Richard Harris was a multi-award-winning actor who
was perhaps best known as King Arthur in the 1967
film version of Lerner and Loewe's musical Camelot.
Other major films include, This Sporting Life,
A Man Called Horse, The Return of a Man Called Horse,
Juggernaut, Gladiator, Man in the Wilderness,
Cry, the Beloved Country, Mutiny on the Bounty,
The Guns of Navarone, The Wild Geese,
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, Patriot Games,
Sam Peckinpah's Major Dundee and Clint Eastwood's
Unforgiven. Near the end of his life he became
known to a new generation as the wise old wizard
headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, in the first two Harry
Potter films, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
(2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
Harris received Academy award nominations for
his work in This Sporting Life and The Field.
As a singer, he is best remembered for the
epic-length MacArthur Park (clocking
in at over seven minutes). The 1968 smash hit
sold several million copies and was followed
by several additional albums including,
The Yard Went on Forever, My Boy and
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, for which he
won a Grammy award.
Regarding his Irish birth, British residency, and
his well-deserved reputation as a hard-drinking
hell-raiser, he once commented, "When I'm in trouble,
I'm an Irishman. When I turn in a good performance,
I'm an Englishman." Clint Eastwood called him "A
slightly mad Irishman and a truly gifted performer."
Following years of drug abuse and decades of heavy
boozing, Harris gave up drinking in 1982.
Biographical fast facts
Full or original name at birth: Richard St. John Harris
Date, time and place of birth: October 1, 1930,
at 11:20 a.m. GDT (10:20 GMT), Limerick, Ireland
Date, place and cause of death: October 25*, 2002,
University College Hospital, London, England (Hodgkin's disease)
Wife: Elizabeth Rees-Williams (m. February 9, 1957 - 1969) (divorced)
Wife: Ann Turkel (m. June 7, 1974 - 1982) (divorced)
Sons: Damian David Harris (b. August 2, 1958)
Jared Francis Harris (b. August 24, 1961)
Jamie St. John Harris (b. May 15, 1963)
Father: Ivan Harris (a farmer and flour mill owner)
Mother: Mildred (Harty) Harris
Remains: He was cremated and his ashes scattered
at his beach home in the Bahamas.
Quotes - In his own words
"If ever I was miscast in my life, it was in the role
of husband . . . I was the worst husband in the world."
"Actors take themselves so seriously. Samuel Beckett is
important, James Joyce is -- they left something behind
them. But even Laurence Olivier is totally unimportant.
Acting is actually very simple, but actors try to elevate
it to an art."
Commenting on the period of his worst drinking and
drug use: "I made films I did not want to see, I
took planes to places I didn't want to visit, I
bought houses I didn't live in. I was numb, and
it didn't seem to matter."
"I consider a great part of my career a total
failure." "I went after the wrong things -- got
caught in the '60s. I picked pictures that were
way below my talent -- Just to have fun."
"I hate movies. They're a waste of time. I could
be in a pub having more fun talking to idiots
rather than sitting down and watching idiots
"I feel most alive when I'm working on a film."
Commenting on the Harry Potter series of films:
"I'll keep doing it as long as I enjoy it, my
health holds out, and they still want me. But
the chances of all three of those factors
remaining constant are pretty slim."
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