Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Larry Hagman proves that good can come from evil

Lisa Blue Baron with Larry Hagman

The Larry Hagman Foundation, founded by the actor Larry Hagman, supports and promotes creative arts education for economically disadvantaged children in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.  A Texas native, Larry Hagman is back in Dallas for his second-act as J.R. Ewing, the character that everyone loves to hate. Hagman is filming the second season of TNT’s hit “Dallas” TV show and he wanted to do something extra to give back to the city that has contributed so much to his success over the years. He founded The Larry Hagman Foundation to promote the educational benefits of theater, visual arts, dance and music and to fund organizations providing these instructional programs for low-income children.

Steve Wolens, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy and former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller

Hagman's Foundation has the delicious slogan “Evil Does Good.” and on October 12, Larry rounded up pretty much the entire cast of TNT’s reboot of Dallas to join him at the launch of the Hagman Foundation.  I couldn't make this shin-dig, so who better to cover this event for me than my favorite New Yorker.  I thought she'd have a unique spin on the event... Here's a recap from Jayne Chobot:

Jayne muses, "The irony  does not escape me that I, a recent transplant from above the Mason-Dixon line, was the chosen as the one to cover an event featuring the cast of DALLAS in “cowboy chic” suggested attire. But when invited to join Texas royalty at an event supporting creative arts education for economically disadvantaged Dallas school kids, I happily turned in my Yankee card and started polishing my (new) boots.

Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, Larry Hagman and Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel

The truly lovely Lisa Blue Baron celebrated her 60th birthday by opening her gorgeous Preston Hollow estate on Friday evening for the launch event for the newly-formed Larry Hagman Foundation. The Dallas native and actor behind the deliciously evil patriarch of the Ewing family is passionate about supporting the arts in schools, and is using his star power for the eponymous organization to “open the lives up” of economically disadvantaged children through creative arts programs.

Brenda Strong and guest
Mayor Mike Rawlings got the program started on the impressive backyard stage, commending the great philanthropists in Dallas who understand that it’s "more fun to do it together. We love generosity and we love star power, and at this event we have Hunts, Jones’s, Perots, and of course the Ewings!”

Talk about Texas royalty. Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, the statuesque Brenda Strong, and of course Larry Hagman were all mingling about the cocktail party, posing for photos and discussing Hagman’s work and big heart.  The younger Ewings were to join the dinner portion with the larger donors later. Austin-based  

Asleep at the Wheel provided the entertainment and a live auction of Dallas memorabilia raised more cash for the evening’s cause.

Josh Henderson and Linda Grey
It was revealed that the inaugural recipients of the newly formed foundation would be ArtReach, Big Thought and the Dallas Children’s Theater. What a wonderful evening to finally meet long-time DCT supporter Yvonne Crum and Artie Olaisen, Associate Artistic Director at Dallas Children's Theater!

The energy throughout the Dallas-themed party was overwhelmingly joyful and appreciative of Hagman's work to give back to the community. The attire ranged from black tie to boots, jeans, and cowboy hats (with the requisite bling regardless), but nobody looked out of place and the variety suited the d├ęcor, a mix of Western and glitz.

And you know what? With a pretty blue cocktail dress, cowboy boots, and blingy SHONA earrings, this Yankee girl fit right in.

photos: Marty Perlman Photography