s fans give Kercheval credit for his long-standing role as "Cliff Barnes" in "Dallas."

He died in April 2019 and is survived by five children.

One fact about his role was that when Ken initially joined the cast of "Dallas," he was slated to play the role of Ray Krebbs, but ended up being "Cliff Barnes." Through the show's duration, Ken Kercheval and Larry Hangman were the only cast members to stay on "Dallas" for its span.



On "Dallas," Cliff Barnes played the role of J.R Ewing's arch enemy. For the most part of the series, Barnes strived to beat Ewing in Oil business.

Towards the end, he achieved his ultimate goal and took over "Ewing Oil Company." Kercheval was also cast in the reunion of the acclaimed show. In his career, Ken starred in over 30 movies.


In 1985, Ken Kercheval veered into business and established a popcorn company. This didn't end well as his disgruntled partner, Edward Philip Jr., staged an attack on him. Philip's plan flopped, and he ended up committing suicide.

Towards the latter part of his life, Kercheval was diagnosed with cancer, and a part of his lung was removed. He died in April 2019 and is survived by five children.

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