Richard Harris
Richard Harris

Character Portrayed in Gladiator: Emperor Marcus Aurelius

Born: October 1, 1930; Limerick, Ireland
Died: October 25, 2002; London, England; Hodgkin's Disease

Richard Harris: Bio
Richard Harris was born in Limerick, Ireland on October 1, 1930, one of nine children of Ivan and Mildred Harris. He graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and then spent several years on the British stage before making his movie debut in Alive and Kicking in 1958. He followed his debut up with solid supporting roles in Shake Hands with the Devil (1959), The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959), The Guns of Navarone (1961) and The Mutiny on the Bounty (1962).

In 1963, he became a sought-after leading man following his potrayal of a coal miner turned rugby star in The Sporting Life, which earned Harris an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor in 1964. Roles in Major Dundee (1965), The Heroes of Telemark (1965), The Bible (1966) and Hawaii (1966). His career and personal life now dipped with disappointments of Camelot (1967), Cromwell (1970) and Molly Maguires (1970) as well as his 1969 divorce from Elizabeth Rees, whom he had married in 1957.

Things picked back up with A Man Called Horse (1970) and The Snow Goose (1971), but most of his films for the remainder of the decade were less than stellar, while he enjoyed the high life with his drinking buddies: Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton. He did remarry in 1974 to Ann Turkel. The union would last until 1981. In the 1980's, he worked sporadically in Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981), Martin's Day (1984) and Mack the Knife (1990).

Harris' career was rejuvinated following his 1991 Academy Award Best Actor Nomination for The Field (1990). High profile roles followed in Patriot Games (1992), Unforgiven and Wrestling Ernest Hemingway. Sam Shepard's Silent Tongue (1993) turned out to be a disappointment and his work slowed again. He filled out the decade with Cry, the Beloved Country (1995), Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997), To Walk With Lions (1999) and Grizzly Falls (1999).

Harris had been in retirement, but the poignent role in Gladiator (2000) got him in front of the camera again. He again retired until his eleven year old niece threatened to not speak to him if he didn't take the role of Headmaster Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). A role in a Julius Caesar television miniseries then followed. In the last few months leading up to his death, Harris had been undergoing treatment for Hodgkin's Disease.

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