Actor Larry Hagman died Friday at the age of 81 of complications from cancer.
His was a familiar face to the millions who watched him as the infamous J.R. Ewing on the soap opera “Dallas,” and before that on the sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie.”
But James Shanteau of Manhattan knew Hagman personally. Shanteau said he got to know Hagman when they served on the National Advisory Council on Organ Transplantation from 2001 to 2004.
After years as a heavy drinker, Hagman had a liver transplant in 1995 and became an activist for organ donation.
“Despite being on a committee dominated by surgeons and academics, he always knew when to contribute and what to say,” Shanteau said in an email to The Mercury. “I was impressed by his ability to use his experience as an organ transplant recipient to argue effectively for greater awareness of organ donation and transplantation.”
Shanteau said to his knowledge, Hagman never touched a drop of alcohol after his transplant.
“He had an iron will that reflected his focus on what really matters in life,” Shanteau said. “It was an honor to have known him… To the end, he was a consummate gentleman, committed activist and true to his word.”