Hagman, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, was an established TV and movie actor in the U.S. when he was catapulted to worldwide fame after landing the role of the treacherous businessman in 1978.
And as he prepares to re-visit his most famous character when Dallas re-launches next year (12), WENN has put together 10 fascinating facts about the star to say - Happy Birthday, Larry!
- Hagman's mother was the late, legendary actress Mary Martin. She bestowed upon him the childhood nickname Lukey.
- Before finding fame, he served in the U.S. Air Force, where he honed his stagecraft by spending hours entertaining his fellow troops.
- Hagman broke his collar bone in a childhood accident.
- During his time on Dallas, Hagman's portrayal of J.R. Ewing was so central to the show's popularity, he re-negotiated his contract to earn $100,000 (£62,500) per episode - making him one of the highest-paid actors on U.S. TV.
- A committed anti-smoker, Hagman served as chairman of the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout.
- He underwent a liver transplant in 1995 after years of heavy boozing left it ravaged. He has since become an outspoken campaigner for liver donation, and wears a ring made from gallstones removed from the organ during the transplant.
- He was the only actor to star in all 357 episodes of Dallas – although for several episodes during the infamous 'Who Shot J.R.' saga, Hagman's face was not shown as the character recovered in a hospital bed. He still holds the record for the greatest number of consecutive appearances by a lead actor in a 60-minute primetime drama.
- Hagman became close friends with The Who wildman Keith Moon when the drummer lived in Los Angeles in the 1970s, and the hard-drinking pair would frequently party together.
- He owns a ranch in Ojai, California, and a home in Sundsvall, Sweden – the hometown of his Swedish wife, Maj.
- He has a vast collection of hats and canes.
The hit show is set to return to the small screen in 2012, with most of its original cast - including Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, and Linda Gray - lining up alongside newcomers Jesse Metcalfe, Brenda Strong and Jordana Brewster.
Plotlines for the show's comeback have been kept under wraps by producers but now Metcalfe has let slip one surprising development for the Texan dynasty - they're moving into trading more environmentally-friendly fuel.
Metcalfe tells British magazine You, "I play Christopher Ewing, Bobby Ewing's adopted son. He's trying to move Ewing Enterprises into the next generation - alternative energy and all that. There's a bit of social commentary, too, about what's going on with our own energy crisis."
If we've learned anything from the Final Destination series, it's that outrunning death is an impossibility. Side-stepping, maybe, but outright defeating? Don't even bother. Death is the invisible ghost of Rube Goldberg and he's way too clever for mortal man.
Now that doesn't mean Death will always take the form of a deceased puzzle-maker—changing his appearance is part of his conniving plan. Over the years, movies have depicted the overlord of finality in a variety of shapes and sizes, but in the end, he always has the same mission: end lives.
So take a deep breath and prepare to stare Death in the face. In most cases, he'll be capable of staring back:
The Seventh Seal
Ingmar Bergman's 1957 film may not have been the first appearance of Death on film, but it certainly was the first one to feature Death taking on a knight in a game of chess.
The Seventh Seal established Death as a white-faced, black-robed figure who stalked the living, occasionally engaging them in a round of the thinking-man's game and muttering a few forbidding Biblical phrases. Few Swedish films have continued to resonate through pop culture the same way as Bergman's film. If you need proof...
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey/Last Action Hero
These may be the last two films on the planet you would think tip their hat to the Special Jury Prize winner of the 1957 Cannes Film Festival, but really, the homages fit perfectly into both film's goofy spectacles. In the sequel to Excellent Adventure, Bill and Ted take on Death himself…in Twister, Battleship and Clue. Little less classy.
In Last Action Hero, Ian McKellen recreates the infamous chess scene from Seventh Seal, portraying Death before waling off the big screen (courtesy of a magic movie ticket) to give sagely advice to the young hero Danny. His appearance may not deliver the same heart-racing reactions as seeing Schwarzenegger jump out of an action movie, but Death makes up for it with slow-moving gravitas.
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
A ghostly pale Death is great for the existential crowd, but when it comes to terrifying, it's all about Guillermo Del Toro's Angel of Death. Crossing paths with Hellboy in The Golden Army, the frightful beast sports a mushroom for a head and creepy eyes in its wings. If it wasn't for his solid smile, his looks alone would send a person to the grave.
When Brendan Fraser's cartoonist character Stu slips into a coma after a car crash, he's transported to a twisted limbo world, where his cartoon character creation Monkeybone comes to life and aids him in infiltrating the land of the dead. Few people caught Monkeybone in theaters…meaning few people caught Whoopi Goldberg as the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-esque Death. Sadly, the movie does not end with the reaping of Fraser's career.
The Films of Woody Allen
Allen has always been one to blend fantastical elements with his reality-based comedic and dramatic stylings—and his relationship with Death is an extension of that sensibility. The Grim Reaper appears in multiple Allen films, including Scoop, Deconstructing Harry and Love and Death. He teaches us an important lesson: it's a lot more fun to laugh in the face of death then join him in the underworld.
Meet Joe Black
I'm sure most people who find Brad Pitt attractive would be perfectly content with biting the bullet if they knew Death looked anything like the continually-youthful actor. In Meet Joe Black, Pitt's Death requests a few vacation days to wander Earth and make every woman on the planet swoon. At least they can die happy.
