Celebrated actor Richard St. John Harris (1930-2002) was born on this day in Limerick, Ireland, one of nine children. His experience with tuberculosis ended his dreams of becoming a professional rugby player. He turned to acting, graduating from the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
"There are too many prima donnas in this business and not enough action," the outspoken star once said.
In 1963, he gained international attention with his role as working-class rugby player in the film This Sporting Life. He was King Arthur in Camelot (1967) and the title role in A Man Called Horse (1970), about an aristocrat captured by Dakota Sioux in 1825. (2000).
With a career of over 70 movies, Harris performed with passion. He sang, too, scoring a Top Ten hit in 1978 with the song MacArthur Park.
With a notorious reputation for hellraising, the older and wiser Harris said of his drinking, "I often sit back and think, 'I wish I’d done that,' and find out later that I already have."
"The way I lived my life it's a wonder I'm alive, let alone still working. I'm not certain I'd employ me given some of my past behaviour on sets."
A new generation of filmgoers discovered the white-haired actor before his death. In 2000, he became Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator and in his most recent screen role, he played the benevolent headmaster Dumbledore in the successful Harry Potter films. Harris admitted, "I feel most alive when I'm working on a film."
You're Alive. Count your blessings.