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Also Known As: Richard St John Harris Died: October 25, 2002
Born: October 1, 1930 Cause of Death: Hodgkin's Disease
Birth Place: Limerick, IE Profession: actor, producer, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An Irish rogue who emerged from England as one of its most accomplished performers, actor Richard Harris typified the angry young man persona of 1960s British cinema, both on and off the screen. Having come into his own as a rough-and-tumble rugby player in "This Sporting Life" (1963), Harris quickly became one of England's preeminent actors, with quality turns in prominent American films like "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1962), "Major Dundee" (1965) and the adaptation of the popular musical "Camelot" (1967). Behind the scenes, much like his contemporaries Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed, Harris was a student of the bad boy school of talented thespians, with an unquenchable taste for booze and women who never let a bender get in the way of a sterling performance. Because of his experience with "Camelot," Harris embarked on a surprisingly successful singing career that reached its peak when his single, "MacArthur Park," became a big hit in 1968. Following a fine leading turn in "A Man Called Horse" (1970), his acting career began to slide, thanks to a string of rather mediocre genre films and diminishing performances brought on by his worsening alcoholism. After sobering up toward the end...

An Irish rogue who emerged from England as one of its most accomplished performers, actor Richard Harris typified the angry young man persona of 1960s British cinema, both on and off the screen. Having come into his own as a rough-and-tumble rugby player in "This Sporting Life" (1963), Harris quickly became one of England's preeminent actors, with quality turns in prominent American films like "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1962), "Major Dundee" (1965) and the adaptation of the popular musical "Camelot" (1967). Behind the scenes, much like his contemporaries Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed, Harris was a student of the bad boy school of talented thespians, with an unquenchable taste for booze and women who never let a bender get in the way of a sterling performance. Because of his experience with "Camelot," Harris embarked on a surprisingly successful singing career that reached its peak when his single, "MacArthur Park," became a big hit in 1968. Following a fine leading turn in "A Man Called Horse" (1970), his acting career began to slide, thanks to a string of rather mediocre genre films and diminishing performances brought on by his worsening alcoholism. After sobering up toward the end of the 1980s, the newly confident actor earned an Oscar nod for his excellent performance in Jim Sheridan's "The Field" (1990). He next chewed up the scenery as the flashy gunman English Bob in "Unforgiven" (1992) before playing Marcus Aurelius in "Gladiator" (2000) and Professor Dumbledore in the first two "Harry Potter" movies. Having died before "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002) was released, Harris left behind a trail of broken bottles and shattered hearts, as well as a legacy of being one of Ireland and England's most important and beloved performers.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Kaena: The Prophecy (2004) Voice Of Opaz
2.
 Count of Monte Cristo, The (2002) Abbe Faria
3.
 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) Albus Dumbledore
4.
 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) Albus Dumbledore
5.
 My Kingdom (2001) Sandeman
6.
 Gladiator (2000) Marcus Aurelius
7.
 Barber of Siberia, The (1999) Douglas Mccracken
8.
 Grizzly Falls (1999) Old Harry
9.
 To Walk With Lions (1999) George Adamson
10.
 Hunchback, The (1997) Dom Frollo
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1956:
West End stage debut in Joan Littlewood's production of "The Quare Fellow" at the Royal Stratford
1956:
Produced and directed a stage production of "Winter Journey"
1956:
Appeared in the London stage production of "A View from the Bridge"
1957:
Made English TV debut in "The Iron Harp"
1958:
Film debut in "Alive and Kicking"
1958:
Returned to the London stage in "Man, Beast and Virtue"
1958:
Toured Eastern Europe and Russia in a production of "Macbeth" (date approximate)
1959:
Played first leading role on the London stage in "The Ginger Man"
1960:
Earliest US TV work includes a supporting role in an NBC adaptation of Joseph Conrad's "Victory"
1961:
Played largest screen roles to date (second and third leads) in "The Long and the Short and the Tall" and "Mutiny on the Bounty"
1963:
First leading role, "This Sporting Life"
1964:
First foreign-language film, "Red Desert"
1968:
Recorded hit song, "MacArthur's Park"
1972:
Film directing debut, "Bloomfield" (also co-wrote and starred)
1976:
Executive produced two films: "Echoes of a Summer/The Last Castle" and the sequel film, "Return of a Man Called Horse"; starred in both, and wrote and performed the song "The Last Castle" in the former
1978:
Overdosed on cocaine; rushed to intensive care unit of Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles
1982:
Overcame alcoholism
1982:
Reprised film role of King Arthur in "Camelot" in an HBO TV production
:
Toured in stage production of "Camelot" when original star Richard Burton became ill; was supposed to spend eight weeks finishing up tour, but ultimately performed 20-25 weeks a year for five years; show took in over $92 million during its five years with Harris
1990:
Made London stage comeback with Pirandello's "Henry IV" in London; first appearance in a straight drama in London's West End since the 1963 production of Gogol's "Diary of a Madman"
1990:
Film comeback, "The Field"
1992:
Played English Bob in Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven"
1995:
Teamed with James Earl Jones in the remake of "Cry, the Beloved Country"
1997:
Essayed an aging Irish gangster in "Trojan Eddie"
1997:
Appeared as Andreas Tork in "Smilla's Sense of Snow"
1997:
Cast as Dom Frollo in TNT production of "The Hunchback"
1999:
Starred as George Adamson in "To Walk with Lions"
1999:
Appeared as "Old Harry," the elder version of the lead character, in "Grizzly Falls"
2000:
Co-starred as the benevolent Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius in the OScar-winning film "Gladiator"
2000:
Played aged, powerful head of a criminal dynasty in "My Kingdom"
2000:
Starred in film adaptation of John Steinbeck's "The Pearl" (unreleased)
2001:
Thanks to digital technology, played the ghost of Hamlet's father in a New Jersey Shakespeare Festival staging of "Hamlet", starring son Jared Harris
2001:
Played the benevolant wizard Dumbledore in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
2002:
Co-starred in the remake of "The Count of Monte Cristo"
2002:
Reprised role of Dumbledore in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"
:
Appeared as Lucius Cornelius Sulla in the TNT miniseries "Juius Caesar" (lensed 2002)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Sacred Heart Jesuit College: -
Joan Littlewood's International Theatre Workshop: -
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art: - 1956

