- Richard Harris
caption = Promotional photograph of Richard Harris
birthname = Richard St. John Harris
birthdate = birth date|1930|10|1|df=y
Limerick City, Ireland
deathdate = death date and age|2002|10|25|1930|10|1|df=y
yearsactive = 1958 - 2002
Elizabeth Rees-Williams(1957-1969) Ann Turkel(1974-1982)
goldenglobeawards = Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
grammyawards = Best Spoken Word Album
Jonathan Livingston Seagull"
Best Actor Award (Cannes Film Festival)
This Sporting Life"
Richard St. John Harris (
October 1 1930- October 25 2002) was a two-time Academy Award-nominated and Grammy Award-winning Irish actor, singer-songwriter, theatrical producer, film directorand writer. He appeared on stage and in many films, and is perhaps best known for his roles as King Arthurin "Camelot" (1967), as Oliver Cromwellin "Cromwell" (1970) and for his portrayal of Albus Dumbledorein "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (2001) and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002), his last film. He also played a British aristocrat and prisoner in "A Man Called Horse" (1970), and a gunfighterin the Clint Eastwooddirected western " Unforgiven" (1992).
Early life and career
Harris, the fifth of eight children, was born in
Limerick City, Ireland, the son of Ivan John (b. 1896, son of Richard Harris b.1854, son of James Harris, St. Michael's, Limerick) and Mildred Josephine (née Harty) (b. 1898, Daughter of James Harty, St. John's, Limerick) Harris, who owned a flourmill.cite news|last=|first=|coauthors=|title=Harris was one of the most outstanding film stars of his time|pages=|publisher=Irish Independent|date= 2002-10-27|url=http://www.independent.ie/national-news/harris-was-one-of-the-most--outstanding-film-stars-of-his-time-504644.html|accessdate=2007-12-10] cite news|last=Severo|first=Richard|coauthors=|title=Richard Harris, Versatile And Volatile Star, 72, Dies|pages=|publisher=The New York Times|date= 2002-10-26|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9801E2D91E3CF935A15753C1A9649C8B63|accessdate=2007-12-10] He was schooled by the Jesuitsat Crescent College. A talented rugby player, he was on several MunsterJunior and Senior Cup teams for Crescent, and played for the well-respected Garryowen Football Club. He might have become a provincial or international-standard rugby player, but his athletic career was cut short when he contracted tuberculosisin his teens. He remained an ardent fan of Munster provincial rugby team until his death, attending many matches, and there are numerous stories of japes at rugby matches with fellow actors and rugby fans Peter O'Tooleand Richard Burton.
After recovering from the disease he moved to
London, wanting to become a director. He could not find any suitable courses and enrolled in the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art(LAMDA) to learn acting. While still a student, Harris rented the tiny "off-West End" Irving Theatre, and directed his own production of the Clifford Odetsplay "Winter Journey (The Country Girl)". The show was a critical success, but a financial failure, and Harris lost all his savings on the venture.
As a result, he ended up temporarily homeless, sleeping in a coal cellar for six weeks. After completing his studies at the Academy, Harris joined
Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop. He began getting roles in West End theatreproductions, starting with " The Quare Fellow" in 1956, a transfer from the Theatre Workshop.
Harris made his film debut in 1958 in the film "Alive and Kicking". He had a memorable
bit partin "The Guns of Navarone" as an Australian air force pilot who reports that blowing up the "bloody guns" of the title is impossible by air. For his role in "Mutiny on the Bounty", despite being virtually unknown, he insisted on third billing, behind Trevor Howardand Marlon Brando.
His first star turn was in the 1963 film "
This Sporting Life", as a bitter young coal miner, Frank Machin, who becomes an acclaimed rugby leaguefootballer. For his role as Frank Machin, Harris won the 1963 award for best actor at the Cannes Film Festival. He also won acclaim and notice for his leading role (with Charlton Heston) in Sam Peckinpah's famous "lost masterpiece" " Major Dundee" (1965), as an Irish immigrantturned Confederate cavalryman during the American Civil War.
He appeared as
King Arthurin the film adaptation of "Camelot" (in which he was cast despite his limited singing range, just like Richard Burton), and proceeded to appear on stage in that role for years. In 1966, Harris starred as Cain in John Huston's "". He recorded several albums, one "(A Tramp Shining)" included the seven-minute hit song written by Jimmy Webb, "MacArthur Park" (which Harris mispronounced as "MacArthur's Park"); that song reached #2 on the United States Billboard magazinepop chart, while topping several charts in Europe, in the summer of 1968. A second all-Webb composed album, "The Yard Went on Forever", was released in 1969. He also wrote one of the songs, "There are Too Many Saviours on My Cross", considered to be a criticism of the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.
