Phil Harris

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Phil Harris

Born

6/24/1904, Linton, Indiana, USA

Died

8/11/1995

Birth Name

Wonga Philip Harris

Gender

Male
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
4 votes

Biography

EDIT

When drummer/bandleader Phil Harris made his screen debut in the RKO short So This is Harris (1933), his screen image was that of a wavy-haired Lothario, utterly irresistible to women. When Harris became a regular on Jack Benny's radio broadcasts of the 1930s and 1940s, his persona began…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Phil Harris was replaced as Jack Benny's bandleader by Bob Crosby, the brother of Phil's good friend Bing Crosby.

    • Phil Harris was an avid golfer.

    • Phil Harris had two daughters, Phyllis and Alice.

    • Jack Benny described Phil Harris' appeal by saying, "Phil Harris is a typical fresh guy found in every town. For some reason or another people seem to love that type of fellow."

    • Phil Harris' improvised dialogue as Baloo impressed filmmakers so much that The Jungle Book was rewritten to give Baloo more of Harris' personality.

    • For their performances in The Jungle Book, Phil Harris and Louis Prima improvised all of their own scatting.

    • Phil Harris voiced singing bears in two animated Walt Disney films. He was Baloo in The Jungle Book (1967) and Little John in Robin Hood (1973).

    • Phil Harris and Alice Faye joined the big band revue radio show The Fitch Bandwagon, but due to the duo's popularity, the show evolved into their comedy series The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show.

    • Phil Harris' final film role was Don Bluth's Rock-a-Doodle, in which he voiced the farm dog Patou.

    • Phil Harris' signature song was "That's What I Like About the South."

    • Because Phil Harris' show aired immediately after Jack Benny's on NBC, Harris would only appear during the first half of The Jack Benny Program. He would then leave CBS and walk one block to NBC down the street, arriving just in time for the start of his own show.

    • While many radio comedians followed Jack Benny to CBS in 1949, Phil Harris and Alice Faye kept their show on NBC. Phil Harris continued to appear on Benny's show until 1952.

    • Phil Harris and his band performed at President Harry S. Truman's inaugural in 1949. It was used as the springboard for an episode of The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, in which Harris fumed over a lack of invitation to the inaugural ball.

    • While they were starring on their popular radio show, Phil Harris and Alice Faye starred in an episode of Suspense directed by their co-star Elliott Lewis. Titled "Death on My Hands," it starred Harris as a touring bandleader. When a girl came to his dressing room to get an autograph, she reached for a photo in an suitcase, the suitcase fell to the floor and a gun inside discharged, shooting her to death and provoking a local lynch mob. Faye played his former band singer.

    • During World War II, Phil Harris joined the Merchant Marines from December 1942 to March 1943.

    • After Bing Crosby died, Phil Harris filled in for his friend, providing color commentary for the broadcast of the annual Bing Crosby Pro-Am Golf Tournament.

    • In the 1970s and early 1980s, Phil Harris led a band that played in Las Vegas, sometimes on the same bill with swing era legend Harry James.

    • Phil Harris' recording of the novelty hit "The Thing" was on the Billboard charts for 14 weeks, eventually hitting #1 when it was released in 1950.

    • In 1936, Phil Harris joined The Jell-O Program as Jack Benny's bandleader. He remained with Benny's show for 15 years, and became an important part of Benny's ensemble cast.

    • Phil Harris had planned to reprise his role of Baloo in TaleSpin, but due to his age, he was unable to voice the character. He was replaced with actor Ed Gilbert.

  • Quotes

    • Phil Harris: If it hadn't been for radio, I would still be a traveling orchestra leader. For 17 years I played one-night stands, sleeping on buses. I never even voted, because I didn't have any residence.

    • Phil Harris: I can't die until the government finds a safe place to bury my liver.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Look for the Bare Necessities...

    9.5
    I first heard Phil Harris' voice in his Disney films and loved his folksy style. Later, as I got into collecting old-time radio shows, I heard him as Jack Benny's bandleader, with his Dean Martin-style loveable lush character. If you ever get the chance to check out some of those old shows, you should...they hold up very well today and Harris provides some of the biggest laughs. Some people say Dean Martin lifted his "drunk" act from Phil Harris, and it was an essential part of Harris' "character" on Jack Benny and on his own show with Alice Faye. His legacy will live for as long as people love The Jungle Book, Robin Hood and The AristoCats.moreless
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