Let's clear something up: Larry Hagman is not dead. For months, rumors have been circulating that the actor, who had a liver transplant in 1995, has passed away. Or is dying. Or needs another liver transplant. We caught up with the former Dallas bad boy at his swank Santa Monica pad. And trust us, he's very much alive.
TV Guide Online: With the first and second seasons of Dallas due out on DVD August 24 and a reunion special filming this fall, you sure are busy for a dead guy.
Larry Hagman: Henry Winkler called me up a couple of months ago [about producing the reunion]. I think Charlene Tilton came up with the idea: a Dallas retrospective. We're going to show stuff from the show and stuff from behind the scenes. I shot thousands of feet of Super 8 on the set.
TVGO: How did all these death rumors get started?
Hagman: I had a bad patch in December. Turns out it was some kind of E. coli bacteria that crossed over from my bowels to my liver. Part of my liver died, and they had to take [that part] out. I was on my back for a month. My muscles atrophied. I didn't have any strength.
TVGO: You now take 19 different pills a day. Does that include antidepressants?
Hagman: Do I look depressed? Pills are too easy. I like things like champagne, which is exuberant and bubbly and will destroy my liver.
TVGO: You've had one liver transplant. Will you need another?
Hagman: They said that if I did need one, then they would put me on the [transplant] list. I said, "Don't bother. I'm 72 years old. I don't want to deprive somebody of a new liver just because I'm greedy."
TVGO: Aren't you afraid you are going to die?
Hagman: I feel fine now. And I am not afraid of death. I had taken LSD 40 years ago and I had ego death. That took the fear of death away.
TVGO: What about the rumors that you were drinking yourself to death?
Hagman: I was at a pub in Ojai having a beer. I'd taken to having a beer every two weeks. A guy from one of the [tabloid] rags had a telephone camera and took a picture of me. He said, "Larry Hagman is killing himself... drinking again..." It wasn't for getting high or anything. It was for the taste. But, you know, one thing leads to another.
TVGO: How long had you been off alcohol?
Hagman: 11 years.
TVGO: Are you still drinking?
Hagman: I'm not doing anything. Jesus, I don't want to open myself up for even more [tabloid] rag B.S.
TVGO: Why are you talking about all this now?
Hagman: To show people that I am not dead. In Europe, they think I am dead, which is why I just went to the British Soap Awards in London. I wanted to show people that I am alive — because a dead person can't get jobs.
TVGO: And you still want to act?
Hagman: I'm not retired. I'm simply out of work.