Sat 24 Nov, 2012 03:16 am
(Reuters) - "Larry Hagman, who created one of American television's most supreme villains in the conniving, amoral oilman J.R. Ewing of "Dallas," died on Friday, the Dallas Morning News reported. He was 81.
Hagman died at a Dallas hospital of complications from his battle with throat cancer, the newspaper said, quoting a statement from his family. He had suffered from liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver in the 1990s after decades of drinking.
Hagman's mother was stage and movie star Mary Martin and he became a star himself in 1965 on "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.
"Dallas," which made its premiere on the CBS network in 1978, made Hagman a superstar. The show quickly became one of the network's top-rated programs, built an international following and inspired a spin-off, imitators and a revival in 2012."
" ... [he and his wife] then moved to Ojai, California. Hagman was a member of the Peace and Freedom Party since the 1960s. Hagman derided President George W. Bush, a fellow Texan, before the Iraq War. At a signing for his book he described Bush as "A sad figure, not too well educated, who doesn't get out of America much. He's leading the country towards fascism".
In 1967, friend musician David Crosby, supplied Hagman with LSD after a concert: "LSD was such a profound experience in my life that it changed my pattern of life and my way of thinking and I could not exclude it."
Hagman was introduced to marijuana by Jack Nicholson, as a safer alternative to Hagman's heavy drinking. "I liked it because it was fun, it made me feel good, and I never had a hangover.". Although Hagman said he no longer smoked marijuana and was on a "Twelve-Step Program", he explained, "Marijuana is like being compared to alcohol and when you come right down to it, alcohol destroys your body and makes you do violent things, but with grass, you just sit back and enjoy life."
Hagman in August 2011
"In August 1995, Hagman underwent a life-saving liver transplant after admitting he had been a heavy drinker. Numerous reports state he was drinking four bottles of champagne a day while on the set of Dallas. He was also a heavy smoker as a young man, but the cancer scare was the catalyst for him to quit. Hagman was so shaken by this incident that he immediately became strongly anti-smoking. He recorded several public service announcements pleading with smokers to quit and urging non-smokers never to start. Hagman was the chairman of the American Cancer Society's annual Great American Smokeout for many years, and also worked on behalf of the National Kidney Foundation.
In 2001, Larry Hagman wrote his autobiography, entitled Hello Darlin' Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales About My Life. This was the only book Hagman ever wrote.
In a 2007 interview, he talked about how he was a major proponent of alternative energy. On an episode of Living With Ed, Hagman and his wife showed actor Ed Begley, Jr. their solar powered, super energy efficient home and talked about their green lifestyle. In early 2010, the couple put their 43-acre Ojai estate (called "Heaven", which they purchased in 1991) up for sale; it was valued at $9.5 million.
Hagman appeared at the Dublin races in 2008 with his wife. That same year, Maj Hagman was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. In June 2011, Hagman said he had stage 2 throat cancer. He commented, "As J.R. I could get away with anything—bribery, blackmail and adultery", Hagman said in a statement. "But I got caught by cancer. I do want everyone to know that it is a very common and treatable form of cancer. I will be receiving treatment while working on the new Dallas series. I could not think of a better place to be than working on a show I love, with people I love."
Hagman died November 23, 2012, at Medical City Dallas Hospital in Dallas, Texas from complications of the cancer."