Larry Hagman, star of TV’s ‘Dallas’ and ‘I Dream of Jeannie’, dead at 81

Larry Hagman starred as J.R. Ewing in 'Dallas', which started in 1978 and ran for more than a decade, because returning in several TV movies and a new series on TNT
Larry Hagman starred as J.R. Ewing in ‘Dallas’, which started in 1978 and ran for more than a decade, because returning in several TV movies and a new series on TNT

Actor Larry Hagman lost his long battle with cancer and passed away on Friday. He was 81 years old. His Dallas co-star Linda Gray was reportedly at his bedside in a Dallas hospital at the time of his death.

Best known for his roles on I Dream of Jeannie and the prime time soap, Dallas (which originally ran from 1978 to 1991, and was recently reborn on cable’s TNT), Hagman was also in a number of movies although his last role of significance was as “Governor Pickler” in 1998’s Primary Colors. It was a good role for him and he was good in it. Among his other film roles were Nixon, S.O.B., Superman, The Eagle Has Landed, Harry and Tonto, and Ensign Pulver.

Larry Hagman starred with the sexy Barbara Eden in the 1960s sitcom, 'I Dream of Jeannie'
Larry Hagman starred with the sexy Barbara Eden in the 1960s sitcom, ‘I Dream of Jeannie’

He was actually born in the Dallas Metroplex, in Fort Worth on September 21, 1931 to actress Mary Martin and a district attorney, Benjamin Hagman. He was sent to live with his grandmother after his parents divorced, but when his grandmother passed away he moved back in with his mother. After attending Bard College for a year, he began acting on stage until entering the U.S. Air Force in 1952. Four years later after his discharge from the military he returned to the stage, appearing in four plays on Broadway before moving on to television and later the big screen.

In my favorite performance of his, he portrayed Colonel Clarence E. Pitts in The Eagle Has Landed, a film adaptation of the novel by Jack Higgins. In the book and on screen, Pitts personified incompetence as an Army Ranger and commanding officer. It was a short but memorable role for Hagman and he made the most of it.

At the time of his death he had been married to his wife Maj for 58 years and he is survived by her and their two children.


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