Theater archives

Larry Hagman Licked Lauren Bacall


But I’m sure she ended up licking him, as she does with any perceived opponent.

Here’s the deal.

In a New York Times Magazine interview, Larry Hagman — Mary Martin’s son and a star in his own right from I Dream of Jeannie and, later, Dallas — remembers co-starring with Bacall in the 1973 TV movie of Applause, the musical update of All About Eve.

He had rehearsed for two weeks with her stand-in (Bacall already knew the part, having done it for ages on Broadway) and was told not to touch or kiss his leading lady.

When he finally got to meet Bacall in her dressing room, says Hagman, “She presented her hand kind of like the Dowager Empress Maria Theresa of the Austro-Hungarian empire would offer her hand.

“I just couldn’t resist it.

“I licked her from her hand up to her elbow.”

So much for the no-touching rule.

“She held it in check very well,” adds Hagman, “though I do think it may have colored our relationship.”

Did they become close after that?

No, says Hagman, “I don’t think you could become close with Lauren.”

Especially if you approach her with your tongue out.