Notes

Other songs besides "MacArthur Park" which Harris has recorded include "Didn't We" (1969) and "My Boy" (1971).

Harris set up a scholarship at the Universiy of Scranton in Pennsylvania in memory of his brother Dermot.

Speaking of his 1978 cocaine overdose, Harris notes, "The doctor told me [that] . . . if my body, my cardiovascular system, hadn't been so strong, I'd have been dead. So I went home and flushed $5000 of cocaine down the toilet." --quoted in The New York Times, December 16, 1990.

Harris also reports how he overcame alcoholism: "My doctor told me I had hypoglycemia and that soon I'd been going into insulin shock and die if I didn't stop drinking. It was in August 1982, and I was with my mates at the Jockey Club one night, and I had them serve us two bottles of Chateau Margaux--$370 a bottle they were. When the last bottle was empty, and I had this much left in my glass, I looked at my watch, and it was 20 past 11, and I said, 'This is my last drink.' And I never touched the stuff again." --quoted in The New York Times, December 16, 1990.

Harris fell ill in August 2002 after filming the second Harry Potter film, "The Chamber of Secrets," and went to a hospital suffering with a severe chest infection, He had been in University College Hospital, central London for two months, where he has had a course of chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease. According to his agent Sharon Thomas Harris responded extremely well to the treatment.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Elizabeth Harris. Married February 9, 1957; divorced 1969; mother of his three sons; daughter of Labor peer Lord Ogmore; later married to actor Rex Harrison in the 1970s.
wife:
Ann Turkel. Model, actor. Born c. 1947; married in 1974; divorced in 1981.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Ivan Harris. Flour mill owner.
brother:
Dermot Harris. Record and film producer. Died of a heart attack on November 12, 1986 at age 47; previously married to actor Cassandra Harris with whom he had two children, Charlotte and Christopher; she later wed actor Pierce Brosnan.
son:
Damian Harris. Director. Born in 1958; mother, Elizabeth Harris.
son:
Jared Harris. Actor. Born in 1961; mother, Elizabeth Harris.
son:
Jamie Harris. Actor. Born in June 1963; mother, Elizabeth Harris.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Love, Honor, and Dismay" Doubleday
"I, in the Membership of My Days" Random House
"Honor Bound"

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