With the mystery surrounding “Who shot J.R.?” long solved, one really only has one question to ask the legendary Larry Hagman on the eve of his return to DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES tonight: With over fifty years in the business and a resume of memorable roles a mile long, what on earth keeps the 79-year old actor working when he could just as easily retire to his to his ranch in Ojai California?
“The old adage… retire and die,” explained Hagman.
Which also explains why, before returning to his most infamous and iconic role of J.R. Ewing in the already-anticipated TNT reboot of DALLAS (set to start shooting this May), Hagman will detour to Wisteria Lane one more time in an effort to add a little more drama to poor Lynette’s life as he reprises his role as her abrasive new father-in-law Frank.
“I hadn’t watched DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES before, but when I got the offer my granddaughters — all five of them — said you got be on that show, it’s wonderful and that’s what really persuaded me to do it.” said Hagman. “Frank is just one of those characters you learn to hate. I feel like Bill Maher sometimes when it comes to some of the lines that come out of his mouth.”
Suffice to say, political incorrectness is indeed the name of the game when it comes to a character Lynette described as “abrasive, obnoxious, borderline racist” A far cry from Hagman’s prime-time television heyday.
“In those days, there were a lot of things you weren’t allowed to do,” recalled Hagman. “Take I DREAMED OF JEANNIE for example, we had a lady who was in charge of standards and practices at NBC who was a retired nun and she didn’t believe that genie should show her belly button.”
That said, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And while what writers can get away with nowadays in terms of what characters do, say and wear would more-than-likely have that retired NBC nun rolling over in her grave, both networks and studios can’t seem to let go of those shows from the past that made the likes of Larry Hagman a household name. How does Hagman feel about returning to the character that at one time had 40 million people ask who shot him?
“Revisiting a role is always fun and I’m looking forward to it because i get to play with my old buddies Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray,” said Hagman. “Plus, I have my character down pat!”
You can catch Larry Hagman’s return to DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES Sunday February 13, 2011 at 9PM on ABC (CTV in Canada)