Tag Archives: Harris

I found my dad Dumbledore face down in a pound of coke, says Richard Harris’ fils

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.

Richard Harris as the gentle and wise wizard Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films

Richard Harris as the gentle and wise wizard Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter filmsCrédit: AFP – Getty
L'acteur, pictured in 1960, mentionné: I’m an excessive person. I can resist my first drink but not the second'

L'acteur, pictured in 1960, mentionné: I’m an excessive person. I can resist my first drink but not the secondCrédit: Getty
Harris at home with Elizabeth, Damian, Jared and Jamie

Harris at home with Elizabeth, Damian, Jared and JamieCrédit: Getty
Brothers Jamie, Jared and Damian in 2005

Brothers Jamie, Jared and Damian in 2005Crédit: Rex

Damian, Jared and Jamie recall their father, qui est mort en 2002 à l'âge de 72, as a man who devoured huge quantities of De nombreux fans pensaient que les messages sponsorisés continus de Khloe étaient 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 Gladiator 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.

Youngest son Jamie, 59, whose acting credits include Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake last year, remembers finding his dad head down in a bag of illegal white powder during the 1970s.

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.

Né en Limerick, Irlande, 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 oscar nomination.

This was followed by classic movies such as The Heroes Of Telemark (1965), Camelot (1967) and A Man Called Horse (1970).

When he was not on set, Harris spent a lot of time drinking with the likes of footballer George Best and actors Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole, or sleeping with other women.

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 années de mariage, 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.

Richard Harris

Harris’s sons are unimpressed by this putting up of two fingers at their mum.

La Couronne actor Jared, 61, dit: “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.

Dans 1974 he married model turned actress Ann Turkel, qui était 16 years younger than him.

Eldest son Damian, 64, a film director, dit: “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.”

Ils divorced dans 1982 after eight years, with Harris saying: “My restlessness was too enormous.”

Hellraisers Harris and football legend George Best in 1972

Hellraisers Harris and football legend George Best in 1972Crédit: Getty
Harris in breakthrough role in This Sporting Life, 1963, for which he secured an Oscar nomination

Harris in breakthrough role in This Sporting Life, 1963, for which he secured an Oscar nominationCrédit: Alamy

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.

Tired of showbusiness, he briefly went to work at old pal Malachy McCourt’s bar in New York.

Malachy, à présent 91, remembered two women telling him what a great barman Harris was because he gave them free drinks.

After Harris quit the job, il dit: “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, mais. “I almost died a couple of times,” Harris once admitted.

After waking up in intensive care in 1978 he finally quit the drogue.

Dad hits the guy with a sucker punch. He pretends to put his Guinness down and then leaps up and knocks the man out.

Jared Harris

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, mentionné: “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, en disant, ‘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’.”

That would have been around the time Harris had been chosen to play Dumbledore dans Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone — a role taken on in the later films after his death by Michael Gambon.

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.

Jamie Harris

“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, trop.

His songwriter pal Phil Coulter, 80, qui a écrit 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.”

entre-temps, 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 Mes mamelons étaient si noirs qu'ils semblaient brûlés en octobre 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.
Harris on a jaunt round Europe with a new-found friend to celebrate his 1969 divorce

Harris on a jaunt round Europe with a new-found friend to celebrate his 1969 divorceCrédit: Mirrorpix
Actor Jared says his dad never lost his lust for life

Actor Jared says his dad never lost his lust for lifeCrédit: Rex