Ed Harris
Birth Date:
November 28, 1950
Birth Place:
Englewood, New Jersey, USA
5' 9
Famous for:
His role as John Glenn in 'The Right Stuff' (1983)
Tenafly High School, New Jersey
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“One thing I learned about Mr. Pollock’s art, which any art student knows I’m sure, but was indeed a revelation to me, is that Jackson fully believed and lived by 'don't use the accident, because I deny the accident.' One cannot even approximate Pollock's work unless every stroke, every pour, every slap, every fling, every shake, every splash, every splatter and every flick has a specific intention.” Ed Harris

American actor Ed Harris first came to prominence as astronaut John Glenn in the 1983 film The Right Stuff. Twelve years after the talk-about performance, Harris stood out as NASA operation control flight director Gene Kranz in Tom Hanks’ vehicle Apollo 13 (1995), for which he netted a Southeastern Film Critics Association Award, The Actor Award and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, in addition to a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. In 1998, Harris’ dazzling supporting performance as the God-like Christof garnered several awards like a Golden Globe Award, a National Board of Review Award and a Southeastern Film Critics Association Award. He also received nominations at the Academy Awards and BAFTA.

In a more recent film, talented actor Harris received recognition and appreciation with his starring role of artist Jackson Pollock in the Academy Award-winning movie Pollack (2000), wherein Harris also served as a director. The role garnered the actor a Toronto Film Critics Association Award and an Oscar nomination. Back to the second-banana role, Harris earned another Oscar nomination, as well as a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a SAG nomination, for his fine turn as a grateful author dying of AIDS in The Hours (2002). His recent and forthcoming credits include Enemy of the Gates (2001), Buffalo Soldiers (2001), A Beautiful Mind (2001), The Human Stain (2003), the southern drama Radio (2003), David Cronenberg’s masterful drama A History of Violence (2005), the TV miniseries “Empire Falls” (2005, earned an Emmy nomination), Winter Passing (2005), Copying Beethoven (2006), Touching Home (2007), Gone Baby Gone (2007), Cleaner (2007), National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) and Appaloosa (2008).

As a proficient stage actor, Harris made a name for himself when he debuted on Broadway in a production of George Furth’s autobiographical “Precious Sons” (1986), in which his outstanding portrayal of a stern but loving father handed Harris a Drama Desk Award, a Theater World Award, and a Tony nomination. In 1983, he picked up an Obie Award due to his bravura work in Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love.” Two years before, Harris took home a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award after presenting a noteworthy performance in “Prairie Avenue.”

As for his private life, 5’ 9’, blue-eyed Harris is the husband of actress Amy Madigan, with whom he has shared his life outside the limelight since 1983. The couple has a daughter named Lily Dolores Harris (born in 1993).

Star Athlete

Childhood and Family:

Born Edward Allen Harris, on November 28, 1950, in Englewood, New Jersey, Ed Harris was raised as the middle child of Robert L. Harris (former singer, bookseller) and Margaret Harris (travel agent). He has two brothers, Robert Harris (born in 1939) and Spencer Harris (born in 1956).

“I was very happy playing sports until I was 18, and then there were a couple of years where I really didn't know what I wanted to do. I saw some theatre in Oklahoma and made a decision to learn about acting. It wasn't really with an eye on making films or even making a living; it was really about trying to focus on something that had the potential of taking the place of sports in terms of something to penetrate.” Ed Harris

A New Jersey native, Ed was educated at Tenafly High School, in New Jersey, where he was known as an excellent football player. Upon graduation, he went to New York’s Columbia University on a full sports scholarship, but a few years later, he transferred as an acting student to the University of Oklahoma (studied from 1972-1973). After several successful roles in local theater, Ed headed for Los Angeles to find work and enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts. In 1975, he graduated with a Fine Arts degree.

Ed Harris has been married to actress Amy Madigan (born on September 11, 1950) since 1983. The two met while working in a production of Prairie Avenue at the Lee Strasberg Institute in 1981. Ed and Amy share a daughter named Lily Dolores Harris (born on May 3, 1993).

The Right Stuff


A star athlete while in high school, and a sport scholarship recipient at Columbia University, Ed Harris turned his attention to acting after viewing several local theater productions. He then transferred as a drama major to the University of Oklahoma and became seriously involved with stage work. Harris made a professional stage debut as King Arthur in a production of “Camelot” at the Jewel Box Theater in Oklahoma City. After graduation, he flew to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.

Harris landed his first television role when he appeared as a guest in an episode of “Gibbsville” (1976) and made a TV movie debut in The Amazing Howard Hughes, starring Tommy Lee Jones, a year later. He soon moved to the big screen with a tiny role in Coma (1978) and got his first major film role in Borderline (1980), opposite the late Charles Bronson. In 1981, Harris made an impression with his first leading role in cult-favorite George Romero’s Knightriders (1981). On stage, he took home a 1981 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for his bright work in “Prairie Avenue.”

1983 was Harris’ banner year since he was offered memorable work both on screen and on stage. On film, the actor was launched toward the spotlight with the supporting role of John Glenn, a NASA astronaut, in the adventure The Right Stuff (1983). Harris’ career also skyrocketed when he won an Obie for Outstanding Actor after making his New York stage debut in Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love.” Shortly after that, Harris became an actor in demand.

