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HAGMAN, LARRY : Primary Colors

How Larry Hagman got the part of Gov. Freddy Picker in Primary Colors, and who are The Uglies; he tells ANDREW L. URBAN.

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 charity.

"Either Iíve got the part or not, Ďcause Iíve got a lot of plans..."

"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 directing."

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 quite busy."

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."

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See our REVIEWS

and Paul Fischer's interview with
MIKE NICHOLS

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"Travoltaís a really sweet guy, very supportive and a kind man."

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"Mike Nichols is too."

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"Weíve been married for 43 years now, so I listen to her when she says something."

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"I donít have to work so itís a luxury for me."

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"Comedyís so hard to do. Comedy ainít funny."

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