Larry Hagman died on November 23, 2012. He was 81 years old. He was born on September 21, 1931, in Weatherford, Texas. His father, Benjamin, was a lawyer who dealt with the Texas oil baron which Hagman would later come to portray. His mother was stage and movie star Mary Martin.
Larry served in the United States Air Force from 1952-1956 and was stationed in England. While there, he met and married Swedish designer Maj Axelsson. The couple had two children, Preston and Heidi.
Hagman emerged in the 1960s as the slightly befuddled astronaut in “I Dream of Jeannie,” a popular television sitcom in which he played Major Anthony Nelson, an astronaut who discovers a beautiful genie in a bottle portrayed by Barbara Eden.
He became a major star in the 1980s prime time soap “Dallas” playing ruthless oil baron J.R. Ewing. I recall unwinding after a long work week on Friday nights glued to the TV screen watching this show. It aired from 1978–1991. The show was noted for cliff hangers that had me tune in each week along with others to find out what had happened.
The ‘‘Who shot J.R.?’’ story twist engaged international speculation It also helped give the series a place in ratings history. When the answer was revealed in a November 1980 episode, an average 41 million U.S. viewers tuned in to make ‘‘Dallas’’ one of the most-watched entertainment shows of all time.
Hagman’s cause of death was due to complications related to his battle with cancer. He states he started drinking as a teenager and said he did not stop until the moment in 1992 when his doctor told him he had cirrhosis of the liver and could die within six months. He underwent a life-saving liver transplant in 1995. After giving up his vices, Hagman said he did not lose his zest for life. “It’s the same old Larry Hagman,” he told a reporter. “He’s just a littler sober-er.”
Ten episodes of the new edition of ‘‘Dallas’’ aired this past summer and proved a hit. Hagman was back in Dallas as filming was in progress on the sixth episode of season two, which is set to begin airing Jan. 28th.
Above Larry’s Malibu home flew a flag with the credo “Vita Celebratio Est … Life Is a Celebration.” Something for us all to remember.
Rest in peace, Larry.
Until next time with more