Harris charmed moviegoers with his sexiness as the husband of Goldie Hawn in Swing Shift (1984), offered a fine turn as a dishonest spouse in Place in the Heart (1984, opposite future wife Amy Madigan) and served as a script consultant, as well as a star, in the independent flick A Flash of Green (1984). In 1985, Harris delivered a strong, believable performance as hard-drinking, good old Southern boy Charlie Dick in Sweet Dreams (1985). The following year, he was seen on stage as the strict, but loving, father in George Furth’s autobiographical “Precious Sons.” Due to his brilliant performance, Harris netted a Drama Desk for Outstanding Actor and a Theater World, as well as earned a Tony nomination

He returned to television by taking the role of a lawyer in the HBO movie The Last Innocent Man (1987). The same year, Harris won the title character of Walker (1987), an Alex Cox’s odd biopic of the 19th-century adventurer William Walker who proclaimed himself president of Nicaragua. Next up for Harris, he received a Golden Globe nomination for his good supporting turn as David ‘High School’ Flannigan in Jacknife (1989). Harris rounded out the year with James Cameron’s big-budgeted underwater spectacle The Abyss (1989), where he was teamed with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

After State of Grace (1990), Harris was back on the small screen with two television movies. He was first cast as an attorney employed to protect a racist in the Showtime Paris Trout (1991). He then costarred with Diane Keaton in the HBO politically-themed, comedy/drama Running Mates (1992). Harris followed that up with more complex, and even alarming, portrayals, in the films Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), The Firm (1993) and Just Cause (1995, played an uncanny serial killer). 1994 saw the actor return to his theatrical roots by costarring with Beverly D’Angelo and Marcia Gay Harden in the Off-Broadway staging of Sam Shepard’s “Simpatico.”

In 1995, Harris turned the heads of critics when director Ron Howard cast him in the supporting role of Gene Kranz, a NASA mission control flight director, in the ensemble Apollo 13 (1995), which starred Tom Hanks. Because of his virtuoso acting, Harris was handed a Southeastern Film Critics Association award, an Actor Award and a Broadcast Film Critics Association for Best Supporting Actor. He also picked up another Actor Award in the category of Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Motion Picture. The role also brought Harris his first Oscar nomination.

Nixon (1995), Eye for an Eye (1996), Riders of the Purple Sage (1996, TV), The Rock (1996) and Absolute Power (1997) followed before the actor was garnered a second Best Supporting Actor nomination with the Academy Awards for his notable turn as the God-like Christof in the comedy The Truman Show (1998), starring popular comedian Jim Carrey. The critical acclaimed performance also won Harris such awards as a Golden Globe, a National Board of Review and a Southeastern Film Critics Association, as well as a BAFTA nomination. He then costarred opposite Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon in Stepmom (1998), and ended the decade with The Third Miracle (1999), playing Frank Shore, a disappointed priest sent to investigate claims of miracles performed by a woman.

In 2000, Harris once again came to the attention of the public when he made his debut as a director, as well as starred in, the Oscar-winning film Pollock, a biopic of artist Jackson Pollock. Starring in the title role, opposite Marcia Gay Harden as Lee Krasner, Harris’ performance was critically applauded and he was awarded the 2001 Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor. Additionally, the role garnered a third Oscar nomination, but this time for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The film itself debuted at the 2000 Venice Film Festival and was chosen as the centerpiece of the 2000 New York Film Festival.

Harris next dotted his impressive resume with remarkable performances in the WWII drama Enemy of the Gates (2001), Buffalo Soldiers (2001) and Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind (2001, with Russell Crow). Two years later, Harris was seen as Richard Brown, an honored author dying of AIDS, in The Hours (2002, opposite Meryl Streep). He was so good in the role that he received a number of nominations, which included an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a SAG for Best Supporting Role.

2003 saw roles in Masked and Anonymous (2003), the film adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel The Human Stain (2003, portrayed Nicole Kidman’s former husband Lester Farley) and the feelgood hit Radio (2003, starred alongside Cuba Gooding Jr.). Returning to filmmaking after a two-year hiatus, Harris remained a powerful actor and starred as Carl Fogarty in the masterful drama A History of Violence (2005) from director David Cronenberg. On television, he earned an Emmy nomination for his affecting performance of New England restaurateur Miles Roby in the humorous, poignant HBO miniseries “Empire Falls” (2005). Harris' more recent and upcoming credits include the drama Winter Passing (2005), the musical Copying Beethoven (2006, as Ludwig van Beethoven), Two Tickets to Paradise (2006), Touching Home (2007), Gone Baby Gone (2007), Cleaner (2007), National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) and Appaloosa (2008).


  • Toronto Film Critics Association: Best Actor, Pollock, 2001

  • Southeastern Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor, The Truman Show, 1999

  • National Board of Review: Best Supporting Actor, Stepmom and The Truman Show, 1998

  • Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, The Truman Show, 1998

  • Southeastern Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor, Apollo 13, 1996

  • Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor, Apollo 13, Nixon and Just Cause; tied with Kevin Spacey, 1995

  • The Actor: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Apollo 13, 1995

  • The Actor: Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Motion Picture, Apollo 13; shared award with film’s cast, 1995

  • Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle: Scar, 1992

  • Theater World: Precious Sons, 1986

  • Drama Desk: Outstanding Actor in a Play, Precious Sons, 1986

  • San Francisco Critics: Scar, 1985

  • Obie: Performance, Fool for Love, 1983/84

  • Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle: Prairie Avenue, 1981

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