Some memorable performances followed, among them a role as a reluctant police informer in "The Molly Maguires" (1970) alongside
Sean Connery. In 1971 he starred in the film " Man in the Wilderness" and in the low-budget "Orca" in 1977. Harris achieved a form of cult status for his role as mercenary tactician Rafer Janders in the 1978 film " The Wild Geese". Also, in 1973, Harris wrote a highly acclaimed book of poetry, titled "I, In The Membership Of My Days" which was later released in record format with him reciting his poems.
By the end of the 1980s, Harris had gone a long time without a significant film role. He was familiar with the stage plays of fellow Irishman
John B. Keane, and had heard that one of them, " The Field", was being adapted for film by director Jim Sheridan. Sheridan was working with actor Ray McAnallyon the adaptation, intending to feature McAnally in the lead role (Bull McCabe). When McAnally died suddenly during initial preparations for the film, Harris began a concerted campaign to be cast as McCabe. This campaign eventually succeeded, and the film version of " The Field" (which also starred Tom Berenger) was released in 1990. Harris earned an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal. In 1992, he had a small but memorable role in "Patriot Games" as a member of Sinn Féin.
Later career and Harry Potter
Later in his career, Harris appeared in two Oscar-winning films, first as gunman "English Bob" in the 1992 western, "
Unforgiven", as well as portraying Roman Emperor Marcus Aureliusin Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" (2000). Harris also played a lead role alongside James Earl Jonesin the 1995 movie "Cry, the Beloved Country".
Harris initially declined the offer to play
Albus Dumbledorein the Harry Potter films, not wanting to commit to subsequent sequels. Upon learning that he had turned down the role, his granddaughter convinced him that he was "going to do it." [ [http://www.people.com/people/article/0,26334,623179,00.html Richard Harris: The Envelopes, Please : People.com ] ] He played the role of Headmaster Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter film adaptations, but died before filming commenced on the third movie.
In a 2001 interview with the Toronto Star, Harris expressed his fear that his association with the Harry Potter films would outshine the rest of his career, stating: "Because, you see, I don't just want to be remembered for being in those bloody films, and I'm afraid that's what going to happen to me." [ [http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2003/7/9/on-richard-harris On Richard Harris - The Leaky Cauldron ] ]
In the 2002 re-make of "The Count of Monte Cristo", Harris performed as the book's fictionalized character of
Abbé Faria, the jailed priest and former Napoleonic soldier who instructs Dantès in language, science, and combat, and provides him a treasure map.
In 2003, his voice could be heard as the character Opaz in the animated film "". The movie was dedicated to him posthumously.
Personal life and death
In 1957, he married
Elizabeth Rees-Williams, daughter of David Rees-Williams. Their three children are actor Jared Harris, actor Jamie Harris (born as Tudor St. John Harris, but known as Jamie since childhood), and director Damian Harris(who has a son named Marlowe, born 2002, with Australian actress Peta Wilson). Harris and Rees-Willams were divorced in 1969, and Elizabeth married another actor, Rex Harrison.
Harris' second marriage was to American actress
Ann Turkel, who was 16 years his junior; that marriage also ended in divorce. He was a member of the Knights of Malta, despite his divorces, and was also knighted by Denmarkin 1985. He was reportedly good friends with Peter O'Toole.imdb name|0000564|Peter O'Toole] His family reportedly hoped O'Toole would replace Harris as Dumbledore in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban".
Harris often told stories about his haunted English Mansion,
The Tower House, which was sold later to Jimmy Pageof Led Zeppelinfame. According to Harris, the tower was haunted by an eight-year-old boy who had been buried in the tower. The boy often kept Harris awake at night until he one day built a nursery for the boy to play in, which calmed the disturbances to some extent. [ [http://www.theastralworld.com/ghosts/richardharrisghost.php Richard Harris and His Haunted Mansion ] ]
Harris died of
Hodgkin's diseaseon October 25 2002, aged 72, two and a half weeks before the U.S. premiere of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". He was replaced as Dumbledore by fellow Irish-born actor Michael Gambon.
He had a lifelong love affair with alcohol, but then went teetotal.A memorable incident was an appearance on "
The Late Late Show" where he recounted to host Gay Byrnehow he had just polished off two bottles of fine wine in a restaurant and decided that he would then be going on the wagon:"And I looked at my watch and it was... Well isn´t that spooky! It was the same time it is now: 11:20!"
