JR John Ross Ewing (Larry Hagman in Dallas)

John Ross “JR” Ewing

Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game


Dallas was a 1978 prime time soap opera, set in the world of wealthy Texan oil magnates. It was full of oil, intrigue, extramarital affairs, ruthlessness, accidental death, feuds and moguls !

It lasted for 14 seasons and had a strong following.

In several countries it was a breakthrough show, exposing the public to a/ then-modern American TV serials and b/ the sprawling display of nouveau riche  wealth, comforts and ruthless machinations.

It was also noted for its use of season finale cliffhangers (“Who Shot J.R.?”).


  • Real Name: John Ross Ewing II.
  • Other Aliases: John Junior, J.R..
  • Marital Status: Married.
  • Known Relatives: John Ross Junior III (son w/Sue Ellen Shepard), Mr. Harper (son w/Cally Harper, first name unrevealed), James Richard Beaumont (son w/Vanessa Beaumont), Eleanor Southworth Ewing (mother), John Ross “Jock” Ewing (father), Garrison “Gary” Arthur (brother), Bobby “Bob” James Ewing (brother), Raymond “Ray” Krebbs (half-brother), Lucy Ewing Cooper (niece), Christopher Ewing (nephew; adoptive), Jamie Ewing (cousin, deceased), Jack Ewing (cousin), Sue Ellen Shepard (wife, later ex-wife), Cally Harper (wife), Christine (sister-in-law), Charlie Wade (legal niece), Southfork (grandfather), Garrison Southworth (uncle), Jason Ewing (uncle, deceased), Donna Culver Krebbs (sister-in-law), Clayton Farlowe (father-in-law).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Southfork Ranch, Dallas and the Ewing Oil Company.
  • Height: 6’1” Weight: 165 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

J.R. Ewing is a charismatic, willful and ruthless businessman. A master of every trick in the book and more so. His net worth is easily in excess of 100 million dollars.

He is very well-connected and has lots of influence if many circles. He also has a strong liver capable of handling large daily quantities of alcohol.

Business as usual

Ewing Oil is a family-driven, independent oil company. Jock Ewing started it, and slowly J.R. got to take over responsibilities. Ownership has at times been shared with others, like Bobby Ewing, Jack Ewing and Cliff Barnes.

One time when J.R. was kicked as the CEO of Ewing Oil he temporarily controlled Harwood Oil instead in secret with 25 % ownership (High level connection). After Ewing Oil had to close business, he established JRE Enterprises instead. He later also became the chairman of West Star Oil (High level connection).

Nevertheless, J.R. Ewing always gets the main company back in the end. When it appears as if the competition might “steal of” Ewing Oil resources, J.R. usually hides said resources in new, fake companies.

Blood for oil

Ewing Oil often does business with the oil cartel in Texas. Said cartels has influence in Austin and Washington and is a useful connection. Other than that, J.R. often blackmails high level connections at various institutions, including the Texas Energy Commission, the State Attorney’s Office, the Dallas Police etc. into working for him.


His most often used contact might be Detective Harry McSween (actually the uncle of J.R.’s secretary, Sly), who is as corrupt as they come, and very influencial within the police force. McSween often gets to find information about various dubiously legal matters, blackmail information as well as potential contacts.

Money is usually not a matter when it puts J.R. into a position of power.

As to economics, the Ewing Oil company at its peak (season 14 in 1987) had a net worth of assets of two billion dollars. The family’s Southfork ranch has an estimated value of $100 million. J.R.s Wealth score started out at 17 APs and has increased to 20 APs at the end.

The oil price usually varies between 15 and 30 dollars per barrel, and it costs around 10 dollars to produce. Illegal sales to embargoed countries, such as Cuba, will sell for 40 dollars per barrel.


J.R. has connections all over the country and will find useful people anywhere he sets up his extended business. He is not advert to do business with his father’s old friend Marvin “Punk” Anderson and will then keep everything clean. He is usually at good terms with Marilee Stone of Stonehurst Oil, and who is also a member of the Texas oil cartel.

The main cast of the Dallas TV Series

He sponsored the singing career of Afton Cooper before she hooked up with his enemy Cliff Barnes. He is at very good terms with Wally Hampton of Old Coal Industries and they will gladly do illegal affairs together. Andy Bradley of the Cartel is another useful contact.

While Barnes’s sister Katherine Wentworth was after Bobby Ewing, they did business, which eventually ended when J.R. ruined everything for her.

