J.R.: Popular TV personality in Germany
IT'S BEEN YEARS since I was in Germany," said Larry Hagman at Frankfurt Airport. Hagman was en route to Munich to receive the golden "Bambi" award as the most popular TV personality in Germany.
"I was stationed in England and came TDY to Germany in 1953. I've wanted to come back sooner but ... Marie (his wife) and I are planning to come back later this year, we hope, to vacation."
Hagman said the switch from the nice, naive, bumbling Captain Nelson in I Dream of Jeannie to the dastardly J.R. was an easy transition. "It was just natural ability," said the Ft. Worth native.
When challenged that his mother Mary Martin didn't raise him to be like J.R., he drawled, "Honey, my grandmother raised me and she taught me how to take care of myself."
He does take care of himself, especially physically. Although he doesn't get to work out on his barbells while he is away, he still exercises. His broad shoulders reflect his continual fitness program.
A non-smoker, Hagman carries with him a small, hand-held, battery-powered fan to combat cigarette exhaust. He is all for banning smoking on planes.
In an abrupt change of pace a hint that perhaps he isn't as gruff or mean as he tries to make people believe — he took out his "Bubble Bear." "It's from Germany," he explained as he showed us how the bubble-maker worked. After removing the cap and pressing a lever, a circle extended from which Hagman blew bubbles around the room. He calls them his "morning art."
Then it was back to business.
According to Hagman, he is pleased with the response to Dallas. When asked if there were any more cliffhangers coming up, he replied like J.R., "Oh, yes, my dear. But I won't tell."
But he did tell two fans how J.R. got out of the Cuban jail. "I bought my way out, of course." The fans were men from Northrup who were in Germany to repair the Pan Am airliner that was clipped by a Kuwait plane in mid-March.
"Just wait 'til I get home. My wife will never believe that I met J.R.," said the Pan Am workman.