Larry Hagman was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He moved around quite a bit as a kid, between living with his mother and grandmother in Texas, California, and New York City. He died in 2012 at the age of 81 from complications from cancer.
I couldn’t gather whether or not Hagman was raised with any particular religion–my guess is he wasn’t. And his religious experiences as an adult, if you want to call them that, took a little bit of an unconventional twist.
After becoming a successful actor, Hagman realized he had unintentionally gotten himself hooked on diet pills, so he stopped taking them. That led to a mental breakdown and some meetings with a psychologist, who ultimately suggested that he try the hallucinogenic drug, LSD, in order to tap into some of his repressed memories. So he did. He said about his first acid trip,
Well, it was the most impressive thing that ever happened to me. I’d read about people having religious experiences and that would be my religious experience. I don’t like the use of the word religious, because religions have been handled by too many interpretations, too many corruptions. It was like the basic teachings of the universe, of the oneness of the universe.1
His journey with hallucinogenic drugs would offer him more of those experiences in the future. When he took mescaline with a group of American Indians, he said it was “a heavy-duty spiritual thing.”2 He also, incidentally, didn’t speak on Sundays, but says that it wasn’t related to any religious program.3
Maybe Hagman could be placed in the spiritual, not religious category. After all, he said all the world’s religions all eventually came to the same conclusion that the meaning of life is love.4 Sounds pretty groovy to me.
J. R. for President and the Mandatory Acid Trip
Larry Hagman, as could be guessed from his drug-dabbling, is on the liberal side of the political equation. The great majority of his almost $50,000 worth of campaign contributions over the years were to Democratic candidates and organizations, including what looks like $10,000 to the Democratic Party in the lead-up to the 2008 election.5
Maybe that’s because he had a particular distaste for George W. Bush. He said this about the former Republican president:
[He is] a sad figure, not too well educated, who doesn’t get out of America much. He’s leading the country towards fascism.6
He was strongly opposed to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, saying,
I’m not for any kind of war, we’ve been engaged in several wars since the second world war and we lost in Korea, we lost in Vietnam, they are political wars, they have nothing to do with any real threat, nor does this one. It will go down in history as just one of our great great great mistakes.7
Maybe it all goes back to Hagman’s life-changing experiences with hallucinogens–it all comes back to love, and politicians have lost sight of that. But he has a solution that now only you and I can make happen, now that Hagman is gone. In his words:
I think it ought to be mandatory that all our politicians should [take acid] at least once.8
All right, which one of you is going to lead the campaign?
- Interview with Larry Hagman: Star of Dallas and I Dream of Jeannie. Maps. [↩]
- The Rollicking Life of Larry Hagman. New York Times. [↩]
- Larry Hagman, ‘Dallas’ Villain With a Sweetly Sinister Smile, Dies at 81. New York Times. [↩]
- Larry Hagman – near-death experience from LSD. Near Death. [↩]
- Larry Hagman’s Federal Campaign Contribution Report. Newsmeat. [↩]
- Larry Hagman obituary. The Guardian. [↩]
- Exclusive Dallas Interview with Larry Hagman. Official Dallas Website. [↩]
- Larry Hagman – All Politicians Should Use LSD. YouTube. [↩]