Hello Darlin': Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales About My Life
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Born in Texas in 1931 to 17-year-old Mary Martin and a father not much older, Hagman was raised by his grandmother after his parents separated and his mother went on to become an international musical comedy star. After living at boarding schools or with alternating parents, Hagman returned to Martin, garnering small parts in her shows. After a stint in the armed forces and getting married, Hagman began the actor's life of scraping by between gigs, from TV series like The West Point Story to small roles in Broadway shows. He found a TV hit in 1965's I Dream of Jeannie, but his career was soon up and down again between second-rate films until Dallas. Hagman is refreshingly direct about his alcoholism, his liver transplant, his troubled relationship with his mother and his enjoyable and rewarding experiments with marijuana and LSD. There is nothing scandalous, earth-shattering or philosophically deep here, but by the end readers have an honest sense of an actor who has worked hard to find himself in his life and his work.