Larry Hagman was born September 21st, 1931
to actress Mary Martin
and attorney Ben Hagman
. His parents divorce
d when he was very young. He moved to Los Angeles
to be with his grandmother
and then she died when he was twelve. By this time his mother
was doing incredibly well on Broadway
and he tagged along with her. Hagman grew up, attended Bard College
, New York
for a year, then decided to follow in his mother's footsteps. He became an actor.
He performed in Dallas and New York. He was in a stage production of South Pacific in England for five years, then went into the U.S. Air Force but stayed in England, and there he produced and directed a lot of shows for servicemen. There he also met and married a young swedish designer named Maj Axelsson. After the military, Hagman returned to New York and performed both on and off Broadway. Eventually he made his way to television daytime drama on soap operas like The Edge of Night.
Larry Hagman moved from New York to Hollywood, and in 1965 got the part of Major Anthony Nelson in the series I Dream of Jeanie opposite the lovely Barbara Eden. After five years of that he remained on television in various roles and series, and also performed on stage and in motion pictures. Some of his more notable movies included Mother, Jugs and Speed, Superman, Stardust and Blake Edwards' S.O.B.
In 1977, Larry Hagman landed the role of his life, as the man the world loves to hate: J. R. Ewing in the television series Dallas. This prime time soap opera is one of the most popular and successful television series of all time, lasted thirteen seasons, and featured the Who Shot J.R.? cliffhanger plot device which made CBS a lot of money and entertained a lot of people. On November 21, 1985, hundreds of millions of television viewers in over fifty countries world-wide watched the episode which told everyone who shot J. R. and no I don't personally remember because I was washing my hair that night.
Dallas the television series also permanently imprinted in the minds of the entire world that we Texans are all a bunch of rich, self-involved, amoral lunatics with way too much time on our hands and we all wear cowboy hats. WE DO NOT. I sure ain't rich. I don't own a cowboy hat and wouldn't be caught dead wearing one. I am however a self-involved lunatic, but don't stereotype your impression of the entire state of Texas on my account. We don't all have thick southern accents either, but we do use the phrase y'all though and you should too because it just makes perfect sense.
Where was I? Oh yes.
Larry Hagman followed up his stint as J. R. Ewing, by being the host of a PBS documentary about 150 years of Texas history, fittingly titled Lone Star. In April of 1987 he appeared in an instructional home video called Larry Hagman - Stop Smoking for Life. Despite this, in August 23rd of 1995, Larry Hagman recieved a liver transplant which did save his life but may have made him wonder if perhaps back in '87 he shouldn't also have released an instructional home video called Larry Hagman - Stop Drinking Too While You're At It.
In November of 1996 he reprised his role of J.R. for a Dallas Reunion TV movie which made CBS a lot more money and entertained a lot of people and yes I was washing my hair that night too. When not dazzling people with his marvelous acting skills, or showing off his liver transplant scar, Larry Hagman uses his fame and popularity to bring focus to many worthy causes including the American Cancer Society, the National Kidney Foundation and the National Celebrity Career Salvatorium. Really, he's a great guy with a lot of hobbies and a loving family and he digs Harleys so he can't be all that bad.
Now. I told you that story to tell you this one.
Larry Hagman is the Center of the Universe.
Editor note: Larry Hagman died in Dallas,Texas on Friday, November 23, 2012 at age 81 due to complications from his battle with cancer.