72 (passed away Oct. 25th, 2002)
Oct. 1st, 1930
Richard Harris' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2002 - The Count of Monte Cristo
2002 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
2001 - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
2000 - Gladiator
1998 - Sibirskiy tsiryulnik
1997 - Smilla's Sense of Snow
1997 - This Is the Sea
1995 - Cry, The Beloved Country
1993 - Wrestling Ernest Hemingway
1992 - Patriot Games
1992 - Unforgiven
1990 - The Field
1981 - Tarzan, the Ape Man
1978 - The Wild Geese
1977 - Orca
1976 - The Cassandra Crossing
1976 - The Return of a Man Called Horse
1976 - Robin and Marian
1974 - Juggernaut
1971 - Bloomfield
1971 - Man in the Wilderness
1970 - Cromwell
1970 - The Molly Maguires
1970 - A Man Called Horse
1967 - Camelot
1966 - Hawaii
1966 - The Bible: In the Beginning...
1965 - Major Dundee
1963 - This Sporting Life
1962 - Mutiny on the Bounty
1961 - The Guns of Navarone
A genuine star of cinema on screen and a fiery hell raiser off screen, Richard St John Harris was born on October 1, 1930 in Limerick, Ireland, to a farming family. He was an excellent rugby player and had a strong passion for literature. Unfortunately, a bout of tuberculosis as a teenager ended his aspirations to a rugby career, but he became fascinated with the theater and skipped a local dance one night to attend a performance of "Henry IV". He was hooked and went on to learn his craft at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, then spent several years in stage productions. He debuted on screen in Alive and Kicking (1959) and quickly scored regular work in films, including The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959), A Terrible Beauty (1960) and a good role as a frustrated Australian bomber pilot in The Guns of Navarone (1961).
However, his breakthrough performance was as the quintessential "angry young man" in the sensational drama This Sporting Life (1963), which scored him an Oscar nomination. He then appeared in the WW II commando tale The Heroes of Telemark (1965) and in the Sam Peckinpah-directed western Major Dundee (1965). He next showed up in Hawaii (1966) and played King Arthur in Camelot (1967), a lackluster adaptation of the famous Broadway play. Better performances followed, among them a role as a reluctant police informer in The Molly Maguires (1970) alongside Sir Sean Connery. Harris took the lead role in the violent western A Man Called Horse (1970), which became something of a cult film and spawned two sequels.
As the 1970s progressed, Harris continued to appear regularly on screen; however, the quality of the scripts varied from above average to woeful. His credits during this period included directing himself as an aging soccer player in the delightful Bloomfield (1971); the western The Deadly Trackers (1973); the big-budget "disaster" film Juggernaut (1974); the strangely-titled crime film 99 and 44/100% Dead (1974); with Connery again in Robin and Marian (1976); Gulliver's Travels (1977); a part in the Jaws (1975) ripoff Orca (1977) and a nice turn as an ill-fated mercenary with Richard Burton (I) and Roger Moore (I) in the popular action film The Wild Geese (1978).
The 1980s kicked off with Harris appearing in the silly Bo Derek vanity production Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981) and the remainder of the decade had him appearing in some very forgettable productions.
However, the luck of the Irish was once again to shine on Harris' career and he scored rave reviews (and another Oscar nomination) for The Field (1990). He then locked horns with Harrison Ford (I) as an IRA sympathizer in Patriot Games (1992) and got one of his best roles as gunfighter English Bob in the Clint Eastwood western Unforgiven (1992). Harris was firmly back in vogue and rewarded his fans with more wonderful performances in Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993); Cry, the Beloved Country (1995); The Great Kandinsky (1995) (TV) and This Is the Sea (1997). Further fortune came his way with a strong performance in the blockbuster Gladiator (2000) and he became known to an entirely new generation of film fans as Albus Dumbledore in the mega-successful Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). His final screen role was as "Lucius Sulla" in Julius Caesar (2002) (TV).
A diverse, vigorous and captivating actor, Richard Harris passed away from Hodgkin's Disease on October 25, 2002.
- Following his death, many of his family members wanted friend 'Peter O'Toole (I)' (qv) to take the role of Albus Dumbledore in _Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)_ (qv).
- Appears in _Patriot Games (1992)_ (qv) with 'James Fox (I)' (qv), whose niece is his daughter-in-law.
- He and 'Patrick Bergin' (qv) were two of the only Irish actors to play Irishmen in _Patriot Games (1992)_ (qv).
- In his youth he was a fan of 'Marlon Brando' (qv), and could imitate or parody his performance in _On the Waterfront (1954)_ (qv) at the drop of a hat. However he did not get along with Brando while filming _Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)_ (qv) and blamed the American star's on-set behavior for the film going over budget and over schedule. During the 1960s he often criticized Brando's eccentric movie choices in interviews.
- Father of director 'Damian Harris (I)' (qv), actors 'Jared Harris (I)' (qv), and 'Jamie Harris (I)' (qv).
- Was a pretty good rugby player in his day, still remembered in Limerick City for his tackling ability.
- He was a guest professor at the University of Scranton in the mid-1980s, teaching Theatre Arts courses.
- A bout with tuberculosis ended his ambition of becoming a professional rugby player.