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Larry Hagman Was a Character on Screen and off
"Dallas" made Larry Hagman a star, and the latest TNT reboot of the classic show brought him back home to the role and the city he loved.
In January, Hagman appeared at the 2012 Television Critics Association's winter press tour to promote "Dallas" 2.0. There, he was doing what he did best - telling a good story. This one was about an old woman coming up to him during his original "Dallas" years, when his character, the villain J.R. Ewing, was one of the most popular personalities on television:
"She was in a walker and she came up and said, 'You rascal, you. Treating Sue Ellen like that!' and she hit me with her handbag and she knocked me off my chair," said Hagman, who then got an apology from the woman. " 'Oh, my husband died recently and I have his pearl-handled six shooter in my bag.' Only time I was pistol-whipped."
The Fort Worth native's eyebrows were a bit bushier and his face a little more lined than in his younger days, but he still had that mischievous twinkle in his eyes as he talked to reporters about reprising his role as the most notorious bad guy on television in the new "Dallas."
He was 80 years old then, and he had just announced he was dealing with throat cancer.
The actor died Nov. 23 at age 81 from complications from his battle with the disease. His family -- including wife Maj Axelsson, whom he married in 1954 -- was by his side in Dallas, where he was working on season two of the revival. Axelsson was the one who convinced him to take on the role of J.R. Ewing because, as she told Hagman, "there isn't one redeeming character in the whole script."
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