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Larry Hagman (1931)

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  Summary  

Larry Martin Hagman is an American film and television actor, producer and director known for playing J.R. Ewing in the 1980s primetime television soap opera Dallas and Major Anthony "Tony" Nelson in the 1960s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.

  Biography  

 early life and career
Hagman was born in Fort Worth, Texas. His mother, Mary Martin, later became a Broadway actress and his father, Benjamin Jack Hagman, was a district attorney. His parents divorced in 1936 when he was five years old. He lived with his grandmother in Texas and California. His famous mother became a contract player with Paramount in 1938 and occasionally took him to her movies.

In 1940 his mother met and married Richard Halliday and gave birth to a daughter, Heller, the following year. Hagman attended the strict Black-Foxe Military Institute . When his mother moved to New York City to continue her Broadway career, Hagman again lived with his grandmother in California. A couple of years later, his grandmother died and Hagman joined his mother in New York. At age 14 while attending boarding school, he began drinking heavily which led to serious health problems later in life.

In 1946 Hagman moved back to his hometown of Weatherford, where he worked on a ranch owned by a friend of his father. After attending Weatherford High School, he was drawn to drama classes and reputedly fell in love with the stage and, in particular, with the warm reception he got for his comedic roles. He developed a reputation as a talented performer and in between school terms, would take minor roles in local stage productions. Hagman graduated from high school in 1949, when his mother suggested that he try acting as a profession.

Hagman began his career in Dallas, Texas working as a production assistant and acting in small roles in Margo Jones' Theater in 1950 during a break from his one year at Bard College. He appeared in The Taming of the Shrew in New York City, followed by numerous tent show musicals with St. John Terrell's Music Circus in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Lambertville, New Jersey. In 1951, Hagman appeared in the London production of South Pacific with his mother, and stayed in the show for nearly a year.

In 1952, during the Korean War, Hagman was drafted into the United States Air Force. Stationed in London, he spent the majority of his military service entertaining U.S. troops in the UK and at bases in Europe.

 personal life
In 1973, stepfather Richard Halliday died, and Hagman reconciled with his mother soon after. The two became close until his mother's own death in 1990, his mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and died at the age of 76.

In 1954, Hagman married Swedish-born Maj Axelsson and they had two children, Heidi Kristina and Preston . Longtime residents of Malibu, California, they now live in Ojai, California. He has been 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 said "A sad figure —not too well educated, who doesn't get out of America much. He's leading the country towards fascism". Hagman appeared at the Dublin races in 2008 with his wife.

Despite playing the very conservative J.R. Ewing, Hagman is a member of the Democratic Party and supported Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and later Barack Obama in their respective bids for the United States Presidency.

In 1967, friend musician David Crosby, supplied him with LSD after a Crosby, Stills, and Nash 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. Although Hagman says he no longer smokes marijuana and is on a "Twelve-step program", he explains, "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."

In 1982, he crowned the winner of the Miss Sweden competition in Stockholm. During the coronation he wore a traditional Lapphatt and sang a Swedish folksong.

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 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 has 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 a 2007 interview, he talked about how he is now a major proponent of alternative energy. On an episode of Living With Ed, Larry and Maj show actor Ed Begley, Jr. their solar powered, super energy efficient home and Larry talks about his green lifestyle.In early 2010, Hagman and Maj put their 43-acre estate called Heaven up for sale, which was valued at $9.5 million. The estate is located high in the hills of Ojai, California. Maj began her career in cultural fashion in the late 1950s for modern-day celebrities. She designed the house and infused it with her trademark elegance and style. Both Hagman & Maj first purchased this entire property in 1991.

On October 14, 2011 Hagman announced he had being diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer, but declined to be more specific. 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.".

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Larry Hagman", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.