Richard Harris

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Richard Harris (1985)

Richard St. John Harris (born October 1, 1930 in Limerick , Ireland , † October 25, 2002 in London , United Kingdom ) was an Irish actor and singer .

life and work

Richard Harris was born in 1930 in Limerick, Ireland to a farming family and attended a Jesuit college . He was initially aiming for a career as a rugby player, but had to give up this plan after contracting tuberculosis despite his great athletic talent. After attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Harris was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon , England, from the 1960s . His greatest wish was to play Hamlet one day, but that never happened.

Harris made his debut in 1958 in The Iron Harp as a television actor and began his successful cinema career the following year. In 1959 he played alongside the Hollywood film icon Gary Cooper in Die Not Afraid of Death , in 1961 he had a small role in the lavish war film The Guns of Navarone , where he appeared alongside Gregory Peck . In Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) he acted alongside leading actor Marlon Brando as a rebellious sailor. His career received a decisive boost when he was nominated for an Oscar in 1963 for the film Alluring Laurel . He received the Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1963 for his performance in this film .

In the 1960s and 1970s, the blond, athletic Harris was a major international star, appearing in numerous classics and hit movies. He starred in artistically demanding films like Michelangelo Antonioni's The Red Desert (1963), in westerns like Sierra Charriba (1964, alongside Charlton Heston ), directed by John Huston in the epic The Bible (1964) or in action films like Password “Heavy Water ” (1965, alongside Kirk Douglas ). In 1967, Harris co-hosted the 39th Academy Awards for Award in Documentaries. Two years later, tough late-western A Man They Called Horse became one of the actor's biggest hits. He embodied a European who was captured by the Indians and taken into the tribe after extremely cruel rites. The film drew the two sequels The Man They Called Horse - Part 2 (1976) and Triumph of the Man They Called Horse (1982).

In the 1970 reality-based drama Cursed to Judgment Day , Harris played a miner opposite Sean Connery . As an aged Robin Hood, Connery was also his acting partner in Robin and Marian (1976), in which Harris portrayed the historical figure of Richard the Lionheart as a cruel crusader. He took on another historical role as the title actor in Cromwell - War to the King (1970). In 1974 Harris acted as a bomb disposal specialist in the thriller 18 Hours to Eternity , and in 1976 he starred in the disaster film Cassandra Crossing . In the tough action film The Wild Geese Come 1978, he acted as a mercenary alongside Richard Burton and Roger Moore . In Orca - The Killer Whale (1977) he played a fisherman who is challenged by a giant orca whale.

Richard Harris was also successful as a singer. In 1968 he recorded his first record with A Tramp Shining . The single MacArthur Park was a huge international hit and sold over a million times. Thanks to his vocal talents he had a use in the movie version of the Broadway -Stückes Camelot (1967), in which he gave the King Arthur sang and played - in addition to Vanessa Redgrave as Guenevere and spaghetti western star Franco Nero as Lancelot Du Lac. All three can be heard with their original voices on the film music record.

In 1974 he recorded the album The Prophet Kahlil [sic!] Gibran. A musical interpretation featuring Richard Harris on Atlantic on; there Harris read selected passages from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran to music composed and arranged by Arif Mardin .

In the 1980s Harris was hardly present as a film actor, but from the 1990s onwards he was often used as a mature character actor in concise supporting roles ( The Hour of the Patriots , 1992, Merciless , 1993, Miss Smilla's Sensation for Snow , 1997). In 2000 he acted in Ridley Scott's successful monumental film Gladiator as Emperor Marc Aurel , who is murdered by his own son.

The following year Harris first played his most popular age role, the white-bearded professor Albus Dumbledore , whom he played in two Harry Potter films. According to his own statement, he took on this role because his eleven-year-old granddaughter threatened to never speak to him again if he did not portray the well-known character. Two days before the US premiere of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Richard Harris died of Hodgkin's disease , a cancer of the lymphatic system. Until recently he had declared that despite his illness he wanted to take on the role of professor again in the third part of Harry Potter . In the later films, Dumbledore was played by Michael Gambon , who spoke him with a slight Irish accent in memory of Harris. This cannot be heard in the German dubbed version. Harris' ashes were scattered around his home in the Bahamas .

Marriages and families

Harris was married to Elizabeth Rees (Elizabeth Rees-Williams) from 1957 to 1969. They have three sons, the director and screenwriter Damian Harris (* 1958) and the actors Jared Harris (* 1961) and Jamie Harris (* 1963, actually Tudor St. John Harris). In his second marriage, Harris was married to the American actress Ann Turkel from 1974 to 1982 . Richard Harris was considered an alcoholic for decades but gave up drinking in the early 1980s.

German voice actors

Richard Harris lent their voices to several voice actors. Particularly noteworthy are Michael Chevalier (in The Wild Geese Come , The Hour of the Patriots or Monte Cristo ), Klaus Kindler (in 18 hours to eternity ) and the actor Klaus Höhne , who played the synchronous role of “Prof. Albus Dumbledore ”in the Harry Potter films. Other Harris speakers were Gert Günther Hoffmann , Reinhard Glemnitz , Claus Biederstaedt and Werner Ehrlicher .



  • 1963: Cannes International Film Festival 1963 , Palme d'Or, best actor in Alluring Laurel (1963)
  • 1964: Oscar nomination, best leading actor in Alluring Laurel
  • 1964: British Film Academy Award nomination, best British actor in Alluring Laurels
  • 1968: Golden Globe for Camelot - At the court of King Arthur
  • 1969: Grammy for Best Arrangement with Accompaniment for MacArthur Park
  • 1971: Nomination for the Golden Bear for Bloomfield
  • 1971: "Bronze Wrangler" from the Western Heritage Awards for A Man They Called a Horse
  • 1971: Prize of the Moscow International Film Festival for Cromwell - War on the King
  • 1982: Golden Raspberry nomination, worst actor in Tarzan - Lord of the Jungle
  • 1991: Oscar nomination, best actor in The Field
  • 1991: Golden Globe nomination, best actor (drama) in Das Feld
  • 1993: "Bronze Wrangler" of the Western Heritage Awards for Merciless
  • 2001: Dilys Powell Award at the London Critics Circle Film Awards
  • 2002: British Independent Film Award (posthumous) for My Kingdom

Awards for life's work

Richard Harris Award
In 2002 the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) donated the Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor in memory of his life's work . The prize has been awarded since 2003 at the BIFA awards ceremony. Previous winners are John Hurt (2003), Bob Hoskins (2004), Tilda Swinton (2005), Jim Broadbent (2006), Ray Winstone (2007), David Thewlis (2008), Daniel Day-Lewis (2009), Helena Bonham Carter (2010), Ralph Fiennes (2011), Michael Gambon (2012), Julie Walters (2013), Emma Thompson (2014), Chiwetel Ejiofor (2015), Alison Steadman (2016), Vanessa Redgrave (2017), Judi Dench (2018 ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. At the recording session at Atlantic, u. a. Armen Halburian took part as a percussionist and keyboardist Bob James , with background vocals (the background singers included a young Barry Manilow )