The Exorcist III
In what might be the strangest interpretation of Death ever on screen, director William Peter Blatty (the author of the Exorcist novel and writer of the film adaptation) chose none other than basketball legend Patrick Ewing as the Angel of Death. Even alongside other angel cameos like Fabio and Larry King, Ewing's presence is both baffling and terrifying. Does he have the power to slam dunk you into the afterlife? Do you want to wait around to find out?
The outspoken star will reprise his J.R. Ewing role in the much hyped TV return of cult '80s show Dallas - and he can't wait for fans to see the series, as he believes audiences are bored of today's programmes.
He says, "I dont think there is anything as good on television today. I barely watch TV apart from the news. Most of it is rubbish. There's all this reality nonsense and dross.
"I think there is a market for a well-produced, well-written melodrama like Dallas. It's pure entertainment."
The star of the iconic '80s show was devastated after putting his wife of 57 years, Maj, into an assisted care facility after struggling to look after her himself.
Hagman still sees her everyday, and believes reprising his role as notorious oil baron J.R. Ewing in the rebooted cult show will "save" him.
He tells Britain's The Mail on Sunday, "Her Alzheimer's hasn't yet robbed her of the knowledge of who I am. But I dread that day... It's a cruel disease.
"That's why Dallas is good for me. It made my name the first time around. Now I believe it will save me by keeping me busy and working."
Gray played the alcoholic wife of scheming oil baron J.R. Ewing in the hit soap, and her onscreen husband Larry Hagman revealed earlier this year (11) he downed booze onset to relieve the boredom of shooting scenes.
His revelation sparked speculation the actors were all boozing during filming - but Gray insists such behaviour would have clashed with the heavy workload.
She tells Britain's OK! magazine, "That is absolutely not correct. If you drink when you are acting - on a series, where we did 28 shows a year - nothing would get done.
"I'm not an alcoholic. People say, 'Oh, you did a great job of playing an alcoholic. She did it so good, then she must be an alcoholic.' Please, just congratulate me on my acting!"
Bosses at U.S. network TNT are relaunching the legendary drama series later this year (11) and they persuaded stars Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, and Patrick Duffy to reprise their roles as members of the Ewing family.
The other two surviving members of the original cast - Tilton and Kanaly, who played Lucy Ewing and Ray Krebbs - were not included in the list but they have now been signed up by producers following a public plea by Tilton and an online petition from fans for a full reunion.
The only main star of the first season in 1978 who won't take part is Victoria Principal, as her character Pamela Ewing was written out of the show in 1988.
The show's stars have already been taking a trip down memory lane - they recently returned to Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas to shoot scenes for the pilot episode of the reboot.
The TV villain, famed for his portrayal of sleazy oil tycoon J.R. Ewing, sold off a number of personal valuables collected over the years at Julien's Auctions in California.
Hagman, who opened the sale in style by riding through the streets of Beverly Hills on horseback, was on hand to describe the items going under the hammer for bidders, according to the Associated Press.
The best-selling lot was a silver saddle, which fetched a staggering $80,000 (£50,000), while a portrait of his late Dallas co-star Jim Davis went for more than $38,000 (£24,000).
A replica bottle from I Dream of Jeannie, the show that gave Hagman his big break, sold for more than $10,000 (£6,250) and a pair of pistols brought in more than $4,000 (£2,500).
The TV villain, famed for his portrayal of sleazy oil tycoon J.R. Ewing, is auctioning off mementos he has collected over the years following the sale of his ranch in Ojai, California.
The items up for grabs include antiques, art and furniture, as well as costumes and props from his TV shows, which are all set to go under the hammer on Saturday (04Jun11), and Hagman ensured the auction hit the headlines by riding a horse through the streets of Los Angeles.
He was joined by Gray, who played his wife Sue-Ellen on the hit TV show, who also rode a horse to the sale's opening party at Julien's Auction House.
Hagman even wore his trademark Stetson hat, several of which are up for sale, and told reporters, "When people know that you collect hats, they send you hats from all over the world.
"I've collected a lot of things in my life - about 60 years of collection - and I don't have any place to store it anymore. And why store something like that? Share it with other people. That's the fun thing."
Gray was equally enthusiastic about the sale, insisting it brought back happy memories from their time on the show: "There were many items that I saw and it brought back these great times together. I've known Larry 33 years."
The actress, who plays murdered Housewife Mary Alice Young, will portray oil tycoon Bobby Ewing's wife Ann.
Patrick Duffy will return as Ewing and Metcalfe will play his son.
And Strong can't wait for fans to see the new show, telling Eonline.com, "It's not a remake. Most people are thinking we're remaking it. It's a continuation, it's the new generation... It's nice because it's going to be invented in a very modern way.
"It's very surreal. I'm talking to Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) and J.R. (Larry Hagman) and I'm going, 'OK, pinch me. This is very strange.'
"They were absolutely welcoming. They couldn't have been kinder, more humble, more hospitable. In those circumstances, you would expect that they would have the right to kind of have ownership and they were so generous and so inclusive."
And she has big plans for her gun-wielding character: "I'm hoping that I end up in an evening gown in a pool at some point. I do get to tote a shotgun, so that already kind of got me off to a bang."