Richard Harris: Dumbledore’s Life of Excesses

Film and theater actor, as well as singer, Richard Harris for most of us it is mostly the gray-haired Albus silente in the famous transposition for the big screen of Harry Potter. The Irish interpreter in his career, however, also takes part in many other important films: in remembering him, a few years after his death, we take the opportunity to retrace his successes and also tell about his life devoted to acting, including unconventional wanderings and some unexpected excesses of a true star.

Richard Harris biography

Telling the biography of Richard Harris it’s a bit like narrating a bohemian novel: born on 1 October 1930 into a large Irish Catholic family in Limerick, he is the sixth of nine children. His parents, John Harris and Mildred Josephine Harty, own a mill. During the college years, Richard Harris he is very passionate about rugby, also becoming quite good, so much so that he soon becomes the representative of the second team of Munster: the dream of pursuing a career in the world of sport, however, vanishes for the young Richard when he discovers that he is suffering from a principle of tuberculosis.

After undergoing proper treatment, Harris decides to move into England with the intention of studying to become a director: once he arrives, he unfortunately realizes that there are no courses suitable for him, so he ends up enrolling in the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Artan acting academy (of which he is now president Benedict Cumberbatch). The tenacious Richard also attempts to enter the Royal Academy of Dramatic Artbut the audition is not successful, while the Central School of Speech and Drama he does not admit it because his 24 years at the time are considered too long.

Richard Harris’ proactive spirit pushes him, during his studies, to rent the baby Irving Theater: here he manages to produce and stage his version of Winter Journey (The Country Girl), by the American playwright Clifford Odets, obtaining a good response at the level of criticism but few collections. The fact is that Harris is left penniless and has to adapt to sleeping in a coal yard for several weeks because he is unable to pay for housing. Once his studies are finished, he joins the company Theater Workshop which allows him to act in practically any English theater, therefore to create a solid background as an actor. In addition to being a histrion, Richard Harris is a screenwriter, producer and singer. However, Harris’ conduct of life at the height of his success, between the 60s and 70s, is not the most irreproachable: he becomes famous for his addiction to alcohol and drug abuse, until, in 1981, he does not decide to retire to his home at Bahamas, becoming a teetotaler and practicing religious spirituality. The scourge of alcoholism also takes hold of Richard’s brother, Dermot, who died of this reason at the age of 49, in 1986.

For twelve years, from 1957 to 1969, his first marriage lasts with actress Elizabeth Rees-Williams, with whom he has three children: Damian, Jamie and Jared, now all engaged in the world of theater and cinema. In particular, Jared Harrisas an actor, he takes part in the cast of numerous successful TV series such as Mad Man, The Expanse And Chernobyl. Later, from 1974 to 1982, Richard Harris remains married to the American actress and model Ann Turkel. Among other things, Richard is also the uncle of Annabelle Wallis, Grace Shelby’s Peaky Blinders.

The actor and singer left us on October 25, 2002, a few days after he turned 72: how did Richard Harris die? In the summer of the same year he was hospitalized for a chest infection and, during the tests, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a tumor of the lymphatic system, which also turns out to be the one that for Richard Harris is the cause of death. A historical friend of the actor, Manuel Di Lucia, commissions the sculptor Seamus Connolly to make a posthumous life-size sculpture of Harris, depicted playing tennis, which today stands out in all its grandeur in Kilkee, Ireland: you know how tall was Richard Harris? Almost 1.85 m: clear that to remember him, since his ashes were scattered in the beloved Bahamas, a statue is ideal.

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Richard Harris, the movies

When Richard Harris’ career takes off, the actor is politically committed and left-sided: this is how his ideals coincide with those of the 1960s English cultural movement defined. Free Cinema. To found it are actors like Malcolm McDowell, Alan Bates, Vanessa Redgrave and even Harris are actively involved. Among those who of Richard Harris are the most important films of the early daysshould be mentioned Mutiny on the Bountyfrom 1962, in which he plays alongside Marlon Brando and Camelotby Joshua Logan from 1967: right King Arthur played by Richard Harris in Camelot it’s on Broadwayin the musical version adaptation, staged in 1982.

Other famous productions in which Harris takes part are Red desertfrom Michelangelo Antonioni of 1964, Smilla’s sense of snowwith the participation of Redgrave, of 1997 e Gladiatorby Ridley Scott, 2000. However in recent times what has stood out most Richard Harris is Harry Potterwith his participation in the film saga of the wizard born from the pen of JK Rowling. You have understood who is the actor who makes Dumbledore? Well, it is precisely our protagonist: Richard Harris plays Dumbledore as far as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when his death comes. At first, many think that his great friend replaces him in the series Peter O’Toolehowever in the end the chosen one to fill the post of Richard Harris is Michael Gambon, Irish actor. Little curiosity: Richard Harris’ character in Harry Potter his name is Albus Dumbledore, in reality. He is not the only Harris to have, unfortunately, passed away among the actors of Harry Potter: among the most illustrious deaths there are also that of Richard Griffithswho plays Uncle Vernon, Alan Rickmanthe unforgettable Snape, Robert Hardy and Robert Knox, respectively as Cornelius Fudge and Marcus Belb.

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Richard Harris: Dumbledore’s Life of Excesses