TO millions of Harry Potter fans, Richard Harris was the gentle and wise wizard Albus Dumbledore.
But the late actor’s three sons saw a very different side to the hell-raising star — as they reveal in a new tell-all documentary.
Damian, Jared and Jamie recall their father, quien murió en 2002 a la edad de 72, as a man who devoured huge quantities of cocaína in front of them — and got into a bar brawl at the age of 70.
In his younger years, Harris had a reputation as a showbiz wildman — a heavy-drinking womaniser with a quick temper.
There are tales of the Gladiador actor hiring a private jet for a seven-day post-divorce blow-out after splitting with first wife Elizabeth Rees-Williams in 1969, as well as fighting with pals, arguing with directors and hitting on a NUN.
He recalls: “I walked into his bedroom and it was like a scene from Scarface.
“He’d dropped this pound of cocaine on the carpet and it had burst open and his face was just in the middle of it. He was unpredictable.”
While most relatives of the rich and famous might be tempted to sugarcoat their legacy, Harris’s three boys are honest about his failings in Sky Arts film The Ghost Of Richard Harris, which screens tomorrow.
There are also tears as they discuss a complex man who clearly loved them deeply.
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Ícono de la música hip hop FALLECIDO Limerick, Irlanda, to wealthy parents, Harris spent more than a decade working as an actor in England before finding fame as the star of 1963 film This Sporting Life, for which he secured an Óscar nomination.
This was followed by classic movies such as The Heroes Of Telemark (1965), Camelot (1967) and A Man Called Horse (1970).
He once confessed: “I’m an excessive person. I can resist my first drink but not the second.
“When I drank I devoured alcohol. When I did coke I devoured coke. When I went on my amorous exploits I devoured women.”
When Harris and Elizabeth divorced after 12 años de matrimonio, Harris hired a private jet for a week-long celebration across Europe.
And he invited a press photographer to record the itinerary, which included a trip to a brothel in Hamburg.
Bill Rowntree, the man charged with capturing the revelry, reveals that in Paris: “The first thing Richard did was try to chat up an American nun.”
I’m an excessive person. I can resist my first drink but not the second. When I drank I devoured alcohol. When I did coke I devoured coke. When I went on my amorous exploits I devoured women.
Harris’s sons are unimpressed by this putting up of two fingers at their mum.
The Crown actor Jared, 61, dice: “Mum would have seen that in the paper and been deeply upset.”
But it does seem both parents had a sense of humour about the end of their relationship, exchanging “divorce gifts” which made their feelings very clear.
Harris gave Elizabeth “a cowbell so he could hear her coming” and she sent him an empty birdcage to put his next wife in.
En 1974 he married model turned actress Ann Turkel, quien fue 16 años más joven que él.
Eldest son Damian, 64, a film director, dice: “Ann was younger than my father by quite a bit. They got together on a movie set.
“They became very much a fixture in Los Angeles, partly to help her as an actress. He basically used himself as bait saying, ‘I’ll do the movie if you put her in it’, and they were all terrible films.”
Ellos divorced en 1982 after eight years, with Harris saying: “My restlessness was too enormous.”
Their break-up followed the most turbulent period of his life.
Having once said he never gave into the Hollywood “game”, he spent much of the 1970s making poorly received action movies.
He was even sued by the makers of 1977 thriller Golden Rendezvous for allegedly holding up the production with his drinking.
Malachy, ahora 91, remembered two women telling him what a great barman Harris was because he gave them free drinks.
After Harris quit the job, él dice: “We found a cheque for $3,000 in the till with a note saying ‘This is for all I gave away.’ ”
Cocaine was a bigger problem, aunque. “I almost died a couple of times,” Harris once admitted.
After waking up in intensive care in 1978 he finally quit the drug.
Dad hits the guy with a sucker punch. He pretends to put his Guinness down and then leaps up and knocks the man out.
As he grew older, Harris spent more time with his sons, who all followed him into acting.
Singer songwriter Jimmy Webb, 76, who wrote the hit single MacArthur Park for Harris in 1968, dicho: “He loved his children more than any man I’d seen.”
But despite giving up drugs and reining in his boozing, Harris never curbed his short temper.
Jared tells how his dad even knocked out a younger man when he was aged 70.
He recalls: “Dad hits the guy with a sucker punch. He pretends to put his Guinness down and then leaps up and knocks the man out.
“The guy’s out cold on the floor and his girlfriend’s dancing around, dicho, ‘You killed my boyfriend’.
“So Dad throws his Guinness in the guy’s face and, when he starts to wake, realises, ‘I’m not going to win round two, I have to run out of here quickly’.”
I walked into his bedroom and it was like a scene from Scarface. He’d dropped this pound of cocaine on the carpet and it had burst open and his face was just in the middle of it. He was unpredictable.
“There was a level of anger he had. It never went away,” Jared says.
“We had a huge row one Christmas. I asked him why he was so angry and he said, ‘I don’t know. I’ve always been angry’.”
Friend and foe alike found themselves on the receiving end, también.
His songwriter pal Phil Coulter, 80, quien escribió 1971 single My Boy for him, made the mistake of trying to calm Harris down when a barman refused to keep serving drinks after last orders.
Phil says: “I told him this isn’t the place. He hit me across the bar.”
mientras tanto, Jim Sheridan, who directed Harris in 1990 movie The Field, told how he went to “war” with his lead star after he refused to reshoot a key scene.
In the often funny documentary, Harris claims that earning a fortune had not changed him and that he did not “live in f***ing luxury”.
The film then cuts to a clip of the actor’s 1964 Rolls-Royce Phantom V.
It has been rumoured that Princess Margaret gave the black limousine to the actor as a gift, but his sons reveal the truth.
Jared says: “It was a signing-on bonus for him to do The Heroes Of Telemark, which he had insisted upon getting.”
There is a suggestion that Harris was aggrieved that tuberculosis in his teenage years cut short his dreams of playing rugby for Ireland.
But the actor, who died from cáncer en octubre 2002, always had a lust for life.
Jared concludes: “He loved life, he enjoyed the tempest of life. I felt there was some part of him that didn’t want to leave yet.”
- The Ghost Of Richard Harris is available on Sky Arts and Freeview from Saturday.