Richard Harris: Sex, Death and the Movies - An Intimate Biography

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Richard Harris was a genius whose frenzied existence sometimes overshadowed his enormous talent. Over 45 years, his career spanned small theatrical productions and Hollywood blockbusters. Renowned for his roles in classics like Mutiny on the Bounty, A Man Called Horse, Camelot, The Field, and Unforgiven, Harris’ off-screen drinking and womanizing with fellow hell-raisers Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole also brought him notoriety. Although few people accompanied Harris for any duration on the roller-coaster ride ...

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Overview

Richard Harris was a genius whose frenzied existence sometimes overshadowed his enormous talent. Over 45 years, his career spanned small theatrical productions and Hollywood blockbusters. Renowned for his roles in classics like Mutiny on the Bounty, A Man Called Horse, Camelot, The Field, and Unforgiven, Harris’ off-screen drinking and womanizing with fellow hell-raisers Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole also brought him notoriety. Although few people accompanied Harris for any duration on the roller-coaster ride of his life, award-winning writer, director, and fellow Irishman Michael Feeney Callan joined the ride and stayed the course. After striking up a warm friendship with the actor in the mid-‘70s, Callan embarked on an authorized biography. To mark Richard Harris’ passing, Callan has revisited and expanded on his original book to create this fresh and revealing tribute.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The skyscraping successes and abysmal failures of Richard Harris's enduring and motley career as movie star, pop singer, poet and political loudmouth, as emblemized by milestones and breakdowns across the razed landscape of his personal life. Callan (Anthony Hopkins, 1994, etc.) maps Harris's untamed roots in Northern Ireland, introducing a character more interested in rugby, girls and showboating than in school or his family's mill business. Harris's later addictions were varied and due not solely to drugs and drink, and, in fact, Callan interestingly presents a codependency between Harris and his acting career that resulted in staggering volatility and self-loathing. The relationships Harris forged with the myriad women in his life eventually imploded as each creative endeavor he undertook transformed him into Mr. Hyde, unable to balance craft with moderating elements designed to temper him. Engulfed by perfectionism, overindulgence and an unquenchable desire for adoration, he gnawed at and eviscerated the professional and personal relationships he made, leaving in his wake tortured women, awestruck reviews for his ability to surrender himself to roles, and a menacing off-screen persona charged by brio and swinging fists. As Harris's official biographer, Callan became as much a part of the erratic life of the provocative trouper as he could, and he wasn't spared rancor when Harris felt betrayed by Callan's journalistic behavior. What's written is a reflective biography of Richard Harris, from Kilkee to Hollywood, King Arthur to Albus Dumbledore, "gleaned from years of acquaintanceship and the best of his own memories." Sadly, intimate details of Harris's role as family man are absent,but Callan provides a thorough enough life's history, unafraid to veer away from ribald theater tales that would certainly ramble into stale and obvious territory. Callan's meticulous account focuses sharply on a plagued craftsman who acted passionately and carelessly to dismantle the very things he loved-and had worked to accomplish. Through Callan's astute composition, Harris transcends the anticipated gin-soaked reputation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861057662
  • Publisher: Anova Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/2005
  • Pages: 354
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface: God Bless the Pirate 1
Part I Prince Dick 17
1 The Mouse-catcher 19
2 Playing House 36
3 Honeymoon on Sixpence 57
4 Heaven and Hellraising 77
5 Gingerly on the Bounty 97
6 Try! 119
7 Try Again 132
8 On Thin Ice 146
Part II King Richard 159
9 Caprice and Consequences 161
10 Didn't We 173
11 Battle Cries 191
12 Blooming Poetry and Dying Blooms 206
13 Ann 223
14 Back in the Wilderness 238
15 Your Ticket is No Longer Valid 252
16 Field of Dreams 266
17 Exit m'Lord 285
Afterword 303
The Films 306
The Theatre Productions 317
The Records 319
Sources 321
Bibliography 323
Index 327
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