Richard St John Harris was born on 1 st October 1930 in Limerick, Ireland. As a child, Harris enjoyed literature and rugby, and he dreamed of playing Rugby for Ireland. However, after leaving school Harris went to work at the family flour mills, where he was required to learn about the different types of grain and how the business was run.
During his later teenage years, Richard contracted TB, and this wiped out any thoughts of a sporting career. Instead, he developed an interest in acting after seeing the play Pirandello's Henry IV, starring Michael MacLiammoir. In 1955 he attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and from there he went on to Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop.
Richard made his film debut in 1958, in ‘Alive And Kicking’. After this he tool on movies such as ‘Shake Hands with the Devil’, and ‘The Wreck Of The Mary Deare’. He was now starring opposite stars such as James Cagney, Charlton Heston and Gary Cooper. He continued to enjoy success throughout the 1960s, even breaking into a successful music career in the late 1960s.
The 1970s saw Harris return to acting on a fulltime basis, starring in movies such as ‘Cromwell’, and ‘The Molly Maguires’. However, the mid- and late-1970s saw him sink into a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol, which continued into the 1980s. He spent most of the 1980s acting on stage, taking over from Richard Burton on the Broadway stage, and on TV after Burton passed away.However, Harris managed to pull himself back up and eventually managed to get back into movies on a huge scale, taking on major roles in movies such as ‘Patriot Games’, ‘Unforgiven’, ‘Gladiator’, ‘Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’. In 2002 Harris had to undergo Chemotherapy in London after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease. He passed away on 25 th October 2002.
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