Remembering Larry Hagman

DALLAS, Nov 24, 2012/ — Being from Dallas, the news of Larry Hagman’s death was devastating. After all, the actor originally hailed from Weatherford, which is a part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. And perhaps, more importantly, Larry Hagman in his inimitable portrayal of the fictional J.R. Ewing made Dallas part of pop culture, be it the city itself or the TV series.

Though I watched my fair share of episodes of “Dallas” when it was on the air, I did not know anything about Larry Hagman other than what Hollywood wrote about him. That all changed when about the same time that talk of “Dallas” being revived at TNT filled the air, I met Mrs. B, an octogenarian living in a posh retirement home here in Dallas.

While interviewing her for an article on an entirely different subject matter, she mentioned that she knew Larry Hagman and actually dated him when they were teenagers.

Knowing that Mrs. B is originally from Weatherford, TX, I never doubted her claim. She told me about a young Larry Hagman, relating that even at a young age; Larry was very charming, so full of life and he always made her laugh.

But, if ever there was romance between them, it was cut short by high school graduation. Mrs. B went to Atlanta to attend college while Larry Hagman went to New York to become an actor.

“Oh, Larry was never the love of my life,” Mrs. B said when I asked her if she had dreams of being Mrs. Larry Hagman when they were dating. “I doubt if it was even puppy love. Those were innocent dates and what kids nowadays would call hanging out.”

“In fact, I completely forgot about Larry when I was college,” Mrs. B continued. “And I know he did not spend even for a second any thoughts of me after he left Weatherford.”

Of course, as history showed, Larry Hagman married Swedish-born Maj Axelsson in 1954 and they would remain married until death do they part.

As for Mrs. B, she met the love of her life while she was living in Atlanta when Dr. B, her future husband, was still a medical student. Dr. & Mrs. B had two wonderful children and their love also lasted forever. Like Maj Axelsson now, Mrs. B is also a widow; Dr. B passed away about three years ago.

When I read the news that Larry Hagman had passed away, I called up Mrs. B to tell her the sad news. Like most people on the twilight of their lives, the death of someone from their generation is distressing because it reminds them of their mortality.

Mrs. B took the news stoically. But the sadness in her voice was very apparent when she said, “Larry always made me laugh. This is the first time he made me sad.”

Larry Hagman, may you rest in peace.

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