Larry Hagman’s Curtain Call

The world knows him as J. R. Ewing, the star who made Dallas into a global hit and changed television history. But for thirty years I have known him as a good friend, a spiritual mentor, and one hell of a partier. Inside the epic life of Weatherford, Texas’s most famous son.
Larry Hagmans Curtain Call
Photographs by Van Ditthavong

There’s nothing like watching the real J.R. Ewing in action. It’s an early November Friday night, and Larry Hagman is shuffling across the hardwood floor of a rented Dallas loft furnished with steer-hide throw rugs, a flat-screen TV, and a leather case full of shotgun barrels he took on a recent quail-
hunting trip. Decked out in a blue terry-cloth bathrobe and a Santa Claus cap, he looks more like a carefree flower child celebrating an early Christmas than an eighty-year-old granddaddy suffering from potentially terminal cancer.

Hagman peers through a window, scanning the neon-lit obelisks of the downtown skyline, his bushy gray brows angling sharply upward, his green eyes twinkling with flecks of gold. “Once upon a time, this was all mine,” he says, flashing J.R.’s greedy, lascivious grin. Then he hastens to add, “It will be again.”

That’s not just bravura—it’s grace under extreme pressure. The way Hagman sees it, he’s enjoying two new leases on

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