|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Larry King Live
Larry Hagman and Linda Gray Share Their Memories of 'Dallas'Aired June 20, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, they were America's favorite dysfunctional couple on the smash hit "Dallas": Linda Gray and Larry Hagman, Sue Ellen and J.R. Ewing, they're back, together again. We'll take your calls, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
One of the most amazing success stories in American television history, the series "Dallas," which went on forever, and starred our two guests tonight, Larry Hagman and Linda Gray. Well, back together again, if you're lucky enough to be in California, in the play "Murder in the First," a play directed by Linda Gray and staring Larry Hagman, although it's sporadic, right? You're out of it for a week, you're back in it, right?
LINDA GRAY, ACTRESS: No he's out. I'm always there.
KING: Always there.
GRAY: The director always has to tweak.
KING: Is this a play that's, like, Broadway bound?
GRAY: You bet.
LARRY HAGMAN, ACTOR: Is it?
GRAY: Sure. You don't have to tell him.
KING: Before we talk all about "Dallas," tell me about the play.
GRAY: The play is extraordinary. I don't know whether you saw "Murder in the First" the film in 1995, with Kevin Bacon and Christian Slater. Well, the screen writer decided that he wanted to write a play version of it, which was a very good idea. So he wrote this wonderful play, and Ted Neeley -- do you remember Ted Neeley from "Jesus Christ Superstar?" He wanted to do the role that Kevin Bacon had originated on film, and we didn't want to have the violence. The film had an extraordinary amount of violence. So Dan Gordon -- who wrote "The Hurricane" with Denzel Washington. He wrote, you know, incredible amount of other beautiful films -- he really wanted to show it without the violence. So the play is the same story, about closing Alcatraz, takes place in '40s, and it is -- it's so beautiful, because it shows man's inhumanity.
KING: How did you come to direct it? GRAY: Now he had seen me a long time ago directing on "Dallas." And Mr. Hagman was the one that actually was my cheerleader for allowing no direct on "Dallas."
KING: You hired Larry for the play?
GRAY: Yes, I did.
HAGMAN: She was getting back at me.
KING: Did you sign on right away?
HAGMAN: She came on, and she said to me about three weeks before production started, she says, you want to go back on boards, you want to be in a play?
HAGMAN: I said no way in hell did I weren't go back on boards. She says, Monday morning, 10:00, rehearsals start, be there. Here I am.
GRAY: That's the way it worked.
HAGMAN: Yes. And he's fantastic in the part.
KING: If this goes on from -- you're in Ventura now to, like, Broadway. Would you go and you go?
GRAY: If he's invited.
HAGMAN: If you're invited
GRAY: If you behave. The great part about this is he plays a judge. He plays it beautifully, and he sits behind the judge's bench, puts on his black robe, and he has to sit and stay, which I love.
KING: The whole play?
GRAY: The whole play.
HAGMAN: Sit stay, turn over, play dead. I have 29 lines, mostly...
GRAY: He interrupts all the time.
HAGMAN: Well, yes, but I had six chuckles three solid laughs in less than...
GRAY: And a standing ovation.
KING: He's a prop?
GRAY: He is not. How can Larry Hagman be a prop? HAGMAN: I am a prop. You can't take your eyes off me, but I just sit there.
KING: "Murder in the First" coming to a theater near you, directed by Linda Gray. And you're in it, too, right?
GRAY: No, no, no.
KING: Oh, there's no two women in it?
GRAY: Yes there are two women, but I'm the director.
KING: Just the director?
GRAY: It is. It's delicious. I'm having best time. The most incredible cast. And it's a brilliant, brilliant play.
KING: Let's go back.
HAGMAN: No, I love it, I love it. It's just that once you're stage, you can do anything you want to, because there is nobody to cuss you out, you know.
KING: Mr. Hagman and I, who appeared together in a film, by Mike Nichols, "Primary Colors." We had two scenes together.
HAGMAN: Yes. That was two weeks before my liver transplant, by the way.
KING: Is that was close?
HAGMAN: Yes, right, it was two weeks.
KING: And both you, you're with National Kidney Foundation. Now you're big. And you're United Nations.
GRAY: United Nations.
KING: You're our goodwill ambassador.
GRAY: Yes. Yes, sir.
KING: The part that -- who had this? Danny Kay had this.
GRAY: Danny Kay, Audrey Hepburn.
KING: Audrey Hepburn.
How did -- let's go back. It's so great seeing the two of you sitting together.
GRAY: It's great to be here.
KING: How did "Dallas" come about to you? Did you hire -- give me the genesis.
HAGMAN: Well, I was, broke, living in New York, or visiting my mother in New York, and we got two scripts, one was a comedy one, and one was this "Dallas," and I read the comedy thinking they wanted me for a situation comedy.
KING: Having done "Dream of Genie."
HAGMAN: Yes, right. And my wife read other one, and I heard a hoop come from the other one room. She says, this is it, there's not one redeeming good person in this whole play, I mean, you're going to love this, and it just kind of filtered down to me after a while.
KING: You wanted to play a bad guy.
HAGMAN: No. It was just was the right time, the right place, and it was about Texas, and was about a town 60 miles from where I was born, so I mean, I knew the venue down there.
KING: Did you think it would go, think it would be big?
HAGMAN: Oh, no. Who would ever think it would go like that. I didn't think would go at all, to tell you the truth. It was six- parter, and that was it.
KING: How did you get it?
