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Harland Williams

Harland Williams

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: November 14, 1962 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario, CA Profession: actor, comedian, author, animator, illustrator, forest ranger

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Quirky Canadian comedic actor Harland Williams left behind a career as a forest ranger to try his hand at stand-up comedy, and soon made the transition to acting, quickly moving from obscure character player to lead in the 1997 feature "RocketMan." Dark-haired and cute with cartoonishly prominent ears, a slightly weak chin and expressive buggy eyes, the children's book writer and illustrator and trained animator made his feature film acting debut in 1994's "Dumb and Dumber," starring fellow Torontonian Jim Carrey. That same year he had an early TV credit with a memorable cameo as a ticket taker on "These Friends of Mine," an early incarnation of the ABC sitcom "Ellen" (1994-98). Williams was cast in his own comedy series playing the eponymous cockeyed optimist on The WB's "Simon" from 1995-1996. More film work followed in 1996 when the actor was featured as a sonar expert in the inane comedy "Down Periscope."Williams' next feature "RocketMan" would mark his starring debut, playing a scatterbrained scientist who ends up on the first manned mission to Mars, much to the chagrin of his captain (William Sadler). A slapstick vehicle complete with requisite off-color jokes and sight gags, "RocketMan" was...

Quirky Canadian comedic actor Harland Williams left behind a career as a forest ranger to try his hand at stand-up comedy, and soon made the transition to acting, quickly moving from obscure character player to lead in the 1997 feature "RocketMan." Dark-haired and cute with cartoonishly prominent ears, a slightly weak chin and expressive buggy eyes, the children's book writer and illustrator and trained animator made his feature film acting debut in 1994's "Dumb and Dumber," starring fellow Torontonian Jim Carrey. That same year he had an early TV credit with a memorable cameo as a ticket taker on "These Friends of Mine," an early incarnation of the ABC sitcom "Ellen" (1994-98). Williams was cast in his own comedy series playing the eponymous cockeyed optimist on The WB's "Simon" from 1995-1996. More film work followed in 1996 when the actor was featured as a sonar expert in the inane comedy "Down Periscope."

Williams' next feature "RocketMan" would mark his starring debut, playing a scatterbrained scientist who ends up on the first manned mission to Mars, much to the chagrin of his captain (William Sadler). A slapstick vehicle complete with requisite off-color jokes and sight gags, "RocketMan" was popular with a mostly younger audience, and helped to launch Williams' career. While he returned to smaller character roles in films as varied as "Wag the Dog" (1997), "Half-Baked" (1998) and the Bruce McCulloch-directed "Dog Park" (1999), he was given more opportunities on the small screen, starring as a man masquerading as a woman in order to secure a job in the "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Tootsie"-inspired ABC/Disney TV-movie "Mr. Headmistress" (1997). Williams teamed up with "Kids in the Hall" cast member McCulloch again, playing Mary Katherine Gallagher's devoted love interest in the 1999 feature "Superstar", and was showcased to good effect in the comedy "The Whole Nine Yards" (2000), performing in his first nude scene.

Williams was busy back on the small screen in 2000, voicing a character on the short-lived David Spade animated NBC series "Sammy," and playing a nice guy who turns into a pompous jerk in a bid to further his faltering career in the TV-movie "Becoming Dick" (E! Entertainment Television). The comedian hosted the Comedy Central stand-up series "Premium Blend" beginning in 2000, his absurdist two-minute introductions winning over an audience less inclined to enjoy his work at full throttle. He added some wackiness to the standard sitcom format as co-star of the ABC sitcom "The Geena Davis Show" (2000-01) and voiced the carefree roadtripper Mike Bonner on the UPN Claymation midseason replacement series "Gary & Mike" (2000-01).

While busy on television, Williams continued to do film work, and completed a starring role in the romantic comedy "Lucky 13" (2005) and was Tom Green's affably abused sidekick in the Canadian TV host and shock comic's directorial debut "Freddy Got Fingered" (2001). He maintained a steady schedule, including a lead role in the ill-fated "Sorority Boys" (2002), an inane and widely panned comedy about three college boys who pledge a sorority in order to stay on campus that summarily flopped at the box office. After portraying the owner of a video arcade in the straight-to-video release "Kart Racer" (2004), Williams was the voice of Lug in "Robots" (2005), a well-reviewed animated feature about a world entirely inhabited by mechanical beings.