West Star Oil, and its CEO Jeremy Wendell and later Carter McKay, are one of the eight largest coil companies in the world and a major enemy (although they have worked together against Cliff Barnes). Jordan Lee of Jordan Lee Oil is commonly an enemy, as are Vaughn Leeland and Driscoll. Farlow Refineries was a major competitor when J.R. worked to get custody of his son.

The greatest enemy, of course, has been Cliff Barnes and any company that he controls or influences. He has turned competitors into enemies and enemies into fanatics. In some circles he will have a reputation for being the biggest cheat, biggest lier and the biggest double deal in Dallas.

Ruthless bastard

J.R.’s ruthlessness sometimes seems to know no bounds; he has hired mercenaries to blow up oil wells in the Arab countries to boost oil prices at home, while putting the blame on the PLo. He has sold oil to embargoed countries.

Still, he limits himself to murder, and would never consider it. While people have commited suicide due to his actions, he doesn’t consider it the same thing as murder.

At one point he made troubles for the US Air Force and was surprised when they paid him a visit, at which point he backed down. He is sometimes ready to take on the whole world and his greatest act ever might have been the financing of a successful revolution in a foreign country to further his business (getting oil wells in that country).

Never mind that such an action could be considered a declaration of war between the USA and that country.


A full biography of J.R. can be found on this page at ultimatedallas.com .

Larry Hagman as JR Ewing during the opening credits of Dallas


J.R. Ewing is always clad in a fine suit, even at casual times. He wears his trademark cowboy hat, often with a drink in his hand, and has a big, confident smile and suitably, for a wolf in sheep’s clothing, pointy eyebrows. In fact, he looks rather unassuming, but underestimating him will have severe consequences. You have been warned.


J.R. Ewing is a man of mysterious and devious ways. Ewing Oil has to be protected at all costs and run to greatness. Briefly put, he is an opportunist and a conniving, manipulating bastard. He has a very sharp, serpent tongue and is an excellent reader of people.

Dallas as it appears in the Dallas TV show opening credits

He is an expert at finding anybody’s achilles heel and quickly put the knife in and twist. An expert at subtle and not-so-subtle blackmailing, he will play people against each other and fake ignorance. Whether it be by charisma och blackmail he seems to have a knack for making anybody do anything he wants.

Family ties

He did not always see eye-to-eye with his father Jock, but still tried to abide by his wishes. It was, in fact, very important that Jock be proud of him and he took his father’s death hard. He is fond of using sayings, and in particular those of his father’s.

Further, J.R. truly loves his mother and will work for what he sees as her best interests (despite what she thinks). He does have good manners with his parents, learned business matters well from his father. His son John and his upbringing are extremely important to him and he would actually sacrifice his own life for his son’s sake.

At the same time he is prone to use John Ross as leverage and false motive to run his current agenda.

He does love his younger brother Bobby as well, but their relationship is sometimes strained due to J.R.’s Machiavellian schemes. Of course, there are limits; Bobby can never be allowed to do anything better than him. When they fought for ownership of Ewing Oil, both were equally ruthless and had to temporarily forget family ties.

JR Ewing (Larry Hagman) grinning

He has absolutely no respect at all for his half-brother Ray, who is but a dumb cowboy, but tries to tone it down since they were friends in their youths. He does hate Pamela Barnes-Ewing and managed to drive Jamie Ewing to enmity. J.R. thinks that the family attracts weirdos although he is often to blame for that.

He runs a personal vendetta against the Barnes family. He really likes to taunt the old enemy, Cliff Barnes. He sometimes visits Barnes in his office to threaten him or gloat about something. Much more adept at speeches, J.R. usually wins such verbal battles.

He gets a bit nervous when Cliff Barnes is very successful and getting power, at which point J.R. feels compelled to pre-emptively ruin him.

His relationship to his wife Sue Ellen is a complex one. He does seems to feel some geuine love for her, but also contempt. He at times treats her like trash, although they do have very good times as well. When hated by too many he does turn to Sue Ellen for comfort or advice, which is not always forthcoming. At such times he instead visits Serena Wald, an escort lady to relax.

White collar crime

He is extremely well-connected and many owe him a service or two, although he regularly takes more power by illegal affairs and blackmail. A favorite tactic is to set up a sexual situation and then have photos taken of it for the blackmail. Sometimes he seems to blackmail people needlessly just for the heck of it.

He also introduces competitors and useful would-be partners to women so that he can better control them through the women.

