Sir Richard St John Harris (1 October, 1930 – 25 October, 2002) was an Irish actor and singer, who portrayed Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in the first two film adaptations of the Harry Potter books.
CareerLate in his career, he acted in the Oscar-winning films Unforgiven and Gladiator (in the latter as Marcus Aurelius).
He played Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films, that is, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He at first declined the offer to play Dumbledore; however, upon hearing the news that her grandfather had a very good shot at playing the role, his granddaughter told him that if he did not go back and take the part, she would never speak to him again. And so, he accepted the part. In 2003, his voice could be heard as the character Opaz in the animated film Kaena: The Prophecy. The movie was also dedicated to him as he had died the previous year. In his career, he was nominated for two Best Actor Academy Awards: for This Sporting Life in 1964, and The Field in 1991. He was also an accomplished musician and singer: he released several albums, and his single "MacArthur Park" reached #2 on the American Billboard Hot 100 chart.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002): Albus Dumbledore
- The Count of Monte Cristo (2002): Abbé Faria
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001): Albus Dumbledore
- Gladiator (2000): Marcus Aurelius
- Unforgiven (1992): English Bob
- Patriot Games (1992): Paddy O'Neil
- The Field (1990): The Bull Mac Cabe
- Camelot (1982) (TV): King Arthur
In 1957, he married Elizabeth Rees-Williams, daughter of David Rees-Williams; they divorced in 1969, and Elizabeth married another actor, Rex Harrison. Their three children are actor Jared Harris, actor Jamie Harris (born Tudor St John Harris, but known as Jamie since childhood), and director Damian Harris (who has a son named Marlowe, born 2002, with Australian actress Peta Wilson). Richard Harris married secondly the American actress Ann Turkel, who was 16 years his junior, but that marriage also ended in divorce. He was a member of the Knights of Malta, despite his divorces, and was also knighted by Denmark in 1985. Harris died of Hodgkin's Disease in 2002 at the age of 72, about two weeks before the U.S. première of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He would be replaced as Dumbledore by fellow Irish-born actor, Michael Gambon.