updated 11/13/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/13/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

While some correspondents expressed admiration for Larry Hagman and congratulated him on his successful transplant (PEOPLE, Oct. 23) many more were exasperated by his refusal to attribute his problems to alcoholism and suspicious—despite his disclaimers—that his celebrity status had given him an unfair advantage in acquiring a liver.

Two people had to die before Larry Hagman could get a transplant—the person who donated the liver and the person who was next in line. Money talks!
MARY K. RIOPELLE, Schoolcraft, Maine

Larry Hagman personifies courage and persistence in his battle against liver cancer and cirrhosis. I am amazed that an alcoholic could simply give up the bottle and never look back. I am also befuddled that a man so willing to take on a transplant and its associated myriad drugs, procedures and lifestyle changes could be in such obvious denial about the cause of his problem. A radio tower near your house? Come on, Larry! Don't you think decades of alcohol abuse had a little something to do with it?
KEN BACON, Novato, Calif.

I am outraged by your articles on Larry Hagman and Mickey Mantle. My father-in-law recently passed away due to a tumor of the liver. Because it was cancerous, he was not even considered for a liver transplant, although his overall health was better than that of Larry Hagman or Mickey Mantle. Regardless of what Larry Hagman says, money and celebrity status can and do make things happen.

I am sick of reading about the David Crosbys, Mickey Mantles and Larry Hagmans of the world who, by their own choice, with either booze or drugs, have ruined their bodies and yet are given vital organs that could save the life of another deserving person.
RAE HUNSAKER, Stansbury Park, Utah

The picture of Larry Hagman and his wife posed against a background of wine glasses and liquor bottles is an outrage to the families of organ donors and is topped only by the message on his shirt: "How much can I get away with?" In Larry's case, obviously a lot.

The most annoying aspect of Hagman's arrogant public persona has been his decades-long tirade against smokers. Save your lungs and pickle your liver? Something isn't right here, Larry.

Hagman is doing a disservice to all the drunks out there who are hanging on to the false hope that they too can function while continuing to drink themselves to death. At least Mickey Mantle was honest.

My joy for the extended life of Larry Hagman is tempered by the recent loss of a dear friend, Dr. George R. Lightsey. His death at 52 leaves us bereft of a man of sharp intellect, wonderful humor and much to live for. His liver disease was not due in any way to the consumption of alcohol. He leaves behind a wife, two daughters, many friends and university students for whom he was a beloved mentor. I hope, through the publicity you are giving to the famous people who get new livers, that all of us will understand that many other lives could be extended through the donation of organs.

"I never knew anything about domestic violence," says Denise Brown, "until my sister's death." Well, Ms. Brown, you did take those pictures of your sister's bruised face, you did testify in court about years of emotional and physical abuse. Your statement should have read: "I never did anything about domestic violence until my sister's death."
T.M. JOHNSON, Vail, Colo.

The public's perception of a flight attendant is a person who serves drinks and peanuts. Thanks to Robin Fech's heroic efforts and your touching story, flight attendants everywhere get the respect and recognition they deserve.

Along with Robin Fech, there was another hero on Flight 529, the pilot, Ed Gannaway, who so valiantly stuck with his disabled aircraft. I am very sad for Mr. Gannaway's three young sons that the only words you had for their father were, "He was killed that day." If it weren't for his heroism, there wouldn't be any survivors to tell their stories.

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