Southfork Ranch entrance sign in Dallas

He has also been known to fake geological reports about the presence of non-existent oil to his competitors. J.R. sometimes goes to far and is adept at antagonizing people so that they physically assault him at which point he attempts to flee since his is somewhat afraid of physical violence.

Because of this, however, he will carry a gun if expecting trouble and he’s not afraid to use it. Naturally, he is an expert eavesdropper and also does arrange for spying on people and have them followed.

The hunger

Basically every adventure starts with liquor and women, and he does drink a lot and enjoys many women. Of course, he is a chauvinist and womanizer and always suspect everyone of having extramarital affairs since he himself has so many. He seems to go after every attractive woman.

He is actually the type to be rather kinky in the bed, but super proper outside of it. His wife, knowing this, often secretly works against him and creates new problems. If Sue Ellen manages to impress J.R. their relationship will actually get a lot better for a while.

J.R. does hide his hunger for power very well. He really has to control everything by himself and enjoys taking risks. He actually would need a strong and understanding woman to balance him according to his own admitance. He is sometimes pretty heavy on the sarcasm, even to family members.

Although power hungry he is not completely evil; he does have occasional pangs of of angst over his actions, but he just can’t seem to help it and knows that he would do it all over again. His play for power is like a negative cycle that feeds itself. He hopes to one day hand over the greatest independent in Texas to his son.

For recreation, other than women and liquor, he sometimes works out, although he won’t be found in the swimming pool with the rest. He knows a lot about drinks and beverages but often simply prefers bourbon and water. He will play squash with Bobby or do backgammon.


“All that matters is winning.”

[Jeremy of Westar Oil] “You’ve been meeting with Cliff Barnes to determine if J.R. had anything to do with the counter-revolution movement. Well, I know as sure as I’m standing here that J.R. was behind it. I want you to call our offices in the Far East. I want every available man put to work, have them send you every document they can get. I want Cliff Barnes to have all he needs for a full investigation. I want Ewing Oil involved in a scandal so big that their charter will be revoked. I want to see the end of Ewing Oil so that I pick up the pieces. And if J.R. Ewing goes to jail so much the better.”

“Don’t forgive and never forget ; do unto others before they do unto you ; and third and most importantly, keep your eye on your friends, because your enemies will take care of themselves.”

“I could take on Bobby with one arm tied up behind my back, but I get a distinct feeling that an army is gathering up against me.”

“If Barnes put two and two together, he’d get three.”

(Listening to Barnes’ taped conversations) “I don’t want to hear any more of that man’s drivel than I have to. I’ve had the sound of his voice in my ears for a solid week and he hasn’t uttered an intelligent word yet. That ignoramus can’t make a deal on his own. Only time he has any success is when he steals something from me.”

“Well, how does it feel, Cliff ? A couple of days ago you owned my oil field. You were going to marry my wife. You were expecting a big gush of holy up… millionaire time, that’s what it was. And now, you’re over your head in debt, and the only property you own is a dry hole north of Lubbock. You’ve succeeded in becoming the perfect failure. Hah, I don’t believe it !”

“You’ll see. Once you’ve given up integrity, the rest is a piece of cake.”

“It’s just like old times, isn’t it ? The men are having a quick run down before the women show up.”

“Lucy, why don’t you have that junior plastic surgeon you’re married to design you a new face ? One without a mouth.”

“Oh, I see. Well, now, if this is some sort of blackmail, I’m afraid you’ll just gonna have to stand in the line. We get an average of one of those in a week. So why don’t you put your request in writing ?”

(Declaring his motifs to Bobby) “It was a business maneuver. I was trying to make Ewing Oil into the most powerful independent in Texas. I needed the muscle.”

(Bobby is remarrying Pam) “All right, if you want to ruin your life, go ahead. You’re a whole lot dumber than I thought a brother of mine could be, with the exception of Ray and Gary of course.”

(At a press conference about cheap gas) “Just take a look around… all those cars. It’s all volume. I just wanted you all to know that I have been threatened by my competitors – they would prevent me from bringing back affordable gasoline to the American consumer. Americans have suffered long enough for these high prices. And J.R. Ewing is here to give them the break they so justifiably deserve. And I defy anybody, politician or not, in Austin or Washington, to try and stop me.”