GRAY: Well, actually, it was cast. Mary Friend (ph) -- dear, sweet departed friend -- had the role, but I had done a series in 1977 with Norman Lear. And the casting director, Ruth Conforte (ph), said, they're casting the small part on "Dallas," and I think you'd be great as one of the roles. She said they're looking for just a visual of someone who could have been an ex-Miss Texas. So she called him, and they said we already cast Mary Friend, we think, but we'll see anyway if you like her. So I came in, there was no role. They had to create a role for me to read. And I read a phone call on the other end, J.R. Ewing was on the other end, and he was supposed to be like late for dinner, again. You know where he was. But anyway, so I had this interview, and I knew in the room that I had the role, I just knew it intuitively, and I sat there tears streaming and I knew that I had the role of Sue Ellen Ewing.
KING: Did you think it would go very well?
GRAY: No. No. I thought this is the most dysfunctional group of people I have ever you know, encountered, and how could people possibly be enthralled by us.
KING: Why did it work, Larry?
HAGMAN: I think, because here we are, all living in one house, three multimillionaires living in one house with one bedroom each one bathroom each, not even two bathrooms, which is the basis of a good marriage, and it just came into that kind of European home family, you know, where the grandmother and grandfather, everybody lives in same house, and I think that's why it's so big abroad, too.
KING: Was big abroad. It's still big abroad?
HAGMAN: Still is, yes.
KING: Is still playing somewhere everywhere?
HAGMAN: I'm a killer in Romania.
KING: They love it.
HAGMAN: They do. Boy oh boy, yes.
GRAY: They Love it there.
KING: The chemistry between you two was supposed to be what? Loving or not loving?
HAGMAN: Loving, but love-hate kind of stuff. She hated me, and I loved her.
GRAY: Oh, stop.
KING: No, what was the chemistry supposed to be?
HAGMAN: Nobody knew. Nobody knew. All she ever said was you want coffee, or milk or tea, that's she ever had, really, literally, so we got behind the scenes, there'd be a major scene going on, and we'd started to bicker with each other. I, you know, I woke up this morning and there was no button on my overcoat. What the hell are you going to do? And she would go back and forth. And they would then push in to us in background, just to cover us and make us feel good, I guess, and we had this whole scene rewritten, and finally, that started to catch on, and they said, well, let's bring those parts up.
KING: So you started as a minor character?
GRAY: I was never to be a major character at all.
HAGMAN: Oh, yes. And I was "coffee, tea or milk" guy, too, just. I was just...
KING: Who were the major characters?
GRAY: Victoria and Bobby. Patrick and...
HAGMAN: The Montagues and the Capulets. It was, you know, really...
KING: They were the stars, you were the...
GRAY: I never was in the front of the show. In front of the show, they had pictures of all the stars. For two years, I was always in the back. I was never to be a character.
KING: How long was that show on?
HAGMAN: Thirteen years.
GRAY: Thirteen years.
KING: Here's a scene from never ending "Dallas." Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DALLAS")
GRAY: You expected no be embarrassed in front of your family tonight at dinner. Well, I wasn't, was I? I was a perfect lady -- charming, witty and sober.
HAGMAN: I swear you're heading at 90 miles an hour toward a nervous breakdown. Going to have do something about those ravings of yours.
GRAY: No, J.R., I'm not raving, I am not drunk. I am just fine. And you're not going to put me back into that sanitarium.
HAGMAN: Who is going to stop me?
GRAY: Bobby is going to stop you. He's not going to let you put me away.
HAGMAN: I hope you can count on that. You know, I will get what I want.
GRAY: Tell me, J.R., which slut are you going to stay with tonight?
HAGMAN: What difference does it make? Whoever it is, it's got to be more interesting than the slut I'm looking at right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: When the show started and you were kind of background characters, did it start to do well immediately? Was "Dallas" an immediate hit?
HAGMAN: No, no. It went from, like, 69 to, you know, 37 and then up into the 20s.
KING: Was there a chance you'd be canceled early?
HAGMAN: We didn't know -- after first six shows, we didn't know what was going to happen, and then they picked it up for another six, didn't they? GRAY: Six.
HAGMAN: And then finally another 13. You know, it was like, you know...
GRAY: We were on Saturday nights, Sunday night, and then when we found the Friday night slot, that was our home.
KING: You became the Friday night niche, right?
HAGMAN: Yes. Well, you know, you've got to realize that there was kind of a recession going on during that period of time and people couldn't afford to go out, and so I figure that's what sold a lot of tickets for that show. You know, they couldn't go out to movie and get a babysitter and stuff like that. They had to stay in and watch something. So we were on.
KING: And what led to your parts growing? What do you think?
GRAY: I think the chemistry, I do.
KING: The bad chemistry or the good chemistry.
GRAY: It was pure -- that great chemistry.
KING: That scene we just saw did not look like two people in love. That was two people in hate.
HAGMAN: Well, they didn't show us in bed in that scene.
GRAY: But I think that's what sort of cemented the public. The public loved to see that. Because usually it was on daytime soap opera, but this was evening, and this was -- we were kind of the Bickersons.
KING: Yes. Why did the public like -- I guess, "like" is the right word -- J.R.?
HAGMAN: I have no idea.
KING: They liked him. They kind of perversely liked him.
HAGMAN: Yes. the ladies would like to get him to change him, I think. You know how they always like to do that.
GRAY: Oh stop.
HAGMAN: Yes, they do. And then when they get him, they don't want him changed, you know. And then the men wanted all the stuff that he got -- you know, the ladies, and the money and the accouterment.
KING: What was he like to play?
KING: What was he like to play?
HAGMAN: Oh, he was wonderful.
HAGMAN: Because he just -- he got everything. You know, he got all stuff that men -- all the toys, you know, the good-looking women, and the cars and town houses, all that stuff, and then he got the wheel and deal. I call it "mogling." He was "mogling" all the time.
