Weatherford Democrat

December 3, 2012

Plans moving along to honor actor Larry Hagman

Brian Smith
CNHI

WEATHERFORD — Plans are coming along to better remember Weatherford icon Larry Hagman, who passed away last Friday.

Plans are afoot for the expansion of the Mary Martin/Larry Hagman gallery at the Doss Heritage and Culture Center as well as some signage, a street and a statue in Hagman’s likeness to be placed around town. Sherry Watters, who has known Hagman for 20 years along with Donna Tillman and Jamie Bodiford, is trying to spearhead the effort for the recognition. Watters was in Alabama when she heard of his passing.

“I was so taken back when I heard,” Watters said. “I got to thinking how does Weatherford honor someone that has been such an icon.”

She put the question on Facebook and received lots of interest in honoring the man. When she got back to town, the idea came about for a street in his honor. She contacted Weatherford City Manager Jerry Blaisdell Monday morning and has received his support.

“We (Watters and Donna Tillman) are on the (city council) agenda for Dec. 11,” Watters said. “(Blaisdell) told me he believed it was a great idea.”

Blaisdell said the city had been talking about doing something in honor of Hagman for a long time, but nothing had ever been done. Watters said she would like a street that is already being used and not having a new street built.

“We want the street to be used and not have a street that no one is ever going to use,” Watters said.

Watters said the first step will be to get some signage up. She would love to have a sign put up by the courthouse that states “Weatherford — Home of Larry Hagman aka J.R. Ewing of Dallas.”

The signage will help immortalize the actor, who also starred in the sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie.”

“A lot of younger people have no idea of “I Dream of Jeannie” or “Dallas” because they are not on regular stations anymore,” Watters said.  “This will help keep him in our memory 20 or even 50 years from now.”

Watters has also been in discussion with sculptors for a 6-foot tall statue of Hagman to be constructed. It will be in classic Hagman pose: arms folded, feet apart, a smile and wearing a Stetson.

An account to help pay for the statue is being worked on right now at First National Bank in Weatherford, Watters said, but has not been set up as of Thursday.

Doss Center Curator Amanda Rush said plans to expand the gallery where many Hagman mementos can be seen has been talked about for years. Work has progressed slowly but is planning on being completed over the next two to three years.

“We have talked with Larry about the expansion back in March and him getting involved in the fund raising,” Rush said.

Center Account Manager Sherry Myers said the museum has seen a marked increase in traffic since his death with many people talking about him and what he meant to them.

A memorial service was planned for Saturday at Southfork Ranch. Watters, her husband Dennis and Bodiford planned on attending the service.