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Larry Hagman, R.I.P.

By Rich Heldenfels Published: November 24, 2012

The TV icon has died, and already there is discussion of what this will mean to the new "Dallas," where he proved as enjoyable as he had on the original series. I remember Hagman from many things over his career: "I Dream of Jeannie," which I did not much care for; his character work in supporting roles, particularly in the film "Harry & Tonto," and of course "Dallas" itself. As Hagman has noted, including in his memoir "Hello Darlin'." he had his demons and his difficult years, but he was a true showman during his "Dallas" heyday -- holding court at press gatherings and even throwing his home open to large groups of reporters during TV critics tours.

I remember going to one such event in the '80s, which included everyone getting a commemorative T-shirt, "Beware! The Blob" (which Hagman had directed) on the TV screen; a reporter being caught snooping in an off-limits section of the house, and a glimpse of Hagman's neighbor Burgess Meredith sitting in his own home, watching TV. There was no one bigger than Hagman in his heyday, and no one more determined to get what he wanted, whether it was a bigger paycheck or bringing back Patrick Duffy. But he managed to make it all seem like great fun.

My favorite Hagman moment, though, was years later. He was doing a guest role on "nip/tuck" as a patient getting a testicular implant. What had appeared to be a one-shot appearance turned into a recurring one because -- well, when you've got Hagman, why would you not use him as much as possible? This was 2006, and he said he was getting too old to be a regular on a series, but it always seemed he would come back for something interesting.

As for the laugh, I mentioned what he was having done on the show -- and that no one would believe Hagman needed bigger balls. He roared, but did not disagree. "Dalllas" will not remotely be the same without him.

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