Richard Harris

Richard Harris


10/1/1930, Limerick, Ireland



Birth Name

Richard St. John Harris


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Richard was born in Limerick in 1930, one of eight children born to Limerick farmer Ivan Harris and his wife, the former Mildred Harty. His father was wealthy, and Richard was surrounded by servants. However, it didn't last, and the company collapsed so Richard spent the rest of…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Richard would frequently sign 'Peter O'Toole' when autograph hunters approached him, for fun.

    • In the 1996 Centenary of Irish Cinema Irish Postage Stamps, Richard appeared in recognition of The Field.

    • The British Independent Film Awards named an award after Richard, 'The Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Film'.

    • Richard was such a popular long-term guest at the Savoy, that they named a cocktail after him ... 'Camelot Fizz'.

    • In Kilkee, Ireland in the Charlie St George pub, there is a wall of photographs of Richard, known as the Dickie Harris Corner. It was a favoured drinking spot of Richard's.

    • Richard Harris received the following awards and nominations for his work as an actor:

      2003 - Nominated for the PFCS Award Best Acting Ensemble for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
      2002 - Nominated for the British Independent Film Award for Best Actor for My Kingdom (2001).
      2001 - Received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Empire Awards, UK.
      2001 - Nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture for Gladiator (2000).
      2000 - Received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Wine Country Film Festival.
      2000 - Received a Life Achievement Award at the European Film Awards.
      1993 - Won the Bronze Wrangler for Best Theatrical Motion Picture for Unforgiven (1992).
      1991 - Nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Field (1990).
      1991 - Nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama for The Field (1990).
      1990 - London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor for his performance in Henry IV.
      1983 - Nominated for the ACE Award for Best Actor in a Theatrical or Musical Program for Camelot (1982).
      1982 - Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor for Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981).
      1972, Richard was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for The Snow Goose (1971).
      1971 - Won the Bronze Wrangler for Best Theatrical Motion Picture for A Man Called Horse (1970).
      1971 - Won the Prize for Best Actor for Cromwell (1970) at the Moscow International Film Festival.
      1971 - Nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear for his appearance in the film Bloomfield (1971).
      1968 - Won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy for Camelot (1967).
      1964 - Nominated for the BAFTA Film Award for Best British Actor for This Sporting Life (1963).
      1964 - Nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for This Sporting Life (1963).
      1963 - Won the Best Actor award for This Sporting Life (1963) at the Cannes Film Festival.

      The Laurence Olivier Award for his acclaimed performances at the Royal National Theatre, London, England.

    • In 1973, Richard published his only book of Poetry called I, in the membership of my days.

    • In 2002, Richard narrated a behind-the-scenes promotional trailer for the film, Teresa (bio-pic of Mother Teresa, starring Olivia Hussey).

    • Richard revised Shakespeare's Julius Caesar at the University of Scranton in 1988 (Playwright / Director / Actor). He titled his rewrite Julius Caeser: A Work in Progress and used primarily actors attending school at the University of Scranton (Harris played Caeser). He also used composer Terry James to score the play.

    • Richard was the founder of Excalibur Productions, a Theatrical touring business.

    • Richard's 1968 album A Tramp Shining, written and produced by Jimmy Webb, featured Webb's classic "Macarthur Park" that was a US/UK hit for Harris.

    • Richard and Patrick Bergin were two of the only Irish actors to play Irishmen in Patriot Games (1992).

    • It was Richard's lifelong ambition to play Hamlet. He never did, although he referred to This Sporting Life (1962) as his Hamlet and The Field (1990) as his Lear. He later had one final attempt at an updated version of Lear with My Kingdom (2001).

    • Richard was a notorious alcoholic, he gave up drinking completely in 1981 and returned to drinking Guinness a decade later.

    • Richard once said in an interview that he had a great fascination with authority figures and their use of power. During his career he portrayed "King Arthur" in Camelot (1967), "Oliver Cromwell" in Cromwell (1970), "King Richard the Lionheart" in Robin and Marian (1976), "Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius" in Gladiator (2000), and "Headmaster Albus Dumbledore" in the first two Harry Potter films.

    • Richard was a Member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford Upon Avon, England, since the early 1960s. His last appearance on the Swan stage (RSC main) was in the mid-1990s.

    • Both Richard and his fellow Irish actor (and close friend), Peter O'Toole appeared in versions of Gulliver's Travels: Harris played the title character in the 1977 film version and O'Toole played the Emperor of Lilliput in the 1996 TV-film version, where Ted Danson played Gulliver.

