When Harry Met Sally...
“If your record doesn’t sell that well, man, who cares? All the satisfaction I need comes when I step out onstage and see the people. That’s awesome. I love that.” Harry Connick Jr.
After releasing two piano albums, including 20 (1988), American singer, pianist and actor Harry Connick Jr. collected recognition for his work on the soundtrack of When Harry Met Sally (1989), which spawned such popular songs as “It Had to Be You,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” As a result, he was handed his first Grammy Award and the album went double-platinum. The musician gained additional popularity a year later with his next Grammy-winning performance in We Are in Love, which also earned double-platinum status. In 2002, Connick once again nabbed a Grammy award for his work on the 2001 album Songs I Heard, and in 2004, he took home an Emmy Award in a “Great Performances” special on PBS. Connick, whose music often encompasses jazz, funk and blues, has gathered a number of nominations, including an Academy Award and a Golden Globe nomination for the Godfather III soundtrack, “Promise Me You’ll Remember” (1991), an Emmy nomination on the “Great Performances” broadcast “Harry Connick, Jr. & His Orchestra: Swinging Out With Harry” (1991), two Grammy nominations for Blue Light, Red Light (1991), a Tony nomination for composing the Broadway musical “Thou Shalt Not” (2001) and a Grammy nomination for the No. 1 hit album Only You (2004).
As an actor, Connick, who was listed as one of twelve “Promising New Actors of 1990” in John Willis’ Screen World Vol. 42, has acted in numerous films since making his debut in 1990’s Memphis Belle. He was seen in Independence Day (1995), Excess Baggage (1997), Wayward Son (1999), Life Without Dick (2002), Basic (2003) and Bug (2006), and was nominated for a Blockbuster Award in the Sandra Bullock starring vehicle Hope Floats (1998). He is known as Leo Markus on the television sitcom “Will & Grace” (2002-2006) and for starring in the Broadway revival of “The Pajama Game” (2006), where he picked up a Tony nomination.
Outside the spotlight, in 1992, Connick was arrested and accused of having a 9 mm pistol in his ownership at JFK International Airport. He had to spend a day in prison and make a public-service television commercial warning against breaking gun laws. On a more positive note, the well-built, handsome six-foot-two-inch Connick is a humanitarian. He became involved in the NBC-sponsored benefit concert “A Concert for Hurricane Relief” in 2005 and was made a voluntary chairperson of Habitat for Humanity’s “Operation Home Delivery,” a long-term rebuilding plan for Hurricane Katrina’s victims. Connick is also a founder of the musical group Krewe of Orpheus. The Krewe of Orpheus parades on St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street in New Orleans on Lundi Gras (Fat Monday).
Connick is married to model Jill Goodacre. The couple has three daughters, Georgia, Sarah and Charlotte.
Vice-Chairman of the Board
Childhood and Family:
Joseph Harry Fowler Connick Jr., professionally known as Harry Connick Jr., was born on September 11, 1967, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the son of Harry Connick Sr., a recently retired New Orleans District Attorney, and Anita Connick, a Louisiana Supreme Court justice who died of ovarian cancer when Harry Jr. was 13 years old. He has a sister, Suzanna Connick, who works for U.S. Army intelligence.
Harry became interested in music at an early age thanks to the encouragement of his parents who owned a record store. He was playing the piano by age 3 and performing with professional musicians on a New Orleans jazz band by age six. He won piano contests while playing French Quarter clubs and studying at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts in New Orleans, Louisiana. At age 18, he attended New York’s Hunter College and later studied at the Manhattan School of Music.
On April 16, 1994, Harry, whose nickname is The Vice-Chairman of the Board, tied the knot with Texas-born model Jill Goodacre. Their first daughter, Georgia Tatom Connick, was born on April 17, 1996. Their second girl, Sarah Kate Connick, was born on September 12, 1997. Harry and his wife welcomed their third daughter, Charlotte Connick, on June 26, 2002.
We Are in Love
Developing his musical talent at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, studying under the guidance of top-notch teachers Ellis Marsalis and James Booker, Harry Connick Jr. landed a recording deal with Adco Productions when he was still a teenager, and released Dixieland Plus in 1977. While training in Manhattan, the former keyboardist of the jazz group Dr Delf and the Killer Groove was approached by a Columbia Records executive who then signed Connick with the label in 1986, and his first piano album, Harry Connick Jr., was released the following year. Thanks to comprehensive stays at prestigious New York venues, he quickly made a name for himself in the in jazz scene. He gained further recognition with 20 (1988), which earned platinum certification from RIAA.
Connick’s first huge break arrived in 1989 when he lent his creative talents to the jazzy soundtrack for the Rob Reiner-directed romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally, starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. With such hits as “It Had to Be You,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” the soundtrack received double-platinum status in the U.S. and Connick took home his first Gammy for Best Jazz Male Vocal Performance.
