The legend of Richard Harris was born in 1930. He was an actor, a singer and a film director. There is a reason why we have no choice other than calling him a legend even after eighteen years of his death. Behind all of his talents that he himself acquired, was an even more interesting personality. It’s people like him that are unapologetically fun and always have got stories to tell. But all the merrymaking did not stop him from being a warm person. He lived a wild yet meaningful life. He was passionate about his work, and it showed on the screen while he was also an alcoholic hellraiser off the screen. Most of us remember him from his role as Albus Dumbledore in the initial Harry Potter movies. His acting career was slightly more successful than his recording career. However, both the fields fetched him immense fame and success. Richard had also dipped his feet in producing and writing. Let’s get to know more about him.
His early life and acting career
Richard St. John Harris was born on the first day of October in 1930, in Limerick, Ireland. He went to a catholic school at first and then moved to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in order to learn acting. Richard actually wanted to become a director, but at that period of time, there were no courses available for film directing. That’s why he decides to go for acting. The year of 1958 was blessed because that’s when Richard Harris decided to make his stage debut, after which he was seen in the movie Alive and Kicking. This movie was produced in Britain. Richard then went ahead to play side and supporting roles in some of the big Hollywood movies like The Guns of Navarone, Mutiny on the Bounty, and The Wreck of the Mary Deare.
Richard Harris won an award at Cannes for his acting in This Sporting Life, which was released in 1963. It was his first award as an actor. This blessed movie even got him nominated for an Oscar. After this movie, he made his way to stardom and a universal appearance. In his days, Richard was the face of British and Irish actors for the rest of the world.
Richard became a cultural icon after his role in A Man Called Horse, which was released in 1970. This movie pulled him back to the British box office draw. A lot of people remember him for this particular role. The movie had a couple of sequels almost thirteen years later in which Richard starred again. Most critics appreciate his work to date.
While Richard was busy being famous as an actor, he also entered the world of music. He wanted to sing, and he did. Camelot, the musical play, was adapted by Warner Bros in the year of 1967, and Richard made an appearance in it as King Arthur. It was his first break as a singer. Everyone that saw the movie started appreciating Richard as a singer too, as most of them already knew him for his acting. It would only be fair to call the film sluggish if Richard was not in it.
A year passed, and Richard was offered a proposed recording stint by Jimmy Webb. With all the luck, this offer became a famous and long project. Jimmy Webb was also a songwriter and had written a few hits. MacArthur Park was an intended cantata that he wrote and offered to the famous pop group the Association. Fortunately enough, it was rejected by them, but Richard gladly recorded it, and it was issued on the Dunhill label. The song was unusually long and had multiple structures. It was not very common in the sixties. However, the dong was trending and rose to number two on Billboard.
Richard Harris had also earned a name in the recording industry. He recorded Richard Bach’s best-selling novella Jonathan Livingston Seagull in the audiobook version. This particular work won him a Grammy award in the year of 1973. Richard also recorded and released his reading of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Throughout his lifespan, he recorded and released thirteen albums and around twelve singles.
His last few years
In his last few years, Richard gave a rest to his singing and recording career and stuck to acting. He gave some brilliant movies like The Unforgiven and Gladiator. Richard also got to play lead roles in his last few films like The Beloved Country and Cry.
Having played and sung his part on the stage of life, Richard Harris got diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and kissed the audience goodbye on the thirtieth of October in 2002 in kissed England.