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Hagman, Larry

By Dominick A. Miserandino,
Larry Hagman is best known for his roles in 'Dallas' and 'I Dream of Jeannie' talks about how he looks at the two roles and which fit him the most. Also, he looks back on his life via the retrospective of his recent autobiography.

DM) In researching a book like the autobiography you recently did, you usually learn a lot about yourself. What are some of the biggest lessons you learned by doing this?

LH) Don't write another book! (Laughs) Not that anybody would want it. I didn't know it was going to be as complicated as it was. What we did was... Todd Gold is a good friend of mine, and he had interviewed for a lot of People magazine covers. I trust him, and we decided to go ahead and do this. There's another book done about me, and that's just a piece of s___. He asked me questions, and I told him anecdotal answers. We recorded it and transcribed it, and edited it from that. Then the editors edited it from us, and we edited it from them. It just went back and forth, back and forth... my g-d! And so I took out all of the curses, so now it's a pretty dull book, I suppose.

DM) Any specific lessons you learned in your own life in looking back?

LH) Oh yeah, sure... how we make mistakes and keep on making them even though we recognize them.

DM) What mistakes have you made and kept on making?

LH) Being too nice! (laughs) No, I'm a nice guy. It's just an interesting life, I guess. I guess it might be interesting to other people. It's kind of dull to me though! I didn't find it dull until I read it. I traveled a lot and stuff like that, but I didn't win any awards like a Nobel Prize or anything.

DM) Saying your life was dull... is there anything you regret by looking back?

LH) You don't have much to regret when you're dull.

DM) So maybe you wish you had more to regret.

LH) Maybe I do. It's not a "kiss and tell" book, that's for sure! Well, I wish I hadn't drank as much as I did. I got a new liver to show for it and a lot of anxiety that I put on my loved ones because of it.

DM) Looking back on your life, what are some of your happiest times in life?

LH) I generally have happy times in my life all of the time. I've been very lucky to have an interesting life and be positive about most of it. I forget about the bad times to tell you the truth. Dallas was fun, Jeannie was fun, even my transplant was fun.

DM) I'm surprised you said that your transplant was fun.

LH) It was fun because I survived. That was really fun.

DM) Were there truly moments where you "Got nervous"?

LH) Never got nervous. Of course, I had a cephalopathy, too, which made you not put things together too well in your head. I think that's what made me not nervous about anything. I couldn't remember to care that much.

DM) So I guess ignoring the problem helps?

LH) Sure! What if we remembered all of the things that go on in our lives and carried them with us? I'm blessed with having forgotten them. How about a rabbit? Everything eats a rabbit, and if a rabbit really remembered that stuff, they'd be nervous wrecks! They have the gift of forgetting, I guess, or else they'd be going crazy!

DM) It's interesting to me that when you described your happiest times you mention both "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Dallas". I find it interesting how different those two shows were.

LH) Boy, aren't they! I watch Jeannie occasionally, although Dallas isn't on that much anymore. But when I see Jeannie, it feels almost like watching another person.

DM) Which one do you feel is more you?

LH) Both of them. Everybody's got different facets to them. Like you act different around your mother than your wife, right? So we're always acting different roles. In Jeannie, I was doing the jovial nincompoop. I was living with a woman who wanted to f___ his brains out all the time, and he wouldn't let her do it. In Dallas, I was doing just the opposite. I was f___ing everybody else's brains out.

DM) Whenever I read stories about you, I see them describing you as more hard and tough like your Dallas character.

LH) Naw, they haven't gotten me, or maybe I was coming on as that character.

DM) What is the true you then?

LH) You got me! (Laughs) I don't take anything very seriously, to tell you the truth. It's all very short lived. The whole of civilization, the whole of mankind, is a blink of an eye in the scheme of things on the conscious level.

DM) Do you feel that mentality has helped you get through the trials in life?

LH) I guess so. I haven't had that many trials in that respect. A lot of people take everything seriously and worry. I'm a transitional person. I'm a nomad. I travel a lot.

DM) What do you mean by "transitional person"?

LH) Well, I like to travel, I like to change. I like to explore new ideas and thoughts, and so forth. I don't have a lot of friends; I have a lot of acquaintances. I just find people absolutely fascinating because they're individual cosmos where everything important to them is there -- and most of the time they don't realize it. They always worry about exterior things, which really don't matter. But maybe that's a line of thought I've gotten since my operation. A lot of things that you take very seriously really shouldn't be.

 

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