Larry Martin Hagman is an American film and television actor, producer and director known for playing J.R. Ewing in the 1980s primetime television soap opera Dallas and Major Anthony Nelson in the 1960s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.
Hagman was born in Fort Worth, Texas. His mother, Mary Martin, later became a Broadway actress and his lawyer father, Benjamin Jack Hagman, was a district attorney. In 1936, when Hagman was five, his parents were divorced. He lived with his grandmother in Texas and California. His famous mother became a contract player with Paramount in 1938, and occasionally brought him to her movies. In 1940, his mother met and married Richard Halliday, giving birth to a daughter, Heller, the following year. Larry attended the strict Black-Foxe Military Institute. When his mother moved to New York City to continue her Broadway career, Larry Hagman continued to live with his grandmother in California. Just a couple of years later, his grandmother died and Hagman would go back to living with his mother. In 1945, at age fourteen, while attending boarding school, he began drinking heavily which would lead to serious health problems later in life. In 1946, Hagman moved back to his hometown of Weatherford, Texas, where he worked as a ranch hand for his father's friend's company. Upon attending Weatherford High School, he was drawn to drama classes and reputedly fell in love with the stage in particular with the warm reception he got for his comedic roles.
Hagman developed a reputation as a talented performer and in between school terms, would take minor roles in local stage productions. In 1949, Hagman graduated from high school and his mother suggested that he try out as an actor.