Though he once declared, “I hate movies. They’re a waste of time,” Irish actor Richard Harris built a film career that lasted six decades and withstood a long fallow period in the 1970s and ‘80s. Often as famous for his offscreen exploits as his acting, Harris nevertheless was lauded for charismatic performances ranging from the tough, inarticulate rugby player in This Sporting Life (1963) to the wry bounty hunter in Unforgiven (1992) and the contemplative emperor in Gladiator (2000). After winning over a new generation of fans with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harris passed away in 2002.
Born in Limerick, Ireland, Harris was the fifth of nine children. More interested in sports than art, Harris became a top rugby player in his teens. His sports career, however, ended after he came down with tuberculosis at age 19. Bed-ridden for two years, Harris read voraciously to pass the time. Calling his illness the “luckiest… read more