"Dallas" actor Larry Hagman sells off the ranch

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Larry Hagman may be putting on his cowboy hat and boots again and heading back to “Dallas,” but off-screen the actor is selling his own ranch, and some of the memorabilia from the classic 1980s TV show.

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Hagman, 79, best-known for playing conniving Texas oil baron J.R. Ewing, is putting furnishings, antiques, art work and personal property from his hilltop California home up for auction in Beverly Hills in June.

Collected over his 50-year career in show business, the June 4 auction includes furniture, modern and contemporary art, items belonging to Hagman’s mother -- stage actress Mary Martin -- and “Dallas” collectibles.

Hagman, who is on board for an upcoming remake of “Dallas”, decided to sell after putting his 28,000 square-feet estate in the southern California town of Ojai on the market and moving to a smaller home near Los Angeles.

One of the signature hats he wore as J.R. is housed in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. But there are plenty more on offer at the Julien’s Auctions sale, along with monogrammed cowboy boots and “Dallas” scripts carrying an estimated price of $100-$2,000.

Hagman says the boots are the last things he will miss.

“Cowboy boots are the most uncomfortable mode of transport ever invented. They are built to ride horses, and to keep your foot from getting in the stirrup,” he told Reuters.

“I am going to be 80 years old in September, and I am allowed certain eccentricities. So I have comfortable, comfortable shoes for walking. But I do love to wear the hats. And I always have, even before playing J.R.,” he said.

Hagman became world famous for playing the wealthy, scheming owner of Southfork ranch. But that didn’t help him from falling prey in the 1980s to a con man who persuaded him to invest in an oil enterprise in his home state of Texas.

The deal went bad, but Hagman said he will find it hard to part with the magnificent parade saddle (priced for auction at $60,000-$80,000) he got in return for his lost investment -- even though he doesn’t ride.

“I don’t even have a horse! I don’t trust horses. They are more dangerous than motorcycles,” he quipped.

Hagman teamed up last week with his old “Dallas” co-stars Linda Gray (who played his long suffering wife Sue Ellen) and Patrick Duffy (younger brother Bobby Ewing) to shoot the pilot for the new “Dallas”. The series, which will focus on the Ewing offspring, is expected to air on U.S. cable channel TNT.

“It was just like coming home, honey. In Dallas, they welcomed us. They treated us so well,” he said, promising that J.R would be just as evil as ever.

The original series, which aired from 1978 to 1991, still airs in syndication in dozens of overseas countries, keeping Hagman well supplied with fan mail and personal appearances.

“I think everybody, no matter what color, creed or religion has a jerk like J.R. in the family somewhere,” he said of the his character’s continuing allure. “Isn’t it wonderful to have a job at 80, for god’s sake?”

A public exhibition of the Hagman items will be held at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills from May 23 to June 4.

Editing by Dean Gooodman