KING: Did you know guys like him?
HAGMAN: Yes, I did, very well. I patented this on a couple of guys I knew in Weatherford, Texas that I used to work for, my father used to work for. They were oil men, and they had four sons. And the old man was the patriarch. And when he died, they all clashed and tried to get -- I don't want to step on anybody's toes at home, but I really bottled it after some friends of mine.
KING: And, Sue Ellen, why did we like her?
GRAY: I think a lot of women could relate to Sue Ellen.
KING: You took a lot of crap.
GRAY: Took a lot of crap, yes I did.
HAGMAN: But she gave it to, you know.
GRAY: I'm talking. She was the most -- see, that's what happens. I think she was still the most interesting female on television in the '80s. She just...
GRAY: She was -- a lot of women...
HAGMAN: I didn't say a word.
GRAY: Think this is how -- this is the magic that happened.
KING: I get it.
GRAY: You know, you see what happens. I don't know if that's magical. Anyway, she was a survivor, and I think a lot of people in the '80s were going through their own problems, whatever they were, addictions of one kind or another, and they really wanted to find a way to solve the problems and get out to the other side. So I got these great cheerleader letters, proposals of marriage certainly, definite proposals to leave this guy. Therapists would call, they would write letters, saying if you did this, if you did that.
KING: Why did they stay together?
GRAY: I think they loved each other.
HAGMAN: They had to. They each had an essence they needed from each other, you know.
GRAY: Dysfunctional, yes.
HAGMAN: I needed to bully her, and she needed to be bullied.
KING: We'll talk about the incredible drama, that insanity summer of who have shot J.R.? Bobby is dying and living and how we all lived with this show. The show was "Dallas." The stars are Larry Hagman and Linda Gray. And Larry now stars in a play directed by Linda, "Murder in the First," based on the film. It's now here in Ventura. Hopefully, we're going to be seeing it elsewhere around the country, hopefully in New York. We'll also talk about their other work and Larry's liver transplant as well.
And we will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DALLAS")
GRAY: You drove Carey away, and now Bobby. You tried to bribe Charlene. You cheated your friends. You've done everything in your power to get what you wanted. Well, you did it. Congratulations, J.R., you are now the Ewings only son.
HAGMAN: Mama, I didn't want Bobby to leave, you know that.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: All I know is, J.R., he's gone.
HAGMAN: You had your last stay in this house, Sue Ellen. You think you can get away talking about me in front of my momma and daddy like that? You've caused me enough humiliation. You're a drunk and unfit mother, and I honestly think you've lost your reason. I'm going to call Dr. Rogers. The sooner we have you put away in that sanitarium, the better off your going to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DALLAS")
HAGMAN: Who's there?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The concluding episode, the "who shot J.R.?" episode, was watched by every person on the planet. What -- help those who may have missed. What was the buildup to this?
HAGMAN: I don't know. What was it? I slept with her sister.
HAGMAN: Yes, and she was knocked up, but not by me. It was by somebody else. But we didn't know that until about 18 shows later.
KING: Who did shoot J.R., you know? I forgot?
GRAY: Mary Crosby, my sister Crystal.
HAGMAN: Mary Crosby, Bing Crosby's little girl, and she shot me. Well, we had one scene, where we shot -- kind of a take-up. We had everybody shoot me, because we didn't really want press to know. So we had about every character, including the cameraman, come in and shoot me, right? And so I put all those scenes together, they're coming in and shooting me, and then I had the propman make a vest, and he pumped water through it, and I said -- and I took a slug of gin and I went like this, and said "missed." And water came out all over the place. It was...
GRAY: It was a sitcom.
KING: That was at the height of "Dallas'" fame, was it not?
HAGMAN: No, no, that was the second year.
GRAY: It did. That took us over way over the top. That was the...
HAGMAN: It took us -- yes. That was the second or third year?
GRAY: The second. Eighty-one?
KING: Was "Dallas" hard work?
HAGMAN: No. It was so much fun.
KING: It really was?
GRAY: We loved to go to work every day.
KING: You shot here, right?
KING: You'd go to Dallas -- you'd go to Texas for exteriors.
GRAY: Two months in a year.
HAGMAN: We shoot half of six here, and finish them down there, and then shoot another half of six.
KING: Did you have a favorite show?
HAGMAN: A favorite show?
GRAY: A favorite show.
KING: Yes. Did you have any?
HAGMAN: I liked the one where I put her in an insane asylum. I kind of liked that.
GRAY: He always likes that stupid show. I hated that one.
KING: How about when you filmed at South Fork? Wasn't it hot and windy and...
GRAY: Well, I've got, like, funny stories. Barbara Bel Geddes and I were doing a film in the driveway. It was blacktop, and it was 120-something degrees, and the director said action, we just stood there, and he thought we didn't hear him. He said action again. Nothing happened. Our high heels had gone into the blacktop. It was so hot. It melted the blacktop. We were just sitting there -- standing there, going we can't move, we can't move. It was hysterical. The things -- you know, the wind, and the hair and the lip gloss. I thought why are they sitting outside in this tornado weather?
KING: Did people take it realistically? Did people call you J.R. in the street?
HAGMAN: Oh yes. And Sue Ellen for her, oh absolutely.
KING: Now when we were watching you, you mentioned that if this were done today, it were done with faster clips. You think the action would be much faster.
HAGMAN: Yes, none of those long pregnant pauses and looks and so forth, they'd just -- let's go. They'd right three scripts and put it into one.
