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Richard Harris – Limericks Most Loved

By I Love Limerick correspondent, Irene Bermingham.
Actor Richard St John Harris, born in Limerick October 1, 1930.


Richard Harris was the fifth born to parents John and Josephine Harris. He attended the Jesuit-run Crescent College on O’Connell Street in the heart of Limerick City. Famous for his numerous film roles, Harris has been described as a loveable rogue, a party animal but most often a beloved Limerick man.

Richard HarrisHarris’ early passion in life was rugby. He enjoyed playing for his school and proved to be a promising sportsman. A common disease at the time, tuberculosis affected the teenage Harris and ended his rugby career at a young age. Unable to play rugby again, Harris remained a loyal Munster Rugby fan all his life. It was during his recuperation period that he took to reading. At that point, the 
boy Harris found his second love in life; arts.

At first, Harris aspired to be a director. However, a life of directing was not meant to be for the talented young Harris, as he soon became engrossed by the limelight of acting. Harris’ impeccable talent soon became apparent after only a year at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, he grasped his first stage debut in The Quare Fellow.

The young actor’s profile spiralled upwards in the succeeding years as he made his way onto television screens worldwide.


Richard Harris

What Then?

Harris landed roles in a number of major motion pictures, including;

His first role was a character without a name in the Alive and Kicking 1958,

A more famous role as King Arthur in the Broadway hit Camelot

The beloved Albus Dumbledore in the first two films of the Harry Potter series.

He appeared in the World War II action adventure The Guns of Navarone with Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn.

Harris perfected the character of Frank Machin in This Sporting Life 1963.

One of Harris’ Irish roles was the intimidating Bull McCabe in The Field 1990

Harris also earned raves for his portrayal of Roman leader Marcus Aurelius in 2000’s Gladiator starring Russell Crowe

During his lifetime Harris showed critics that he could hold his own against such Hollywood heavyweights as Marlon Brando. He netted an Academy Award nomination with his roles as the fighting farmer, Bull McCabe.

Richard Harris

Harris’ final film project was in 2002, where he brought to life a beloved literary character. Harris appeared as Professor Albus Dumbledore in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He also appeared in the next of the film series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, in 2002. It was shortly before the start of filming pf the third Harry Potter movie, that the beloved Richard Harris lost his battle with Hodgkin’s disease, at a London hospital. 
Richard is remembered at home and abroad by his on-screen characters, various tribute pages, honorary biographies, for his one hit wonder ‘MacArthur Park’, each year remembered by his local people of Limerick at the Richard Harris film festival and mostly by his beloved family and friends.
‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’ – Albus Dumbledore.
                          Check out the Richard Harris film festival here or here,
                         See more about Richard’s film roles here
                         Check out Richard as Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter above.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.