Nathan Billings of the Texas Energy Comission (expecting to get political sponsorship) “Wanna talk politics ?”
J.R.: “Aha, but before we get into that, Rhonda dropped this by. She thought it would be important to your career.” (shows a video tape)
Nathan: “What’s that ?”
J.R.: “Oh, just a little amateur production. Ah, I think it’s very relevant.” (plays tape which shows the call-girl Rhonda and the married Nathan in a setup sexual encounter.) “Well, look at that, that’s you, isn’t it ? Well, looking good, real good.”
Nathan (shocked) “Blackmail ?”
J.R.: “That’s right.”
Nathan: “You went to all that trouble because I shut down one of your smaller fields ?”
J.R.: “Oh no, I’ve got big plans for you. I just wanted to guarantee your cooperation. Heheh !”

Another view of the main cast of the Dallas TV series

J.R.: “Barnes, I should have killed you out on that field when I had the chance.”
Barnes: “Well, I guess not even you are capable of cold-blooded murder.”
J.R.: “No, I wasn’t then. Of course, that was before I found out about the cheap little romance you’re having with my wife.”
Barnes: “So that’s the way you look at it, huh ?”
J.R.: “No two ways about it. You’re a cheap, little man, Barnes. With a little man’s dreams. Sue Ellen, on the other hand, is a very expensive lady. Too expensive for a cheap, little man like you.”
Barnes: “Always comes down to that with you, right ? Are you offering to buy me off ?”
J.R.: “I’m not going to have to buy you off. You’re going to end it all by yourself.”
Barnes: “Sue Ellen is carrying my baby. She is going to be my wife. And the child is going to be raised mine.”
J.R.: “That child may very well be yours. On the other hand, it may be mine. Either way it’s going to be raised a Ewing.”
Barnes: “I think the best thing for you to do is just to back off. Because how do you think Jock Ewing would think about your wife carrying my baby ?”
J.R.. (taking a step forward) “Oh, it’s going to be difficult. There is no question about that. But after a while, my dad and everybody else is going to blame everything on that tramp I married. Especially if she ends up with you. Just another case of a Barnes picking up Ewing leftovers.”
Barnes: “You’re the most…!”
J.R.: “Now, hang on. Like I said, it’s going to be embarassing for me for a while. But I’ve got a looot of money. And a lot of power. I’ll get over it. For you it would be suicide.”
Barnes: “Would it ?”
J.R.: “Yeah. You want to know how I do so well ? Because I know how to play the other man’s game. I know what makes you tick, Barnes. I know what you need. You need power. You want to be a senator, a governor. Have a post in some fancy office. Of course, you found out in the last election that anybody involved in a scandal can’t get into office. You know it’s funny about people. They’ll put up with all kinds of strange men, like me. But if the truth about Sue Ellen comes out in court you’ll be lucky if you can run out of town.”
Barnes: “You’d do that, wouldn’t you ? You’d make a scandal out of it.”
J.R.: “I don’t see that I have any choice. I don’t think you have a choice either. You better make up your mind pretty quick, because I’ve a feeling that Sue Ellen will be calling on you soon.”
Barnes: “What am I supposed to tell her ?”
J.R.: “Tell her the truth. Tell her that there is something that means more to you than she does.” (Intimidation successfully completed ; a smiling J.R. leaves a furious Barnes behind to have an even worse discussion with Sue Ellen.)

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

J.R. Ewing

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Power Lust
Int: 07 Wil: 07 Min: 05 Occupation: Oil magnate
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 017 (Season 1) to 020 (Season 14)
Init: 014 HP: 030

Artist (Actor): 04, Charisma: 07, Military Science (Demolition): 03, Vehicles (Air): 04, Vehicles (Land): 02, Weaponry (Firearms): 03

Connoisseur, Expertise (Beverages, wines & liquors, Blackmailing, Dallas Restaurants, Pubs and Bars), Languages (some Japanese and Spanish), Omni-Connection, Scholar (Business, Oil Industry)

Business Community (High), Ewing Oil (later JRE Enterprises; High), Det. Harry McSween of the Dallas Police (High), Texas Oil Cartel (High), Punk Anderson (Low), Underworld (Low), Wally Hampton of Old Coal Industries (High), Washington politicians (Low).

Dark Secret (Illegal affairs), Enemy (Cliff Barnes), Limelight (At times J.R. Ewing is the most written about person in Texas, and will have the Limelight Drawback during such periods), Married (Sue Ellen), MIA (Personally running Ewing Oil to greatness).

J.R. did service in Việt Nam and likely also has some Military Science skills even if these have never been shown in the stories.

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen.

Source of Character: Dallas TV-series; Character played by Larry Hagman.

Helper(s): Mike Winkler, Ethan Roe, Sébastien Andrivet, Robin.

Writeup completed on the 1st of January, 2010.