Larry Martin Hagman was born Sept. 21, 1931, in Fort Worth. His mother was 16 when she married lawyer Ben Hagman. Their son was born a year later.
His parents soon divorced, and by 1933 Martin had set off for Hollywood without her son.
Placed in a series of boarding schools, Mr. Hagman was often a disciplinary problem and spent the last two years of high school living with his father in Texas. He was drawn to the notion of being a cowboy and worked summers in the oil fields.
He dropped out of Bard College in New York after a year and turned to acting. In the early 1950s, he moved to England to take a small role in a production of “South Pacific” that starred his mother.
He then spent four years in the U.S. Air Force. Stationed in London, he produced entertainment shows for the military. There he met Maj (pronounced “My”) Axelsson, a Swedish clothing designer he married in 1954.
Upon returning to New York, Mr. Hagman starred on Broadway in the late 1950s in “God and Kate Murphy” and other plays.
His movie career began in 1964 with a part as a ship’s officer in “Ensign Pulver.” He also appeared in the 1964 cold-war drama “Fail-Safe,” in which he played a translator working alongside the president, played by Henry Fonda.
One of Mr. Hagman’s more affecting roles was as Art Carney’s self-pitying son in “Harry and Tonto” (1974). He also appeared in “The Eagle Has Landed” (1976) and “Superman” (1978) and showed his comic talent in “Mother Juggs and Speed” (1976) as an oversexed ambulance driver working opposite Bill Cosby and Raquel Welch.
More recently, Mr. Hagman portrayed a Texas millionaire in “Nixon” (1995) and a governor in “Primary Colors” (1998).
He reprised the role of J.R. Ewing in a new version of “Dallas,” which debuted on TNT in June.
In 2005, Mr. Hagman’s wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She survives, along with two children.
For 25 years, Mr. Hagman observed “silent Sundays,” refusing to talk, a move he initially made to rest his voice. After giving up cigarettes, he often carried a hand-held fan to blow fumes back toward smokers.
He had long been known as an amiable eccentric who was considered the unofficial mayor of Malibu, where he lived for decades in an oceanfront home. He often led impromptu ragtag parades on the sand while wearing outlandish costumes and flew a flag from his deck that declared “Vita Celebratio Est” — “Life is a celebration.”
— Los Angeles Times