Larry Hagman passed away yesterday, appropriately in Dallas, from complications of his ongoing battle with cancer. The veteran actor and director was 81.
The son of actress Mary Martin, he began acting right after college. His first work was on the stage, off and on Broadway. He even performed in his mother’s production of South Pacific. After a stint in the Air Force Hagman moved on to television. From “Edge of Night” to “I Dream of Jeannie” to “Dallas” to “Nip/Tuck” to “Desperate Housewives” and back to “Dallas” again, he has had a fairly steady career for decades.
Throughout numerous television roles and even a few movie roles (I still have a warm spot in my heart for his appearance in the 1970s Blob sequel), he will be best remembered as the villainous oilman J.R. Ewing. The mystery of who shot him at the end of season three of “Dallas” was one of the most talked about television stunts in history. In turn, he has been spoken of as one of television’s greatest villains.
While most memorable as J.R., I have to say I will always remember him as Major Tony Nelson on “I Dream of Jeannie.” As a kid in the 1970s, I watched “Jeannie” stripped daily in syndication on the UHF stations. Much like the adventures of the Brady Bunch and the castaways of Gilligan’s Island, his antics, as well as those of rest of the cast, were highlights of my childhood. Maybe it’s my age, or a wish to remember him as a good amusing guy, but I will miss ‘Master’ the most.
An American television icon, Larry Hagman will be greatly missed.