The Biography of
Limerick’s most famous and favourite actor Richard Harris was born Richard St John Harris on the 1st of October, 1930. He was the fifth out of nine children born to Ivan John Harris and Mildred Josephine (Harty) Harris
Dickie, as he is affectionately known in Limerick attended the Jesuit-run Crescent College on O’Connell Street in the heart of Limerick City.
He was a talented rugby player and was on several Munster Junior and Senior Cup teams for Crescent. He also played for Crescent junior team and played for Garryowen at senior level. His athletic career was cut short however when he caught tuberculosis as a teenager. He did however remain an ardent fan of the Munster Rugby and Young Munster teams then until his death on the 25th of October, 2002.
While ill with TB he read voraciously while recuperating and found that he his interests shifted towards a new interest in the arts.
He read Joyce, Beckett, D H Lawrence, Dylan Thomas and Yeats. He went on to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) before making his stage debut in 1956 made in The Quare Fellow. Dickie made his mark and soon became one of a new generation of young British actors in the London theatre scene that included actors such as Albert Finney among others.
He began his film career playing a character without a name in the Alive and Kicking (1958).
He is probably best known for his role as King Arthur in the Broadway hit Camelot and Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films. His most impressive performance however came when playing a character called Frank Machin in This Sporting Life (1963). Dickie netted an Academy Award nomination and won Best Actor in 1963 at the Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of a short tempered coal-miner turned rugby star.
Over the course of his career he has starred along some of the biggest names in American and British film;
Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Marlon Brando, Vanessa Redgrave, George C. Scott, Ava Gardner, Peter O’Toole, John Huston, Trevor Howard, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins, Sean Connery, Brenda Fricker, Tom Berenger, John Hurt, Harrison Ford, Patrick Bergin, James Earls Jones, Sophia Loren, Gary Cooper, Charlton Heston, Michael Redgrave, Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood, to name but a few. In more recent years he starred alongside some of the more contemporary talents such as Anne Archer, Russell Crowe, Morgan Freeman, Joaquin Pheonix, Oliver Reed, Sean Bean, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, John Cleese, Warwick Davis, Dame Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Julie Walters, Fiona Shaw and Robbie Coltrane. There are just too many to mention them all. He also worked with some wonderful directors, Chris Columbus, Ridley Scott, Clint Eastwood, Jim Sheridan, Ken Hughes, Martin Ritt, John Huston and Lindsey Anderson.Dickie made his mark and soon became one of a new generation of young British actors in the London theatre scene that included actors such as Albert Finney among others.