Late American actor Larry Hagman, who died last week, came to Romania in the 80s, when the soap opera Dallas, where Hagman played the famous oil magnate JR Ewing, was becoming popular in the then communist country as well.
The British newspaper Sunday Times recently published an article about Hagman’s trip to Romania in the 80s and the money he received from the communist regime for letting them use his image on a billboard in Bucharest.
Larry Hagman had told this secret to an American journalist, but asked him not to publish it while he was still alive. “Hagman said he had no objection provided a bag filled with hard currency was left in the ladies’ lavatory of a government office for his wife to pick up the next day,” according to the Sunday Times article bylined by John Harlow. His wife indeed picked up the brown bag with money and the couple spent it fast.
In 2011, Hagman said the soap opera Dallas had a huge influence in international politics and that he was convinced that broadcasting the series in the 80s in a communist country like Romania could have been one of the triggers for the 1989 revolution which led to the fall of communism. The Ceausescu regime agreed to broadcast the movie to show its people the bad ways of the West, but the plan backfired, Hagman believed. Romanians saw how life could be elsewhere in the world and ended up wanting to live that very life.
Larry Hagman died last Friday at a hospital in Dallas. He has been diagnosed with liver cancer 20 years ago and for the past year he had been fighting neck cancer, which stemmed from his initial liver disease. Hagman, 81, was performing the role which made hims famous around the world, JR Ewing, in the soap-opera reboot for TNT.
“Larry Hagman was a giant, a larger-than-life personality whose iconic performance as J.R. Ewing will endure as one of the most indelible in entertainment history. He truly loved portraying this globally recognized character, and he leaves a legacy of entertainment, generosity and grace,” write Warner Bros in a statement.
(photo source: Larry Hagman’s official website)