Count me among those mourning the death of stage, screen and (most of all) television star Larry Hagman, who passed away Friday in a Dallas, Texas, hospital. Hagman was 81.
To many people around the world, Hagman - in his role as the charming and conniving oilman, J.R. Ewing - became the defitive Texan ... and that's alright by me. IMHO, he was a good ol' boy, and his role in the long-running (and recenty re-booted) television series, "Dallas," captured more than a little of the flavor, the spirit of the cowboy-hatted-and-booted, wheeling-dealing, go-for-broke characters that one still finds among independents in the Texas oil and gas industry.
Unlike myself, Hagman is a native son of Texas, and he brought some of his experience with the state and the oilfield to his role. A big fan of "Dallas" back in the 80s, I found myself back in front of the television for the series' reboot this past year, and felt amply rewarded by the experience ... especially seeing Hagman back at work. What I didn't know until earlier this year, was the back-story of Dallas and its inception, the evolution of the J.R. Ewing role, and the determined efforts by Hagman to elevate that role and its prominence in the series ... working in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes.
I STRONGLY recommend an article by by Harry Hurt III in the June 2012 issue of Texas Monthly, titled "Larry Hagman’s Curtain Call." It offers a wonderful glimpse of the life and times of Hagman, and the fascinating road he followed in the course of his personal and professional life. "There's nothing like watching the real J.R. Ewing in action," Hurt writes in the opening of that article ... I have to agree.
Some will remember him as 'Buck,' while many more will remember him as 'Maj. Anthony Nelson.' But I suspect most of us will remember him as 'J.R. Ewing' ... I know I will ... and I wonder how long the re-boot of "Dallas," may last very without him ... not long on my television set.