It was summer in America, and Larry Hagman had taken off to
Switzerland with his Swedish wife (Maj Axelsson), and a motor
cycle club called The Uglies. "I had six Uglies with me. We
were going to Zurich for a muscular dysthropy charity function, a
thing called The Love Ride, which is also very famous and popular
here in Los Angeles. This was the fifth year that they did it in
Zurich. I was going to ride in this thing to raise money for the
"Either Iíve got
the part or not, Ďcause Iíve got a lot of
"We arrived on Friday morning and Mike Nichols called
that afternoon and said ĎIíve got a part for you in a
movie; Iíd like you to read for it.í I said to him,
Look Mike, Iím on a two week vacation and Iím planning
to go from here to Monte Carlo to watch the Grand Prix and
Iíve got a yacht lined up . . . I just canít. So Mike
said, ĎWhy donít you read the script and let me
know.í So Mikeís secretary showed up the next morning
with a script in her hand from Los Angeles.
I read it right away and I called him back that afternoon and
told him Iíd love to do it, but when would he need me? Mike
said Wednesday. I said, well maybe I could make that. Mike said
ĎCould you come back and read?í I said no, Iím not
going to come back and read. Either Iíve got the part or
not, Ďcause Iíve got a lot of plans Ė things going
on. And you promised me the part. Then Mike just said,
ĎOKí. So I did my thing on Sunday for the charity, got
on a plane Monday morning, got back on Tuesday and Wednesday we
were shooting. It was kinda fun."
"Working with him is
wonderful - he leaves you alone" on Mike Nichols
Hagman liked the part as written, and there were no changes,
nor challenges. The whole exercise turned out well for him.
"Travoltaís a really sweet guy, very supportive and a
kind man. Mike Nichols is too. Iíve known Mike for 40 years
but weíve never worked together before. Working with him is
wonderful - he leaves you alone. I think it makes good sense; you
have a good script, you hire good actors and theyíll do a
lot of good work for you. You donít have to do any
What about The Uglies; what do they do and who are they?
"We donít do anything, we just ride around. We
donít make any trouble. Weíre not trouble makers, just
a bunch of Harley owners. Later this year Iím going back to
the Harley Davidson works for the 95th anniversary.
And weíre just going to ride around for five days and make a
fool of ourselves generally. The other members include doctors
and mechanics and some of them do things I canít mention in
public. Iíve been a member for about five years but
Iíve known some of the members for a long time - like Peter
Fonda and David Crosby from Crosby Stills and Nash and their
drummer Dallas Taylor."
"Something good will
come along and Iíll do it if itís good and I
wonít if itís not."
Hagmanís toughest critic is himself. "And my wife of
course. Weíve been married for 43 years now, so I listen to
her when she says something. But she didnít say anything
about this one. She didnít even see it until opening night.
She was on set when I was filming the big scene at the end (shot
in New Orleans) but she didnít really know anything else
about it. I was doing another shoot at the time a mini series
called The Third Twin and just finished doing Dallas: War of the
Ewings series, which airs in the US in April. So last summer was
And fun: acting is still fun for Hagman, and he likes
directing, too. "Whatís coming up next? I have no idea
and I donít really care. Something good will come along and
Iíll do it if itís good and I wonít if itís
not. Iím looking for something challenging and exciting. I
donít have to work so itís a luxury for me."
"Iím very proud
of that" on I Dream of Jeannie
The man whose career was launched with the tv series Dream of
Jeannie 33 years ago still looks back fondly at those golden
years, with pleasure. "Absolutely. Iím very proud of
that. Comedyís so hard to do. Comedy ainít funny. It
was a lot harder to do than Dallas."