Jonathan Harris

Jonathan Harris

87 (passed away Nov. 3rd, 2002)
Nov. 6th, 1914
Born in
Bronx, New York, USA
5' 11

Jonathan Harris' Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Lost in Space TV Show
Lost in Space
Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light TV Show
Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light
Space Academy TV Show
Space Academy
My Favorite Martians TV Show
My Favorite Martians
Channel Umptee-3 TV Show
Channel Umptee-3
The Third Man (UK) TV Show
The Third Man (UK)

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Born Jonathan Charasuchin in the Bronx to impoverished Russian-Jewish imiigrants, Jonathan Harris worked as a box boy in a pharmacy at age 12 and later earned his pharmacy degree at Fordham University. The desire to act proved overwhelming, however, and he forsook this promising trade for the theater, shaking off his thick Bronx accent and changing his surname to one easier to pronounce. After performing in over 100 plays in stock companies nationwide, he made his Broadway bow in 1942 with "Heart of a City" and entertained WWII troops in the South Pacific.

Following his introduction to live television drama in 1948, he ventured off to Hollywood and made his film debut, co-starring with Alan Ladd (I) and James Mason (I) in Botany Bay (1953). However, it was TV that would make him a household name - first as Bradley Webster in "The Third Man" (1959) opposite Michael Rennie, and then the role that made him a cult icon, Dr. Zachary Smith, the dastardly, effete stowaway on "Lost in Space" (1965), with Harris easily stealing the show week after week as he botched and mangled all the good intentions of the Robinson family to get back home to Earth. Unable to top this achievement and seriously typecast as a plummy villain, the remainder of his career was spent with great relish providing voice-over work in commercials and animated cartoons. Harris died of a blood clot to the heart just days before his 88th birthday.

  • He had 12 hobbies: watching movies, playing piano, dancing, listening to opera, gardening, knitting, cooking, traveling, magic, painting, reading, and spending time with children.
  • He changed his named from Charasuchin to Harris because his classmates from school were making fun of him.
  • Prior to co-starring with 'Gilbert Roland (I)' (qv) and 'Dina Merrill' (qv) in a movie that was never released, he almost died, while traveling to Cuba. At that time, 'Fidel Castro (I)' (qv) was on the verge of staging the coup. His crew were bombed at the airport. By the time filming was completed, Castro was in power as the new dictator, therefore the film was seized.
  • Of Russian and Polish descent.
  • Came up with a list of alliterative insults that eventually worked their way into popular speech on _"Lost in Space" (1965)_ (qv).
  • Before entering the show business, he watched lots of English movies to adopt the ways of a classical British actor.
  • Was encouraged to listen to opera by his father at age 12.
  • He was the only cast member of _"Lost in Space" (1965)_ (qv) who would not appear at fan-related conventions without being paid. His asking price was $500.

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