Larry Hagman,R.I.P.–A Great TV Villain Yet Also A Great Gentleman In Real Life

Larry Hagman had died in a Dallas hospital on Black Friday,the day after Thanksgiving this month from complications of throat cancer. He was able to spend this past Thanksgiving with his family. For all his family’s grief, this final sharing of his time with them will be a big consolation for them. He died quietly as he had always wished with family and friends around. He was 81 y/o.

Much has been said about his long career as an actor on both the big screen and TV for which I will not exhaustively expound anymore. What I would say about him  would be my impressions of him as a viewer.

I first saw him as I was growing up on TV reruns of the sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie” as Capt. Tony Nelson, a former astronaut who encountered and  brought home  a genie played by Barbara Eden and life was never the same again for the bachelor captain.

Later on, I saw the TV  drama series “Dallas”where he played his well-known and signature acting role of his  time as the scheming,ruthless,immoral yet charming  J.R. Ewing which ran for about 12-13 seasons and only recently returned this Sept. as a rebooted version of Dallas of a new generation with him and 2 other original cast members aside from a new set of younger actors. It played well as expected to great reviews and ratings and the 2nd season is scheduled to be played on January 2013 with Mr. Hagman on  6 of the 15 taped episodes. At this time, the studio will prepare a proper send-off episode for him.

The Dallas episode titled “Who Shot J.R.?” has the most famous cliffhanger scene of all time in my opinion and which generated great TV ratings. J.R. being shot by an initially unknown assailant kept viewers talking about it during the off-TV season until its return the ff. fall. I felt that cliffhanger is the gold standard for all other cliffhangers to come but has yet to be surpassed.

In real life, Larry Hagman had lived a full life. He worked and played hard sometimes to excesses and which extracted a toll on his health.

He was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis in 1992 . He was known before as a heavy drinker and he totally stopped drinking when he was diagnosed to have a malignant liver tumor which led eventually to him getting a liver  transplant which was deemed successful. He eventually became an organ donation advocate.

He also became an anti-smoking activist for the American Cancer Society as well especially after quitting his smoking habit of several years’ duration.

His  2001  memoir “Hello Darlin’: Tall (and Absolutely True)Tales About My Life” gave us a glimpse of the real gentleman that he is in real life.

He was well-loved by all who knew him personally as well as his legions of  fans.

To Mr. Hagman, thanks so much for entertaining us all through the years.

You,Sir, had made a bad character look so good yet  also someone we love to hate and that’s a paradox but definitely, a testament to great acting.

Rest in peace!

Josie

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