KING: Was it tough for both of you to get another career because of this? In other words, do you think there would have been movie roles you might have gotten or didn't get because you were so Sue Ellen?
HAGMAN: I think so.
GRAY: Yes, because you're very recognizable as that particular character, and that's the good news, bad news, because Sue Ellen and J.R. will stay with us forever, and that's the good news. That's lovely, that you know you've entertained people around world for all those years. That's a nice thing to have.
KING: On this show, Mary Tyler Moore admitted that she had a real thing for Dick Van Dyke. And had there not been a marriage involved, something might have happened. The same question is now asked of the two of you.
HAGMAN: I know she had a thing for me, but -- I guess so.
KING: I mean then, did you have a...
HAGMAN: Well, we had a chemistry.
GRAY: There was a chemistry different. It was different than, you know, a lust thing. There was always...
KING: I mean, nothing happened offstage with Mary and Dick.
HAGMAN: Nor with us.
GRAY: Nor with us, no.
HAGMAN: But we did have -- I mean, look, we rehearsed with each other. I mean, we were together. I mean, that was a real family, Patrick, and Victoria, and Linda and I and Charlene, and well, it was just we were together all the time, and we enjoyed each others' company. That was the...
GRAY: And there was great respect. There was this -- there was the chemistry, and we really worked very well off camera and on.
KING: Did a lot of guest actors go on to do pretty well after a period of one or two "Dallas?"
HAGMAN: Oh, sure. Brian Dennehy's doing very well.
KING: Not bad.
GRAY: He was in "The Grave."
HAGMAN: He was one of the first ones.
GRAY: Yes, he was had a gun to my head in 1978, and I sang "People," so that was my least...
HAGMAN: You want to sing that again?
GRAY: No, no, no, I don't.
KING: Maybe they will.
Let's take a break and come back. We'll be including a lot of your phone calls. They're with us for full hour, Larry Hagman and Linda Gray. Don't go away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What? Do we sing "Happy Birthday."
UNIDENTIFIED MALES AND FEMALES (singing): Happy birthday to us. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to dear "Dallas," happy birthday to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Three-hundred episodes. They did 356 in all, did 154 Genies. You got all the tapes, too, right?
GRAY: Yes, sir.
KING: When did you know you had liver trouble?
HAGMAN: About eight years ago, yes, eight years.
KING: What was first sign?
HAGMAN: Well, I was working out in a gym, and my trainer said, you know, you don't have the energy you used to have, and you better go see a doctor. So I went see a doctor, and he called up a couple days later, and said, you have a life-threatening situation here, your liver...
KING: Just like that?
HAGMAN: Just like that. He said, Larry, if you have another drink, it could kill you. I had a drink in my hand at the time.
KING: Were you a drinker?
HAGMAN: Oh yes, yes.
HAGMAN: What else? I mean, is there another kind of drinker?
KING: Betty Ford kind of...
HAGMAN: Oh yes -- well no, I just drank all the time. I'd wake up -- I'd go through about five bottles of champagne a day and just kind of drift. I never got loaded. I just kind of softly loaded all day long, and...
KING: So you're drinking during "Dallas?"
HAGMAN: Oh yes, sure.
KING: Did you know that?
HAGMAN: Sure. She kept saying, what are you doing to yourself? I said, listen, I work all right. It's working, isn't it? Well, it was working, but it wasn't doing liver any good. So I threw that drink away, and I never picked up another one. That was eight years ago. And three years after that, I had my liver transplant.
KING: I remember that. You got it around same time Mantle's, right?
HAGMAN: Yes. I had it about three or four months after that, after his. KING: What's it like to have to get a transplant?
HAGMAN: Oh, well, I don't know. They give you a huge enema, and then you don't realize it. You know, you're out of it. You're just gone.
KING: It's got to feel funny, someone else's liver is in you, right? Does it feel funny?
HAGMAN: Oh no, course not. You don't know any difference. I don't feel any difference, except I've got to speak a little Spanish -- it's Puerto Rican.
KING: And now you're like for spokesman for the National Kidney Foundation?
HAGMAN: Yes, and we're having our transplant game starting tomorrow.
KING: What is that? Everybody in it had transplants?
HAGMAN: Yes, all the competing people, and then the donor families come, the people -- the families of the people who have given the...
KING: So you know family of the person who gave you your liver?
HAGMAN: I do know of them, yes, because the "National Inquirer" was following the frequency of my helicopter that brought me in, and went out and discovered who it was, interviewed them, you know, did a big thing, which they are not supposed to do.
KING: Really? And they did something they weren't supposed to do?
KING: What a shock.
HAGMAN: I know.
KING: We'll take a break, come back, ask Linda about her work with the U.N. and take your phone calls.
This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DALLAS")
GRAY: I have watched you cheat your brothers and cheat your friends, and I have heard about the tramps you've slept with, and I've stayed sober through it all. Imagine what I can do without you.
Goodbye my loving husband, and good riddance.
HAGMAN: Burn it, Sue Ellen.
GRAY: Not on your life.
HAGMAN: Are you planning to put that trash in movie houses all over this country?
GRAY: That's normally what's done with a picture.
HAGMAN: Well, I'll have a team of lawyers all over you. You won't be able to take that garbage off this lot, much less show it. I'll have you in court for years.
GRAY: Can my publicity department quote you on that? It's exactly what we need to prove to the world that the movie really is about you.
HAGMAN: You're making a serious mistake, Sue Ellen.
GRAY: No, I'm not. I learned how to be devious at the feet of the master.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Larry Hagman and Linda Gray. Larry stars in, Linda directs "Murder in the First," a play now in Ventura. It could be coming to a theater near you, hopefully to New York. Got great reviews out here. And we're reliving "Dallas."
