Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Larry Hagman - J. R. Ewing from the TV Show Dallas

Larry Hagman was born in 1931 a native of Texas where the television series "Dallas" was set.  He was sort of born into acting as his mother was Mary Martin a famous Broadway actress.  Long before Hagman became the villainous J. R. Ewing, short for John Ross Ewing, Jr.  He also played Tony Nelson the husband of everyone's favorite lamp girl Jeannie (Barbara Eden) on "I Dream of Jeannie".

Larry Hagman as J. R. Ewing
Larry Hagman with co-star Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie

Larry began his acting career in an appearance on the TV show, "Decoy" in 1957.  He then primarily did TV work in shows such as "Search for Tomorrow" (1957), "Sea Hunt" (1958), "The Edge of Night", (1958), "The Defenders" (1963-64), and "Three's A Crowd" (1969).   He had a few movie credits in there as well such as "No Time for Sergeants" (1958), "Fail-Safe" (1964), and "In Harms' Way" in 1965.

Larry Hagman as astronaut Tony Nelson from the TV show I Dream of Jeannie

"I Dream of Jeannie" ran from 1965 through 1970 and Hagman starred as Anthony Nelson who was first a Major then became a Captain along the way.  His co-star Barbara Eden played the lovable "Jeannie".

The original cast of "Dallas". Front: Charlene Tilton (Lucy), Jim Davis (Jock).  Back: Patrick Duffy (Bobby), Victoria Principal (Pam), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie), Larry Hagman (J. R.), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen)

After "Jeannie", Larry starred in several TV shows such as "A Good Life" (1971-72) and "Here We Go Again" (1973).  But played mostly minor roles in shows and movies such as "Love, American Style", "Vanished", "Medical Center", "Blood Sport", "Police Woman", "McCloud", "Marcus Welby, M.D.", "Ellery Queen", "The Streets of San Francisco", "Barnaby Jones", "McMillian & Wife", "The Rockford Files", and "Police Story".  Hagman actually directed and appeared in a sequel to "The Blob" called "Beware! The Blob" in 1972.  He did star in a few other feature movies as well including "Up In The Cellar" (1970), "Antonio" (1973), "Harry and Tonto" (1974), "Mother, Jugs & Speed" (1976), "The Big Bus" (1976), "The Eagle Has Landed" (1976), and "Superman" in 1978. 

Larry got his most famous role of all as J. R. Ewing in 1978 through 1991 in the TV prime time soap "Dallas" with appearances in the spin-off "Knots Landing" in 1980 through 1982 along with co-stars Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal, Linda Gray, Charlene Tilton (Lucy), Jim Davis
(Jock), and Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie). He even directed and produced many of the episodes himself. A long run for a TV series!  In 1990, Larry reunited with his co-star from "I Dream of Jeannie", Barbara Eden (Lee Ann De La Vega) in the nighttime TV series "Dallas" for 5 episodes.

After the heyday of "Dallas", Larry has made fewer appearances over the years in various TV shows and movies as well as voice overs. Hagman spent a couple of years from 1992-94 directing the series "In the Heat of the Night". 

Larry Hagman 2010

A couple of "Dallas" reunion shows resurrected the character of J. R.  which Hagman played and he produces the shows as well. Those TV movies where "Dallas: J.R. Returns" in 1996 and "Dallas: War of the Ewings" in 1998.  Larry also starred in the feature film primary Colors in 1998 along side John Travolta.  His voice work includes narrator in the series "Sheer Dallas" and an appearance in "The Simpsons".

Larry's star is on the rise again however. 
He again teamed up with Barbara Eden on-stage in the off Broadway "Love Letters" in 2006.  He starred in the TV series "Nip/Tuck" in 2006 another series in 2009 and 2010 as well as the movie "The Flight of the Swan".  There are rumors that he and "Dallas" co-stars Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray could possibly appear in a resurrected and revamped version of the TV show with a modern story line.  Next tag line: "Who resurrected J.R.?"


In 2012, Larry did indeed revive his role as J. R. Ewing in the new TV version of Dallas co-starring Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Julie Gonzalo (Rebecca Sutter), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), and Linda Gray - Sue Ellen Ewing.

Larry Hagman in his 80s, still lookin' sharp in his cowboy hat

Update: Larry Hagman lost is long fought battle with throat cancer on Friday November 23, 2012.  He was 81 years old.

1 comment:

  1. Did'nt Larry Hagman's character, Tony Nelson begin the series "I Dream of Jeanie" as Captain Nelson, then along the way became Major Nelson ? Apart from this one query I thought the overall profile was very good, as his date of birth and career timeline was included.