‘Dallas’: Why Star Larry Hagman Had a Habit of Going Silent on People for Days

by Charles Craighill

Ever hear of the silent treatment? Well, “Dallas” star Larry Hagman took that to the next level with his own habit of not speaking at all.

According to many of his co-stars and close friends, Larry Hagman would go through periods of time where he would not speak to anyone at all. Some actors and actresses found this extremely frustrating. For instance, Barbara Eden, who costarred with Hagman on “I Dream of Jennie” claimed that he stopped talking to her during the final season of the show.

In fact, his own daughter left him quite the ugly letter regarding his very strange habit. “Daddy, as you know, I love you very much. But yesterday you were a big sh*t,” a 12-year-old Heidi Hagman wrote. Larry found the note on his way to work, however, even his daughter couldn’t deter him from his plan.

What many of Larry Hagman’s close friends and family members did not know about his silence was that it was completely intentional… and had absolutely nothing to do with anyone else.

Larry Hagman Talks About his Silence

Larry Hagman broke this silence at one point to talk about how he came to this peculiar habit. Surprisingly, it had nothing to do with irritability or frustration with other cast members. It only had to do with his own voice. He remembered why and how this came about in his memoir Hello Darlin’: Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales About My Life.

“These silent Sundays actually started on a Friday,” Larry Hagman recalled. “After I’d spent two straight days taping rodeo scenes for an episode of Jeannie titled ‘Ride ‘Em Astronaut.’ When I woke up Saturday morning, I couldn’t utter a sound. My doctor said I’d strained my voice and advised me not to talk until Monday,” he remembered.

He ended up enjoying this exercise so much that he decided to do it on his own every Sunday for the next twenty-five years. At one point, Larry Hagman stopped talking completely for four straight days. After every time he stopped talking for an extended period of time, he said his voice felt refreshed.

So for Larry Hagman, the silent treatment was more of a self-care precaution than disciplinary action. However, many of his co-workers and family members didn’t feel that way. “Maybe so,” he said. “But I continued not talking on Sundays for twenty-five years, and all of us learned to adapt.”