You should see them when we show these scenes, because you crack up. Some you forget, then you remember.
HAGMAN: Yes, yes.
KING: And it's got to be hysterical to watch this.
GRAY: It's so funny.
HAGMAN: It is. It really is.
KING: How did you get involved with the U.N.?
GRAY: I read a script, a wonderful woman wrote a script about the issue, women's issues, women and children issues around the world. And I read this script, and I really didn't know as a woman all of the things that were going on globally. So I said: "What can I do to help? I would love to get this message out. I'd love to help the women in these countries. What can I do to help?"
So she said, well, the U.N. is involved in this, I'll call them and see if there's anything you can do. So I thought maybe I could make coffee, I didn't know what I was going to be doing.
So they came out and had a lovely luncheon with me. And at the end of the luncheon, they said, we would like you to be our good will ambassador.
And I thought.
KING: Audrey had passed on.
GRAY: Yes. Audrey was with UNICEF. And I'm with a wonderful area called Face-to-Face. My first visit was to Nicaragua, and I went to visit the little villages, and you know, sat with the women and their children. And they...
KING: So now you leave for Geneva, right?
GRAY: I leave for Geneva Saturday, yes.
HAGMAN: There's a big difference.
GRAY: Yes, a big difference. Yes, where I'll meet other ambassadors.
KING: Are you enjoying this?
GRAY: I love it. It's -- you know, the heart expands when you do things like that.
KING: Do you feel funny having a different -- you feel exactly the same with a new liver?
HAGMAN: I feel a lot better. This is a healthy liver.
KING: I know. But you -- when you were feeling bad, how bad was it?
HAGMAN: Ah, you're debilitated. You just have no energy. You wake up exhausted.
KING: Yellow, jaundiced, too?
HAGMAN: Oh yes, all of that.
KING: Vancouver, British Columbia, as we go to calls for the Ewings. Hello.
CALLER: Larry, Larry and Linda, you guys look great, .
GRAY: Thank you.
KING: Thank you.
HAGMAN: Thank you.
CALLER: I'm just wondering if you keep up with the other cast members and what some of them are up to now. HAGMAN: Patrick is in London doing "Art."
KING: Oh, that's a great play.
GRAY: Play. He'll be wonderful.
HAGMAN: He and John Boyer are over there together in London, and he and I go hunting and fishing together quite often. And Steve Kanaly's a good friend of mine. We go hunting and fishing together.
KING: Who do you keep in touch with?
GRAY: I run into Charlene Tilton. Well, I really stay in touch with Larry and Maj, his wonderful wife. We call each other wife.
But I see Charlene and Ken Kercheval and Larry mostly.
KING: And who's passed on?
HAGMAN: Jim Davis, of course.
GRAY: Jim Davis.
And Howard Keel. I love Howard Keel.
HAGMAN: He's not passed on.
GRAY: No, I love -- no, I see Howard Keel. Howard Keel lives in the desert.
KING: He doesn't sing anymore, does he?
HAGMAN: Yes, he does.
GRAY: Yes, he does. He's amazing.
HAGMAN: Sells out in London and all over England.
GRAY: He's fabulous.
HAGMAN: He goes over there in the summer for a couple of months.
KING: What a voice? I never hear him sing in America.
HAGMAN: And still got it. And still got it. He was in "The Follies" down in...
GRAY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Palm Desert.
HAGMAN: ... in Palm Desert.
KING: I saw him do a road company with "La Mancha." He was fantastic.
GRAY: Oh, he's incredible.
KING: Dallas, hello.
CALLER: Yes. I am the No. 1 tour guide at South Fork Ranch.
CALLER: And I had the opportunity to meet Larry and Linda when they filmed in '97 for "Dallas: War of the Ewings." And the No. 1 question that I'm asked every day of my life on my job is, when is the next reunion show and are they ever coming to South Fork?
KING: Hold on, ma'am. South Fork is a tourist attraction?
CALLER: Oh, yes, it is, Larry. Honey, you've got to come see us. It's great.
KING: And you take people on tours every day?
CALLER: Every day I get paid to talk about the Ewings. It's the best job.
GRAY: That's sweet. You sound adorable.
KING: What a great thing that you called in. OK. Is there going to be a four? Let her give the answer tomorrow.
GRAY: This is it. I think you're seeing it.
HAGMAN: Yes, I think this is the reunion. Yes, the bloom is off the rose for reunions I think.
KING: They're not going to do one, ma'am.
GRAY: We're doing it right now.
KING: This is it. You've just seen the reunion. You did three, right?
KING: Two. In fact, we're going to, in a moment, see a clip from one.
Evansville, Tennessee, hello.
CALLER: Evansville, Indiana, Larry.
KING: Indiana. I'm sorry.
CALLER: Good evening, everybody. Hi, Larry and Linda. It's great to see you.
CALLER: You all have done so much for TV and you should feel proud about that. My question to you is this: Could there ever be another type of "Dallas" show again?
KING: Think so?
GRAY: Oh sure, I think it's all about relationships.
KING: It'd have to be shot differently.
HAGMAN: Oh yes, yes.
GRAY: You know, I think people just -- it's like the films in the '40s, you know, it was all about relationships, and that can continue forever.
KING: But now it's about quiz shows and real-life people on islands. Is it all cyclical?
GRAY: I think so.
HAGMAN: Yes, I think so. Everything that goes around comes around.
KING: If you were doing "Dallas" now, you'd have to do what, though? Quicker cuts?
HAGMAN: Quicker cuts.
GRAY: Quicker cuts.
KING: More MTV-ish?
