Larry Hagman, the “Dallas” star who died this week, accepted a bag full of cash from Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in return for allowing the regime to use his image, Britain’s Sunday Times reported on Sunday.
Hagman, who won worldwide fame for his portrayal of villainous Texas oilman J.R. Ewing on the primetime soap opera, visited Bucharest in the 1980s with his wife, where they were feted by Romania’s Communist leaders, the newspaper said.
“Dallas” was hugely popular in Romania and Ceausescu apparently sought the actor’s permission to put a giant portrait of him on the side of a building.
“Hagman said he had no objection provided a bag filled with hard currency was left in the ladies’ lavatory of a government office for his wife to pick up the next day,” the newspaper reported, in an article it said Hagman had asked it to hold until his death.
“A brown paper bag stuffed with dollars was duly left to be collected, he [Hagman] recalled recently. ‘We spent it quickly like we did all the money in those days,’ he added.”
The newspaper said it had agreed to Hagman’s request to wait until he was dead before publishing the story. The 81-year-old died at a Dallas hospital on Friday from complications of throat cancer.