Richard John Harris was an Irish actor and singer. He appeared on stage and in many films, notably as Frank Machin in This Sporting Life, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Harris had a number-one singing hit in Australia and Canada, and a top-ten hit in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and United States with his 1968 recording of MacArthur Park.
About Richard Harris in brief
Richard John Harris was an Irish actor and singer. He appeared on stage and in many films, notably as Frank Machin in This Sporting Life, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He played an aristocrat captured by American Indians in A Man Called Horse, a gunfighter in Clint Eastwood’s Western film Unforgiven, Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator, and Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films. Harris had a number-one singing hit in Australia and Canada, and a top-ten hit in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and United States with his 1968 recording of Jimmy Webb’s song MacArthur Park. In 2020, he was listed at number 3 on The Irish Times list of Ireland’s greatest film actors. Harris was born on 1 October 1930, in Limerick. He was schooled by the Jesuits at Crescent College. A talented rugby player, he appeared on several Munster Junior and Senior Cup teams for Crescent, and played for Garryowen. Harris’s athletic career was cut short when he caught tuberculosis in his teens. After recovering from tuberculosis, Harris moved to Great Britain, wanting to become a director. He enrolled in the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art to learn acting. He spent nearly a decade in obscurity, learning his profession on stages throughout the UK. Harris made his film debut in 1959 in the film Alive and Kicking. He then played the lead role in The Ginger Man in the West End in 1959.
Harris followed this with a leading role in Italian film, Antonioni’s Il Deserto Rosso. This won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Harris received an offer to support Kirk Douglas in a war film, The Heroes of Telemark, playing a Norwegian resistance leader. He went to Hollywood to support Charlton Heston in Heston’s Major Dundee, directed by Syd von Sydow. As a change of pace he was the lead in a spoof romantic comedy, Doris Day, directed by Frank Tashlin. Harris played an Irish immigrant who became a Confederate cavalryman during the American Civil War in The Bible: In the Beginning. He played another IRA Volunteer in A Terrible Beauty, alongside Robert Mitchum. Harris reportedly insisted on third billing, behind Trevor Howard and Marlon Brando, for his role in Mutiny on the Bounty, despite being virtually unknown to film audiences. He had a memorable bit part in The Guns of Navarone as a Royal Australian Air Force pilot who reports that blowing up the \”bloody guns\” of the island ofNavarone is impossible by an air raid. The film was shot in Ireland and directed by Michael Anderson who offered Harris a role in his next movie, The Wreck of the Mary Deare, shot in Hollywood. Harris starred alongside Julie Andrews and Max Von Sydow in Hawaii, which was successful at the box office at box office. He also appeared in The Long and the Short and the Tall, playing a British soldier.