HAGMAN: Yes, I think so. Faster.
HAGMAN: People are more hip now.
KING: But stories about relationships will always be around, right?
GRAY: Oh, of course.
KING: OK. As we go to break, speaking of reunions and the tour -- isn't that funny? The tour guide calls in. I didn't know South Fork...
HAGMAN: Oh yes, big. I think it's the second-largest...
KING: What do you show them, the ranch and the rooms you...
HAGMAN: Oh yes. KING: ... had the fights in.
HAGMAN: And then they have the rodeos there, baseball games, all kinds of stuff.
KING: Here's a scene from the reunion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DALLAS: J.R. RETURNS")
HAGMAN: I'd really like it if we could forget all the bad things that happened between us, make this a really pleasant visit for you and John Ross.
GRAY: I'd like that, too. I hope it can happen.
HAGMAN: You think you might stay on for a while? Give me a chance to get to know my son again.
GRAY: Maybe you ought to take your bath. We're not leaving immediately.
HAGMAN: You look wonderful, Sue Ellen. I've never seen you look so good.
I guess this marriage is agreeing with you.
GRAY: Thank you. How nice you care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: By the way, we should point out, you're a big advocate of transplants, right, and people signing up, donor rolls?
HAGMAN: Hey, we...
KING: All you've got to do is do your license, right? Driver's license.
HAGMAN: Yes, but you've got to tell your loved-ones about this, because they won't -- they won't do your transfer -- transplant unless they have the permission of the loved-ones, the father, the mother, the...
KING: Even if you checked off?
HAGMAN: Even if you checked it off. So you've got to make it plain to your loved-ones what you want.
KING: Do you know if there's a lot of waiting lists?
HAGMAN: Yes, there's like 50,000, 60,000 people waiting. Like 10 people die every day.
KING: Do we know how many people could give and don't? In other words, do we know...
HAGMAN: About 280 million people could give if they wanted to.
KING: Could give.
KING: Do we know how many are on the list to give?
HAGMAN: No, I don't know offhand, but it's -- it's not as many as people are needed, that's for sure.
KING: Sebring, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Linda and Larry.
KING: Hello, go ahead.
GRAY: Hello. Hello.
CALLER: My question is, how are you folks doing? You look so good, you must be doing something right, because you're a still handsome-looking couple.
GRAY: Thank you. That's very sweet.
KING: What's -- what's the secrets here? You've got a new liver, you don't drink.
HAGMAN: No. Gosh, I don't drink anymore, that's for sure
KING: Don't smoke, of course. You're the biggest anti...
HAGMAN: No, but I've got diabetes, too, because of the medications I take -- gives me diabetes. So to beat that, I watch my carbohydrates, very low carbohydrate diet. And also exercise an hour every day. And I've lost 50 pounds, and I feel really, really good.
GRAY: You look wonderful.
HAGMAN: Well, thank you.
GRAY: Yes, you do.
KING: Yes, you do...
GRAY: You really look great.
KING: And you, Linda, what do you do to keep so -- I mean, you don't want to give your age. But...
GRAY: Thank you.
KING: I mean, you look 00 I know your age and you look unbelievable.
GRAY: Thank you very much.
KING: See, to me, if I were you, I would give my age just to impress people.
GRAY: You would?
KING: You're unbelievable.
HAGMAN: Say, you're 97 and looking great.
GRAY: Great moisturizer. Thank you.
KING: Do you take good care of yourself?
GRAY: I do, I do. I think -- I think it comes from within as well. I think when you're really happy and love yourself, love the way...
KING: Are you married now?
GRAY: No, no. But I have a great -- I have my grandson, my...
KING: You're a grandparent?
GRAY: I have wonderful man in my life. I'm grandparent, yes. My grandson, Ryder (ph), is 8 years old. I took him to the White House, and he and I hung out, had a great time. So I want to be that kind of a grandmother.
KING: And you've been married for how many years?
HAGMAN: About 46.
KING: What's the secret?
HAGMAN: Two bathrooms. I'm not kidding you.
(LAUGHTER) KING: No, you're not kidding.
HAGMAN: Oh, that's what my wife says. Two bathrooms, that makes a good marriage. Less tension.
KING: Yes, bathrooms cause tension. That's a very good point.
HAGMAN: Yes. Well, there's always tension when you're -- when you're vying for the seat for the throne. Yes, of course, there is.
KING: Did your wife enjoy the character you played?
HAGMAN: Oh sure.
KING: She enjoyed the money that...
HAGMAN: Well, yes, of course. That's secondary. But I mean, you can't be happy in a part that's no good. No, she loved the part.
KING: Before "Dallas" you were just an actress knocking on doors, auditioning, taking what you could?
GRAY: Yes. Well, I started out as a model and went into commercials, got married.
KING: Were you a successful model?
GRAY: Yes, yes, I was. Then I did about 400 commercials.
KING: Oh, you did?
GRAY: And got married and had children.
KING: Did you do any we know about? Did you do any famous commercials?
GRAY: I think so. I think there were lots, a lot of them. I did Salem. That's when we -- we talked earlier about smoking.
KING: You were the Salem girl?
GRAY: I did Salem. Yes. Yes, when cigarette commercials were on the air.
KING: And how did you get "I Dream of Jeannie"?
HAGMAN: I came out, auditioned for it, and did a screen test. And they said, OK. I was ready for it, though.
KING: Did you think that could work? A genie?
HAGMAN: I always thought that show would go. I always...
HAGMAN: But I was very naive about it. You know, I came out from New York. I had been on a stage, and I had been doing daytime soap opera for three years, too, so I kind of...
