Larry Hagman, film and television actor, died at 81

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Dead, Larry Martin Hagman, American film and television actor, director and producer on November 23, 2012 at the age of 81, from complications of cancer, born on September 21, 1931, he is best known for playing ruthless oil baron J. R. Ewing in the 1980s prime time television soap opera Dallas, and befuddled astronaut Major Anthony “Tony” Nelson in the 1960s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.

His father, Benjamin Jackson Hagman, who was of Swedish descent, was an accountant and lawyer who worked as a district attorney.

Hagman’s parents divorced in 1936, when he was five years old.

He lived with his maternal grandmother, Juanita Presley Martin, in Texas and California while his mother became a contract player with Paramount in 1938.

In 1940, Hagman’s mother met and married Richard Halliday and gave birth to a daughter, Heller, the following year. Hagman attended the strict Black-Foxe Military Institute (now closed).

When his mother moved to New York City to resume her Broadway career, Hagman again lived with his grandmother in California. A couple of years later, his grandmother died and Hagman joined his mother in New York.

When he was 12, his grandmother died and he moved back to his mother’s place, who had remarried and was launching a Broadway career.

After attending Bard College in New York State, he decided to follow his mother’s acting road.

His first stage tryout was with the Margo Jones Theatre-in-the-Round in Dallas, Texas. He then appeared in the New York City Center production of “Taming the Shrew”, followed by a year in regional theater.

In his early-to-mid twenties, Larry moved to England as a member of the cast of his mother’s stage show, “South Pacific”, and was a member of the cast for five years.

In 1977, the soap opera Dallas (1978) came aboard and Larry’s career was secured. He credits “Super chick” for convincing him to do the show.

This program of an excessively rich Texas family was one of the best, beloved, most-watched shows of all time as he portrayed the role of the evil yet perverted millionaire J.R. Ewing, the man who loved to be hated.

The series ran for an amazing 14 1/2 seasons and the “Who shot J.R.?” episode remains the second highly-rated television show in the history of the satellite.

Since his name was familiar with Texas, it was suiting that he hosted “Lone Star” (1985), an eight-part documentary series related to the history of Texas, for the Public Television Stations.

That aired while celebrating the 150th anniversary of Texas as an independent republic.

Hagman experienced a health crisis in 1992, when he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver.

Years of drinking had taken its toll on his health, and after a malignant tumor was found on his liver, in August 1995, he underwent a 16-hour liver transplant.

After struggling with his health, Hagman returned to acting.

He played another corrupt Texas oilman in Oliver Stone’s 1995 movie Nixon, appeared in several Dallas television movies and guest-starred on TV series, including the plastic surgery drama Nip/Tuck in 2006.

 

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