Larry Hagman was an American actor, director, and producer who became famous for his roles as J.R. Ewing in Dallas and Major Anthony Nelson in I Dream of Jeannie. He had a long and successful career in film and television and was also known for his philanthropy and activism. He died in 2012 at the age of 81 from complications of leukemia. Here are some facts about his life and legacy.
Early Life and Education
Larry Hagman was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on September 21, 1931. His mother was Mary Martin, a Broadway actress and musical comedy star; his father was Benjamin Jackson Hagman, an accountant and lawyer. His parents divorced when he was five years old, and he lived with his grandmother in Texas and California. He attended a strict military academy and a boarding school in Vermont, but dropped out after one year. Hagman joined his mother in New York City, where he developed an interest in drama and dance. He graduated from high school in 1949 and decided to pursue acting as a career.
Military Service and Marriage
Hagman enlisted in the United States Air Force 1952 during the Korean War. He served four years as an airman first class, working as a clerk for the Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT) headquarters in Germany. He also performed in U.S.O. shows for the troops. While stationed in London, he met his future wife, Maj Axelsson, a Swedish designer. They married in 1954 and had two children: Kristina and Preston. They remained married until Hagman died in 2012.
Hagman began his acting career in the 1950s, appearing in various television shows such as Goodyear Playhouse, The United States Steel Hour, and The Twilight Zone. He made his film debut in 1961 with The Group, a drama about eight female graduates from Vassar College. He also appeared on stage in several Broadway and off-Broadway productions.
In 1965, he landed his breakthrough role as Major Anthony Nelson, a NASA astronaut who finds a genie in a bottle, in the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. The show lasted five seasons until 1970 and made Hagman a household name. He also starred in films such as Harry and Tonto (1974), S.O.B. (1981), and Nixon (1995).
In 1978, he was cast as J.R. Ewing, the ruthless oil tycoon and main antagonist of the primetime soap opera Dallas. The show was a huge hit, running for 14 seasons until 1991. Hagman’s portrayal of J.R. earned him four Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe awards. He also reprised his role as J.R. in the 2012 revival of Dallas, which aired until his death.
Larry Hagman Net Worth and Philanthropy
Hagman was one of the highest-paid actors on television at the peak of his career. He reportedly earned $100,000 per episode for Dallas. Larry Hagman Net Worth was estimated to be $15 million at his death.
Hagman was also a generous philanthropist who supported various causes such as solar energy, organ donation, animal rights, peace activism, and anti-nuclear campaigns. He donated money to charities such as the American Cancer Society, the National Kidney Foundation, the Solar Electric Light Fund, and the Peace Alliance.
Personal Life and Death
Hagman had a history of health problems related to his heavy drinking and smoking habits. He underwent a liver transplant in 1995 after being diagnosed with cirrhosis. He also had throat cancer in 2011. Hagman died on November 23, 2012, at a hospital in Dallas from complications of acute myeloid leukemia. Hagman was surrounded by his family and friends, including his co-stars from Dallas. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered around the world.
Hagman is survived by his wife, Maj, and his children, Kristina and Preston. His grandchildren Heidi Kristina Hagman (an actress), Sophie Hagman (a model), Jake Martin Hagman (a musician), Jesse Wayne Hagman (a musician), Tait Axelsson Hagman (a filmmaker), Crosby Rose Hagman (a student), Simon Axelsson Hagman (a student), Clara Axelsson Hagman (a student), Oscar Axelsson Hagman (a student), Ella Axelsson Hagman (a student), Maya Axelsson Hagman (a student), Stella Axelsson Hagman (a student), Isabella Axelsson Hagman (a student), and his great-grandchildren, Kai Wayne Hagman and Owen Hagman.
Hagman is remembered as one of his generation’s most iconic and influential actors and as a kind and generous person who touched many lives. He left behind a legacy of unforgettable performances and memorable characters that will live on in the hearts of his fans.