Williams continued the robot trend for his next film, "Meet the Robinsons" (2006), supplying voice of Carl, a feisty robot owned by the futuristic Robinson family who try to help a young boy genius (Jordan Fry) return to his own time after the evil Bowler Hat Guy (Stephen John Anderson) steals his means of getting back home. In the live action world, Williams played the bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane in "The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning" (ABC Family Channel, 2007), a prequel to the 2005 theatrical release that found Bo (Jonathan Bennett) and Luke (Randy Wayne) sentenced to a summer of hard work on Uncle Jesse's (Willie Nelson) farm, which is under the threat of foreclosure by Boss Hogg (Christopher McDonald).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Noobz (2013)
3.
 Old Days (2013)
4.
 Dahmer Vs. Gacy (2010)
5.
 My Life in Ruins (2009)
8.
 Heckler (2008)
9.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1982:
Began showbiz career performing standup comedy in Toronto
:
Spent five years as a forest ranger in Canada
1994:
Feature film acting debut, had small role in "Dumb and Dumber"
1994:
First appeared on "Late Show with David Letterman" (CBS)
1994:
Had a cameo as a movie theater ticket taker on an episode of the ABC sitcom "These Friends of Mine" (later "Ellen")
:
Starred in the title role of the short-lived sitcom "Simon" (The WB)
1996:
Had featured role as a sonar expert in "Down Periscope"
1997:
Made feature lead debut, playing an absent-minded scientist who ends up on a mission to Mars by default in the comedy "RocketMan"
1997:
Had a small role as a pet wrangler in Barry Levinson's "Wag the Dog"
1998:
Cast as the Hitchhiker in "There's Something About Mary"
1998:
Appeared in the feature "Half-Baked"
1999:
Had featured roles in Bruce McCulloch's "Dog Park" and "Superstar"
2000:
Played a federal agent in the comedy feature "The Whole Nine Yards"
2000:
Voiced a character in David Spade's short-lived animated series "Sammy" (NBC)
2000:
Played the title nice guy turned obnoxious opportunist in the E! Entertainment Television original TV-movie "Becoming Dick", directed by Bob Saget
2000:
Co-starred in the ABC sitcom "The Geena Davis Show"
2000:
Hosted the Comedy Central stand-up series "Premium Blend"
2001:
Voiced carefree road tripper Mike Bonner on the claymation series "Gary & Mike" (UPN)
2001:
Cast in fellow Canadian Tom Green's directorial debut "Freddy Got Fingered"
2002:
Was one of the titular "Sorority Boys", three male college students who don drag
2005:
Provided the voice of Lug in the animated film "Robots"
2006:
Co-starred in the comedy "Employee of the Month"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Senator O'Connor High School: Toronto , Ontario -
Sheraton College: Oakville , Ontario -

Notes

The son of an Anglican father and Catholic mother, Williams was baptized Catholic and attended Catholic school but went to weekly Anglican services.

"I've been in three movies ["RocketMan", "Dumb and Dumber" and "Down Periscope"] and all of them had flatulence jokes. I gotta get a script that had Pepto-Bismol soaked in it or something. Don't get me wrong -- everyone loves a great flatulence joke, but I'm interested in cerebral stuff as opposed to intestinal." --Williams quoted in Los Angeles Times, October 19, 1997.

"I think God gave me an extra immature gene, and I'm wearing it without a belt." --Harland Williams to People, November 3, 1997.

"As crazy as it sounds, [comedy] was like this weird spiritual calling that came to me when I used to stand out in the middle of the woods. To be honest, I didn't even want to leave the forest, but there was this real strong urge in me. My mind was always thinking of funny things. Like the time I was canoeing in the lake and I pictured a guy floating up to the surface of the water in a three-piece suit trying to sell me Kraft cheese slices." --Williams to Time Out New York, Septemnber 2-9, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Wendi Kenya.

Family close complete family listing

cousin:
Kevin Hearn. Musician. Keyboardist for the popular Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Harland Draws Wacky and Weird"
"Chuckle Mountain"
"Crazy Creatures"
"Lickety Split - Who Are You?"
"Lickety Split and His Adventure Through Time"
"Lickety Split Meets the Fire Puffin"
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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