Larry Hagman Dies at 81

Saturday, 24 November 2012 12:08 Written by  iamrogue
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Larry Hagman Dies at 81

Larry Hagman, a beloved presence on film and television for half a century, has passed away at the age of 81.

According to a representative for Linda Gray, Hagman's co-star on the phenomenally popular Dallas, Hagman died on Friday at his home in, appropriately enough, Dallas, Texas.

“He was the pied piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew,” said Gray in a statement to the press.  "He was creative, generous, funny, loving and talented.... an original and lived life to the full.”

Hagman's death was the result of throat cancer, a diagnosis the announced last year.

A celebratory, joyous individual, Hagman was remarkably outspoken in discussing the years of alcoholism as well as his subsequent advocacy of recreational alternatives to alcohol.  His years of unrepentant drinking led to Hagman's 1992 diagnosis with cirrhosis of the liver, but a 1995 liver transplant saved his life, after which Hagman ended decades of indulgence in champagne.

Hagman was the son of Broadway legend Mary Martin.  A proud Texas native, he was born in Fort Worth in 1931.  While serving in the U.S. Air Force, Hagman produced entertainment shows for the armed forces, after which he began starring in Broadway plays during the late 1950s.

Hagman's resume is exceedingly long, but he was undoubtedly best known for playing the villainous, manipulative J.R. Ewing on the popular television drama Dallas.  After playing the character, whose apparent murder formed what was one of the most famous cliffhangers in the medium's history, in over 350 episodes from 1978 to 1991, Hagman dusted off J.R.'s cowboy hat for this year's Dallas revival series.

It was, however, Hagman's earlier role on I Dream of Jeannie that turned Larry Hagman into a star in the autumn of 1965 on NBC.  Fittingly, given his military history, Hagman played the central role of Major Anthony Nelson, a straightlaced pilot and astronaut whose crash landing on an island stirred up the titular genie played by Barbara Eden.

Amongst Hagman's notable film appearances are titles such as Superman, The Eagle Has Landed, and Mother, Juggs, and Speed.  More recently, he turned in acclaimed performances in Oliver Stone's Nixon and the Clintonian satire Primary Colors.

His charm and obvious joy in playing every type of character on film and television will be missed by millions of fans worldwide.  Hagman is survived by his wife and two children, a son and daughter. 

And, for anyone who never got a glimpse of Larry Hagman's unconventional political adroitness, here, for your viewing pleasure, is an interview in which he asserts that politicians should try LSD:

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