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 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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