KING: What show?
HAGMAN: "The Edge of Night."
KING: "The Edge of Night."
HAGMAN: Yes, yes, you probably saw it.
KING: My mother's favorite...
KING: My mother's favorite soap.
HAGMAN: Well, I played...
KING: "The Edge of Night."
HAGMAN: ... a lieutenant in the police force studying to be a lawyer for some reason at night, and it was -- it was wonderful.
So I came out here when everything was leaving New York. All the live shows, "The Alcoa Hour" and "The Aluminum Hour," and you know, all that. So I came out here to try it and got "Jeannie."
KING: You did the movie "Fail-Safe." You were great, the scene with Henry Fonda.
HAGMAN: Oh, thanks.
KING: They did it live on television recently.
HAGMAN: Yes, so I understand.
KING: Wanted you to come back. You didn't want to come back.
HAGMAN: Well, I'd already done it, you know. I mean, I don't like to go home.
KING: Was it fun to do scenes with Fonda?
HAGMAN: Oh, he was wonderful. He taught me a lot. Not to smoke for one thing. I started out smoking, and after the first day, I had to smoke like two packs of cigarettes, because they cut the scene and you'd have to go back and smoke it again. And it was terrible, so I never did that.
And he would sit like I'm doing now and put his hands like that so he didn't have to match, you know, for cutting purposes. So I always sit like this now, even when I'm here.
KING: Henry taught you that?
KING: How did you stop smoking?
HAGMAN: Well, I tried everything, you know, but I just finally one day stopped. And it was -- it was hell. It was the hardest thing I ever -- drinking wasn't any problem, but smoking was really tough. It's probably the worst drug there is, and it kills more people than any other drug, too.
KING: Did you smoke, too, Linda?
GRAY: Yes, I did.
KING: And you stopped one day, too.
GRAY: I stopped when I was 20, I think. I smoked for two years, because I was doing cigarette commercials and I felt like I had instant lung cancer. So I said that's it, finished.
KING: As we go to break, a scene from "I Dream of Jeannie." Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "I DREAM OF JEANNIE")
HAGMAN: Girls, why don't you negotiate? I mean, after all, you're sisters.
BARBARA EDEN, ACTRESS: What you need is to improve your mind with a few good books.
HAGMAN: Wait a minute.
All right, ladies. Now, stop it, I mean it.
Jeannie, doesn't she have a master of her own?
EDEN: Oh, Master, you are brilliant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: To Fountain Valley, California for the Ewings, hello.
CALLER: Hello. Hello. Hello, Linda and Larry.
CALLER: I just want to tell you I was your biggest fan for 13 years, their No. 1 fan. I think I saw every episode. I just was reviewing a clip from the '89 season, which I know was Linda's last season. I recently watched the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) reruns. I was so disappointed, when you actually left the show in 1989. Why did you leave in '89?
KING: You left...
GRAY: Very simply.
KING: You had two more years to go or...
GRAY: It continued for two years. My contract was up.
GRAY: And we felt that Sue Ellen had realty come into her own. She was a survivor. She had stopped drinking. She was happily married. She went off to London with Ian McShane, not a bad way to leave. And all was well. So...
KING: So they wrote her out by having her just dump J.R. and...
GRAY: Just dump him, as she should have years ago.
HAGMAN: I hated it. I got down on my hands and knees, and begged her not to go.
GRAY: Oh, he did not.
HAGMAN: I did.
GRAY: He did.
KING: You could have stayed, right?
GRAY: No, I...
HAGMAN: Sure, she could have stayed.
GRAY: Oh, I couldn't.
HAGMAN: If I had said she could have stayed she could have stayed.
KING: He was the boss.
HAGMAN: Of course.
GRAY: He thought.
HAGMAN: I was. What are you, kidding?
KING: How did they...
GRAY: He was.
KING: What -- did they have you -- did you remarry? Did J.R. remarry?
HAGMAN: Yes, yes. Pretty little girl, too.
HAGMAN: Yes, right.
GRAY: You were going to say.
HAGMAN: Yes, I was going to say but I'm not going say. Ah, no, gorgeous girl.
KING: Do you think it was a mistake leaving or not?
HAGMAN: And she was about 12 years old.
GRAY: No, I left at the right time. It was a perfect time, because they would have just rehashed it.
HAGMAN: Yes, because the ratings were going down, but it didn't seem right, though.
KING: What happens to a show when it starts to go down? Does it affect morale?
HAGMAN: Not ours. I mean, we -- we knew it was going to end sometime. We were just dragging it out as long as we could, you know. And people were losing ideas, but I think the energy was always there.
GRAY: But I think when the family starts dissipating -- Victoria left, Patrick disappeared for a year and then he came back in the shower.
HAGMAN: Steve left.
GRAY: And then I left, and so I think when the family, the core family starts dissolving...
HAGMAN: And momma left.
GRAY: ... then it...
KING: The hokiest was what? Patrick killed and he didn't -- a dream.
HAGMAN: Well, yes. Yes. Well, that...
KING: That was hokey.
HAGMAN: What was happening to "Dallas" in that year, as one of our producers, the one guy who was responsible for the success of the show, Leonard Katzman -- he had left, and Patrick had left, and it was becoming kind of a "Dynasty." Glitzy -- too glitzy. Getting away from Texas, you know. And I just couldn't stand it. And I said, Larry, you got to make it -- you've got to get our producer back, and they did finally. KING: Did you ever do feature films?
GRAY: Yes. I have done a few.
KING: But television was your game.
GRAY: It was. It just seemed to be that that's where I...
KING: Would you come back?
