Larry Hagman was born Larry Hageman Sept. 21, 1931 in Fort Worth, Tex., the son of famed Broadway actress Mary Martin. Like his mother, he began his career on stage, including a five-year stint alongside Martin as a cast member of the London production of "South Pacific." While in England, Hagman was drafted into the U.S. Air Force, returning to the U.S. in 1956. Hagman continued to work steadily in the theater, as well as landing several appearances on live TV programs. He joined the cast of the popular soap opera The Edge of Night from 1961-63, and had big-screen roles in films such as Fail Safe. In 1965, he landed the role that would make him a household name, that of Captain/Major Anthony Nelson on I Dream of Jeannie. For five years, Hagman played Jeannie's Astronaut "master," showcasing a knack for comedy and an undeniable chemistry with co-star Barbara Eden. After Jeannie, Hagman starred in a score of made-for-TV movies and had guest-starring roles on shows such as Night Gallery, McCloud and Barnaby Jones.
After two stalled attempts to return to series television, Hagman was cast in 1978 as conniving businessman J.R. Ewing on the nighttime soap Dallas. A window into the excesses of the 1980s, Hagman's Ewing was the villain everyone loved to hate, and the acclaimed show became a phenomenal worldwide success. Over its unprecedented 14-season run, Hagman earned multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. The episode revealing "who shot J.R." still stands as the second-highest rated broadcast of all time.
After Dallas, Hagman's career slowed a bit due in part to health reasons. He appeared in the short-lived yet well-recieved seriesOrleans, the films Nixon and Primary Colors and the reunion special Dallas: War of the Ewings. He appeared on The Simpsons and had a recurring role on the drama Nip/Tuck. Hagman is a vocal advocate for organ donation and is strongly anti-smoking -- his passion for both causes stemming from his own personal health battles.