    • Richard appeared on stage in the following plays:

      (1947) Easter by August Strindberg. At the Playhouse in Limerick, Ireland.
      (1956) Winter Journey (based on The Country Girl) by Clifford Odet, at the Irving Theatre London. Also directed by Richard.
      (1956) The Quare Fellow by Brendan Behan. At the Comedy Theatre, London.
      (1957) Macbeth, by Shakespeare, at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London; Zurich and on the Moscow tour.
      (1957) You Won't Always Be At The Top by Henry Chapman, at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London.
      (1957) And the wind blew by Edgar de Rocha Miranda, at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London.
      (1958) Man, Beast & Virtue by Luigi Pirandekko, at the Theatre Royal, Stratford east and The Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London.
      (1958) Love and Lectures (the Bernard Shaw-Ellen Terry Letters), at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London.
      (1958) The Pier by James Forsyth, at the Bristol Old Vic, England.
      (1959) The Dutch Courtesan by John Marston, at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London.
      (1959) Richard appeared in Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'be by Frank Norman and Lionel Bart, at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London.
      (1959) The Ginger Man by JP Donleavy, at the Fortune Theatre, London and the Gaiety Theatre Dublin.
      (1963) (1990) Henry IV by Luigi Pirandello on the British Tour and at Wyndham's Theatre, London.
      (1981-1982, 1986) as"King Arthur" in the musical Camelot by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. He went on a United States Tour, 1981-82. Also at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, London, 1982. And again in a world wide tour including Japan and Australia, 1986.
      (1989) played the "King" in Pirandello's Enrico Quarto in London's West End.
      (1990) Henry IV by Luigi Pirandello on the British Tour and at Wyndham's Theatre, London.

    • Richard died shortly before the U.S. premiere of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).

    • Richard's brother Dermot was married to actress Cassandra Harris and had two children. After his death she married Pierce Brosnan and they became Brosnan's stepchildren.

    • While Richard was still a student, he rented the tiny "off-West End" Irving Theatre in London, and directed his own production of Odets' Winter Journey (The Country Girl). The critics approved, but the production used up all his savings, and he was forced to sleep in a coal cellar for six weeks.

    • Richard's ambition of becoming a professional rugby player was abruptly ended after he suffered a bout with tuberculosis.

    • Richard was knighted in Denmark in 1985.

    • Richard, Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton were drinking buddies in the early 1970s till Burton's death.

    • Richard joined the Knights of Malta (SMOM), despite his two divorces.

    • Richard received an Honorary Doctorate from the University Of Scranton in 1987, and was a guest professor there, teaching Theatre Arts courses in the mid 1980s.

    • Richard was considered a pretty good rugby player in his day, still remembered in Limerick City for his tackling ability.

    • Richard was 6' 1" (1.85 m) tall.

    • Richard sadly died during filming of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Some scenes still included him.

    • Richard only accepted the role of "Dumbledore" after his 11 year old granddaughter threatened to never speak to him again if he didn't do it.

    • Richard voice the O2 Commercials in the UK before he died.

  • Quotes

    • (on hearing his part in "The Barber of Siberia" had been among many cuts to the film)
      Richard: I had a wonderful time in Russia making the film. Nikita is a genius. It was the best script I've ever read and I'm convinced that his original version would have been a masterpiece. But they have cut it to pieces and it doesn't make any sense. And they've cut me to pieces. It was a huge great leading role and I'm just a small feature in it now. That nine months of my life has been wasted.

    • (on why he initially turned down the part of Dumbledore in the "Harry Potter" films)
      Richard: Anyone involved has to agree to be in the sequels, all of them, and that's not how I wanted to spend the last years of my life, so I said no over and over again.

    • (when asked if he had read the "Harry Potter" books)
      Richard: I haven't, even today I haven't read them. Not because they're not grand, I know they're great. I love the script, but I don't read fiction, it's as simple as that. There's more fiction in my life than in books, so I don't bother with them.

    • (on his desire to play Rugby for Ireland)
      Richard: I'll tell you this, two Golden Globes, one Grammy, five Grammy nominations, two American Academy Award nominations, two British Academy Award nominations, one Cannes Film Festival award, four gold records, one platinum record and so on. I am also a multi-millionaire and do you know what? I'd give it all up tomorrow, the whole lot, for one Irish cap. Just one.

    • (as he was stretchered out of The Savoy Hotel following his collapse through illness, Richard let his sense of humour shine through)
      Richard: It was the food. It was the food!

    • (on taking Viagra in his 70s)
      Richard: I was taking this woman out to dinner afterwards and couldn't zip up my trousers. I couldn't get it down. I wouldn't use it again. Your heart has to be good to take it.

    • Richard: No one trusts me any more. I spent half the movie Maigret (1988) arguing with people, and I was accused of causing big on-set rows. But what they won't tell you is I fought for Simeneon. I fought for the maintenance of quality. I don't believe in lying down on the job. I've seen these so-called 'nice' actors. Very able fellows like Ian McKellen and Kenneth Branagh. But they're like bank managers. So sweet and careful. Who needs them? We are suffering a plague of good taste. Give me Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke any day. They project danger. That's what makes acting - and life - interesting.

    • Richard: (His response to hearing he had been Oscar nominated for "This Sporting Life", 1963) I've struck a blow for the Irish rebellion!

  • Great :)

    I haven't seen any of Harris's works besides as Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films. In those films though, he was absolutely amazing. When many people first saw him, they knew who he was without question: the Dumbledore we had only read about. He had been brought to life right in front of us and for many, he was exactly the way we imagined it. He was kind, and loving and that was displayed in the first scene but also in one of the last of The Philosopher's Stone. He played an amazing Dumbledore for the first two movies and the Potter fandom mourned his death in 2002 where it meant the end of the perfect Dumbledore. Thank you Richard Harris, R.I.P.moreless
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    Richard Harris played Dubledore in the first two Harry Potter movies until he sadly past away. He was so much better than his replacement. Much more calm and is ready for EVERY situation. RIP