GRAY: Sure I'd come back. Of course I would. You know in a different -- I don't know. It'd have to be different, and something more, you know, very exciting.
KING: Speaking of feature films, here's Larry Hagman with John Travolta in "Primary Colors."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "PRIMARY COLORS")
HAGMAN: I should never have said yes to Mrs. Harris, but I liked what Harris was doing. And I thought I'd give it a week, and then it -- it just took off. Once I did that blood thing, God.
JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: Yes. That was great politics.
HAGMAN: Yes. Amazing. But, Jack, I'd like to thank you for coming here, the honorable way you have. I was wrong to stay in. I just hope that when I quit maybe they won't hit it as hard. My boys -- I really don't want them to know about Rancho. But probably the bottom line is I'm going to be a national joke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You directed an episode of "Dallas" -- a few episodes of "Dallas."
GRAY: Yes. I did.
KING: What's it like to direct a play -- different?
GRAY: Much different.
KING: No camera angles.
GRAY: No camera angles. No take two's. You make a mistake, you keep going. And it was the most challenging thing -- one of -- that I've ever done. And I absolutely adored it. I had this wonderful, wonderful cast.
And the first line of the script, it says that the curtains open and there are five sets on stage. So I thought, well now, do I either close the script right now hand it back to Dan Gordon and say thank you? So I thought well, OK, this is huge challenge. The stage is about this big. And there's no curtain. So I thought, well right away in the first two sentences I'm in trouble.
So we started with this great cast, started moving everybody except him. He just sits and stays. And we -- I rather treated it like a film. Move -- Joseph Fuqua is amazing in the Christian Slater role. And we just sort of moved Joseph around from set to set, brought up the lights, moved him to the cell where Ted Neeley is. And sort of moved him all around. And it was kind of like he was the pied piper and we followed him with lights. It was amazing.
KING: What is she like as director?
HAGMAN: She directs everybody else. She just leaves me alone. I sit up there and just say a few words.
KING: I don't understand that. You obviously have a lot of lines.
HAGMAN: No. I don't. No. No. Things like "sustained" and "overruled" and things like...
GRAY: And he would get them wrong. You know, he'd say "overruled" when he was supposed to say "sustained."
HAGMAN: Well, only twice in five performances.
GRAY: Well, that's not bad.
HAGMAN: No. I don't really do that much in the show. I'm just there for kind of decoration. And it's fun. I do have laughs.
GRAY: No. He does a beautiful job.
HAGMAN: I have some laughs and it's kind of a fun part. But I don't really do that much.
KING: When you're acting as a judge, and you're sitting and let's say there's dialogue between two other people and you've got five minutes without anything to say, all right. Are you concentrating on the play or are you thinking about...
HAGMAN: Well, you know, I haven't been in it that long. I've only done like six performances. So, yes, I listen each night because everybody is still discovering things. So, you know, you don't drift off. I'm sure if I did a year or so I would be -- you'd have to wake me up.
KING: Do you like acting better than modeling?
GRAY: Yes, absolutely.
KING: Better than commercials? That was the best?
GRAY: Yes. Acting is, for me, the best. And now I'm loving directing. I mean, I'm just -- I love it all right now. I'm having the most -- this is the most incredible time of my life. And...
GRAY: Really. It's just fabulous. I've never felt better. My life is just in this divine phase that I love.
KING: And why do you like acting?
HAGMAN: I don't know anything else. I'm not -- I can't do anything else, I don't think. I'm not trained for anything except acting.
KING: When you were a kid in Texas it's what you wanted to do?
HAGMAN: Well, no. I wanted to be a cowboy when I started, but then I found out a cowboy was digging ditches, and, you know -- and bailing hay and stuff like that. So I called my mother and I said I think I've had enough of this. I think I want to become an actor because I knew they didn't work for a living. They had fun, and I have.
KING: It has been a good ride?
HAGMAN: Oh, boy, the best. I mean, really, it's been so much fun.
KING: And both of you always are looking to keep it up, right?
KING: I mean, take the right roles. The roles come, you want to act.
GRAY: See, I drag him into things. I dragged him into "Love Letters." He didn't want to do that.
KING: You two did "Love Letters" together.
GRAY: And We took to it Europe.
HAGMAN: Beverly Hills.
GRAY: We had the best time.
KING: It was fun?
GRAY: So much fun.
KING: That's a good play.
GRAY: Isn't that great. Have you ever done it?
KING: Well, no.
GRAY: You should do it.
KING: Should have done it.
HAGMAN: Why don't you go with her (ph).
HAGMAN: That'd be great.
GRAY: Yes. Come on. We can do it.
KING: The wife wouldn't mind.
GRAY: No, she has no -- no.
KING: Shawnie wouldn't mind.
HAGMAN: She is the best part of the show.
GRAY: She wouldn't -- no.
HAGMAN: I mean, she's a real slut, you know.
GRAY: Excuse me?
HAGMAN: I mean, an old drunk slut.
KING: Here we go. Fighting again.
GRAY: Here we go. It's his fault. He started it.
KING: You started it.
HAGMAN: No. What?
GARY: See, he said so.
GARY: It's a pleasure. HAGMAN: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Larry Hagman and Linda Gray. We hope you enjoyed this hour as much as we did.
Stay tuned for "CNN NEWSSTAND" and that incredible story of the murder in Greenwich. Should he be tried as a youth or an adult? It happened many years ago. The murder in Greenwich is the topic and Greta Van Susteren will be there live on "CNN NEWSSTAND" taking your calls tonight.
We'll be back in tomorrow night. For Larry Hagman and Linda Gray, for the J.R. Ewings, thanks for joining us and good night.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.