A look at the life of Larry Hagman, aka J.R. Ewing of Dallas

by Michael Crichton

Larry Hagman died in November 2012. As JR of Dallas he was one of television's iconic characters, but in real life he was also a character in his own right.

Huisgenoot recently reported on the life of Larry Hagman, the star of the tv show Dallas. Their story about Larry's life is from the book Hello Darlin': Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales About My Life.

Larry's mother, Mary Martin, had gone to Hollywood years before Larry finally got the courage together to tell his father that he would like to go into acting.

His mother helped him at age 17 to get an internship with a theater group in Dallas. Her advice to him was to always know his words, hang up his own clothes, and try to stay mostly sober.

Larry Hagman's first acting jobs were really small, and one of them paid so badly that he had to sleep in a toilet for two weeks.

Mary got him a part in the choir of South Pacific when it went to London. It is there that he met the Swedish Maj Axelsson, a clothing designer, who would become his wife.

In 1956 they went back to Texas so his father could meet what his father dubbed "Larry's foreign bride". They arrived at four in the morning, but Larry's father started serving American whiskey.

Larry's acting career stayed for a long time with soapies and TV movies that were so bad, many were never completed or broadcast.

His first proper break was a role in "I Dream Of Jeannie", wherein he played the role of Tony Nelson who finds a bottle with a 2,000 year old genie inside of whom he is her lifelong master.

But he wasn't popular on set, for he was a perfectionist always striving for better scripts.

Losing his head, he was introduced to new spiritual ideologies and also LSD. LSD trances changed his life for the better he claims.

Straining his voice once, his doctor recommended he be quiet for 24 hours. He felt rested afterwards, and decided to not talk a word every Sunday.

In 1978, after his wife Maj read the first script for Dallas and strongly recommended that this is what he has been waiting for, Larry took on the role of JR Ewing. Larry loved the other actors on the show too, especially Patrick Duffy.

Alcohol never made Larry Hagman feel sick, so he drank about four bottles of champagne a day. At 60, when Dallas was recently finished, Larry discovered he had liver problems and would die if he didn't stop drinking. He stopped drinking on 3 June 1992 at 18:15.

Three years later a liver tumor led to a liver transplant. Larry sees every day after the transplant as just a bonus, because he never thought he would live as long as he has. He is not scared of death, as death is just another level of existence to him.

Larry's wish is that after his death his body be ground up and used to fertilize a corn field. The corn should be made into flour and that into a cake to be served every year to his friends at a party. Larry claims he didn't leave a conventional life and doesn't plan to be conventionally dead.

(This wish is reported by the National Post as that Hagman told the Times that after death he wanted his remains to be ”spread over a field and have marijuana and wheat planted and harvest it in a couple of years and then have a big marijuana cake, enough for 200 to 300 people. People would eat a little of Larry.")

Larry Hagman died on the 24th of November 2012 at the age of 81.