After several years without alcohol, Harris started drinking again before the end of his life.
Whenever he was in
London, Harris lived at the Savoy Hotel. According to hotel archivist Susan Scott, when he was being taken from the hotel on a stretcher, shortly before his death, he warned diners, 'It was the food!' [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6990706.stm BBC NEWS | Magazine | Home suite home ] ]
Cassandra Harriswas his sister-in-law; her two children with Dermot Harris were later adopted by 007 actor Pierce Brosnan.
Richard was cremated and his ashes were scattered in
Richard Harris was a
Knight of Maltaand could be styled as Sir Richard Harris.
He expressed support for the
Provisional Irish Republican Armyfrom 1975 to 1983.fact|date=August 2008
September 30 2006, Manuel Di Lucia, of Kilkee, County Clare, a long-time friend, organized a bronze lifesize statue of Richard Harris at the age of eighteen playing rackets. The sculpture was unveiled in Kilkee. The sculptor was Seamus Connolly. [ [http://www.breakingnews.ie/archives/?c=ENTERTAINMENT&jp=cwqlsnkfidau&d=2006-10-02 BreakingNews.ie: Archives :2006-10-02 ] ]
Another life size statue of Richard Harris, as King Arthur from his film, "Camelot", has been erected in Bedford Row, in the centre of his home city of Limerick. [ [http://www.businesslimerick.ie/index.php?p=news Business Limerick ] ] The sculptor of this piece was the well known Irish artist, Jim Connolly, a graduate of the
Limerick School of Art and Design.
Academy Award nominations
Grammy nominations & wins
*Album of the Year for "A Tramp Shining"-1968
*Contemporary Pop Male Vocalist for "MacArthur Park"-1968
*Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama Recording for "The Prophet"-1975
*Best Spoken Word Recording for "
Jonathan Livingston Seagull"-1973
*"Camelot" (Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1967)
A Tramp Shining" (Spring 1968)
*"The Yard Went On Forever" (Fall 1968)
*"My Boy" (1971)
*"The Richard Harris Love Album" (1972)
*"His Greatest Performances" (1973)
Jonathan Livingston Seagull" (1973)
*"The Prophet" (1974)
*"I, In The Membership Of My Days" (1974)
*"Camelot" (Original 1982 London Cast Soundtrack) (1982)
*"Mack The Knife" (Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1989)
*"Here In My Heart" (song from "
This Sporting Life") (1963)
*"MacArthur Park" #2 (1968)
*"One Of The Nicer Things" (1969)
*"What A Lot Of Flowers" (1969)
*"Fill The World With Love" (1969)
*"Ballad Of "
A Man Called Horse" (1970)
*"Morning Of The Mourning For Another Kennedy" (1970)
*"Go To The Mirror" (from "Tommy" album) (1971)
*"Turning Back The Pages" (1972)
*"Half Of Every Dream" (1972)
*"Trilogy (Love, Marriage, Children)" (song from "The Prophet" album) (1974)
*"The Last Castle" (Theme From "
Echoes Of A Summer") (1976)
*"Lilliput" (Theme from "
Gulliver's Travels") (1977)
Compact disc releases & compilations
*"Camelot" (Original 1982 London Cast Soundtrack) (1988)
*"Mack The Knife" (Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1989)
*"Camelot" (Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1993)
*"A Tramp Shining" (1993)
*"The Prophet" (1995)
*"The Webb Sessions 1968-1969" (1996)
*"MacArthur Park" (1997)
*"Slides/My Boy" (2 CD Set) (2005)
List of people on stamps of Ireland
*imdb name|id=0001321|name=Richard Harris
*musicbrainz artist|id=9a976838-8e77-4065-bdbb-748d17ad773b|name=Richard Harris
* [http://www.harrisbar.ie/ Harris' Bar Limerick: A Bar in Limerick City Dedicated to Richard]
* [http://www.expage.com/rhca The Richard Harris Club Association]
* [http://www.richardharris.de The Round Table, The Richard Harris Fansite]
*Find A Grave|id=6877604
NAME= Harris, Richard
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Harris, Richard St John
actor, singer and songwriter
DATE OF BIRTH=
October 1 1930
PLACE OF BIRTH=
DATE OF DEATH=
October 25 2002aged Age at date|1930|10|1|2002|10|25
PLACE OF DEATH=
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