Larry Hagman (21 September, 1931 – 23 November, 2012) was an American actor, producer and director best known for his role as John Ross J.R. Ewing, Jr. in the 1980s television soap opera Dallas, from 1978-1991.
He reprised his role in the modern reboot of Dallas, from 2012-2013.
November 21, 1980 and August 23, 1995, are two dates Hagman will never forget. On the first, over 350-million fans in 57 countries were glued to their television sets to find out who shot J.R. On the second, Larry received a liver transplant that took 16 hours and saved his life.
Feeling better than he had in years, Larry completed work on two projects that were filming simultaneously: Ken Follett's The Third Twin, a four hour mini-series based on the author's best selling novel, which aired on CBS; and Mike Nichols' Primary Colors, a film based on the best-selling book by Anonymous... who later was acknowledged to be Journalist, Joe Klein.
The film opened March 20, 1998 and starred John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates and Adrian Lester. Larry played Governor Picker, an anti-politics politician who posed a serious threat to Governor Stanton's (John Travolta) bid for office.
Larry received unanimous raves from the critics for his stirring performance and rumblings of a possible Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor abound. Primary Colors is Larry's second presidential film, having also appeared in Oliver Stone's Nixon.
Following those projects, the second Dallas reunion movie, War of the Ewings, aired on CBS. Larry also served as Executive Producer.
Larry was born in Fort Worth, Texas on September 21st, the son of actress Mary Martin and attorney Ben Hagman. When his parents divorced, he moved to Los Angeles to live with his grandmother. After his grandmother's death, Larry, who was only 12, returned to his mother, who had remarried and was pursuing a successful Broadway career.
It was not until 1977, when Dallas came along, however, that Larry's career took off. He credits 'Superchick' (his affectionate name for Maj) for persuading him to do the series.
This saga of an excessively rich Texas family, was one of the boldest, brassiest, most talked-about shows ever and, Larry Hagman, as the despicable, corrupt, merciless, millionaire J.R. Ewing, the man everyone loved to hate, was its centerpiece.
The series ran for an unprecedented 13 seasons (from 1978-1991) and the Who shot J.R.? episode remains the second highest-rated TV show in the history of the medium.
Since his name had become synonymous with Texas, it was fitting that he host Lone Star, an eight-part documentary series on the history of Texas, for PBS. The series, which aired in the fall of 1985, celebrated the 150th anniversary of Texas as an independent republic.
In April 1987, Karl-Lorimar released Larry Hagman - Stop Smoking for Life. Proceeds from the instructional home video went to the American Cancer Society.
In November 1996, Larry starred in Dallas: JR Returns, two-hour television movie which was a ratings blockbuster for CBS as well as in the network's one-hour, drama series Orleans. His portrayal of Judge Luther Charbonnet garnered some of the best reviews of his career.
During the 2006-2007 television series, Larry joined the FX series Nip/Tuck in the role of Burt Landu, a business executive who wants some cosmetic surgery of an intimate nature.
Off-screen, Larry was actively involved in numerous civic and philanthropic activities. An adamant non-smoker, he was chairperson of the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout from 1981 to 1992.
During the summer of 1996, Larry served as the National Spokesperson for the 1996 U.S. Transplant Games presented by the National Kidney Foundation and, on November 2nd, received the foundation's Public Service Award for his efforts in heightening public awareness of the importance of organ donation. He continued to serve as an advocate of organ donation and transplantation for many years.
Larry enjoyed spending time with his family more than anything else. He and Maj lived on a ranch in Ojai, California but also divided their time between a condo in Santa Monica, and a home in Santa Fe.
In 2006, Larry participated in the Love Ride 23 Harley Davidson Glendale, California. That year's event raised a record 1.7 million dollars for charities dedicated to improving the quality of life for those less fortunate.
Larry, an avid Harley-hog, also enjoyed fishing, traveling, and collecting hats and flags.
He died on 23 November, 2012 from complications of acute myeloid leukemia. He was 81.