"I'm not interested in reputation or immortality, or things like that. I don't care if I'm remembered. I don't care if I'm not remembered. I don't care why I'm remembered. I genuinely don't care."
Richard Harris was a hell-raiser, a reputation built on his fiery lifestyle with the likes of Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole and Oliver Reed. He was also a highly respected actor with fifty movies to his name and two oscar nominations.
Richard Harris was born in Limerick in 1930, one of eight children of a flour-miller. His love of acting led Harris, in 1954, to move to London, where he studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art - Lamda, before joining Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop company, with whom he made his first professional appearance, in Brendan Behan's The Quare Fellow at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East.
After graduating, Harris spent nearly a decade in obscurity, learning his profession on stages throughout the UK and making a few films including The Wreck Of The Mary Deare (1961), The Long And The Short And The Tall (1961) and Mutiny On The Bounty (1962).
His big break however came in 1962. Lindsay Anderson cast Harris as Frank Machin, the aggressive and inarticulate rugby player, in the film This Sporting Life. Nominated for an Oscar, he rapidly became a major Hollywood name, playing opposite stars like Kirk Douglas (The Heroes of Telemark 1965), Charlton Heston (Major Dundee1965) and Julie Andrews (Hawaii 1966).
In 1967 Harris took one of the most significant roles in his career, which was eventually to make him a multi-millionaire. Although the Lerner-Loewe musical Camelot (1967), in which he portrayed King, was an expensive flop, he would later play the role - created by Richard Burton - many times on stage, both on Broadway and in London in the 1980s, and buy its rights. He also released a hit single - Jim Webb's MacArthur Park (1968) which sold five million copies worldwide.
The 70’s started well with A Man Called Horse (1970), but was for the most part a forgettable decade. "I consider a great part of my career a total failure," Harris said. "I went after the wrong things - got caught in the 60s. I picked pictures that were way below my talent. Just to have fun.".
Given the last rites by a priest after one drunken binge, Harris gave up the booze in the 1980s, an went into semi retirement. In the 90’s he returned to some impressive roles. His performance, as Bull McCabe in the 1990 film, the Field, brought him an Oscar nomination as Best Actor and he was also highly acclaimed as English Bob in Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven (1992)
In recent years, he appeared in the first two Harry Potter movies. His film portrayal of Professor Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwart's School, was perhaps his most successful role of all.
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