The following year, Connick made his feature acting debut by playing B-17 tail-gunner Clay Busby in Memphis Belle (1990). The same year, he headlined the “Great Performances” broadcast “Harry Connick, Jr. & His Orchestra: Swinging Out With Harry,” which earned a 1991 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program, and had his first Broadway concert show called “An Evening With Harry Connick Jr. and His Orchestra” at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater. He also launched two albums in July 1990: the jazz trio album Lofty’s Roach Souffle and another album of standards titled We Are in Love, which became a No. 1 hit on the U.S. Jazz chart and also went double platinum. We Are in Love brought Connick his next consecutive Grammy for Best Jazz Male Vocal.
Next, Connick’s contribution to the Godfather III soundtrack, “Promise Me You’ll Remember,” earned him an Oscar and a Golden Globe nomination in 1991. He also picked up an Emmy nomination for Best Performance in a Variety Special for his PBS special “Swingin’ Out Live,” which was also released as a video. In September 23, 1991, he had his third consecutive multi-platinum album, Blue Light, Red Light, which brought him two Grammy nominations in the category of Best Instrumental Arrangement with Vocals (“Blue Light, Red Light (Someone’s There)” ) and Best Traditional Pop Performance. He returned to film a year later for a supporting role in the Jodie Foster vehicle Little Man Tate, playing a college student who makes friends with a child genius.
From 1992 to 1994, Connick released four albums: 25 (1992), a solo piano compilation of standards that again went platinum, 11 (originally released in 1979), the best-selling Christmas album When My Heart Finds Christmas (1993), and She (1994), an album of New Orleans funk that gained platinum certification. He also contributed “A Wink and a Smile” to the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack (1993) and “(I Could Only) Whisper Your Name” for the soundtrack of Jim Carrey’s The Mask (1994). The latter song became Connick’s most triumphant single in the United States to date. In 1995, Connick took his funk music to the People’s Republic of China, performing at the Shanghai Center Theatre., and played the role of a sinister, hillbilly serial killer annoying Sigourney Weaver in Copycat.
1996 saw Connick release his second funk album, Star Turtle, but it did not receive the same success as its predecessors. His performance on the most successful movie of that year, Independence Day, opposite Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, however, kept him in the spotlight. He went on to appear in such vehicles as Excess Baggage (1997, with Alicia Silverstone and Benicio Del Toro), Sandra Bullock’s Hope Floats (1998, netted a Blockbuster Entertainment nomination for Favorite Actor - Drama/Romance), the animated The Iron Giant (1999, voice of Dean McCoppin) and Wayward Son (1999, starred as a wrongly-convicted ex-con named Jesse Banks Rhodes). During that same period, he also had two gold albums, To See You (1997) and Come by Me (1999), Connick’s first album of big band music in eight years that brought him a 2000 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance.
Kicking off the 2000s, Connick made his debut as a stage composer by penning the score for Susan Stroman’s Broadway musical “Thou Shalt Not,” based on a novel by Émile Zola. In the 2001-premiered play, Connick nabbed a 2002 Tony nomination for Best Original Musical Score. The same year, he also lent his voice to narrate the film My Dog Skip and costarred with Glen Close in the made-for-TV film South Pacific, as well as released two albums in October 2001: 30, featuring Connick on piano with guest appearances by some other musical artists, and Songs I Heard, featuring big band re-workings of children show themes. For his brilliant effort on the latter, he was handed his third Grammy, this time for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
Connick played the recurring role of Grace Adler’s boyfriend (and later husband) Leo Markus on NBC’s sitcom “Will & Grace” (2002-2006), starred opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in the comedy romantic Life Without Dick (2002) and appeared with John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in the crime film Basic (2003). In July 2003, he released his first instrumental album in fifteen years called Other Hours Connick on Piano Volume 1. Released on Branford Marsalis’ new label Marsalis Music, the album led to a short tour of small theaters and nightclubs. Three months later, he released his sophomore Christmas album, Harry for the Holidays, which received gold status and peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Only You, Connick’s seventeenth album for Columbia Records, was released on February 3, 2004. A collection of 1950s and 1960s ballads, the album reached No. 1 on U.S. Jazz and No. 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and Connick later received a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. A music DVD, Harry Connick Jr. - “Only You” in Concert, was released in March 2004, after it had first broadcasted as a Great Performances special on PBS. The special garnered him an Emmy for Outstanding Music Direction. He also scored a leading role in the baseball-themed film Mickey, that same year.
Connick released Occasion : Connick on Piano, Volume 2, in June 2005, a duo album with Connick on piano and Branford Marsalis on saxophone, before serving as composer, narrator and executive producer for the animated holyday special The Happy Elf, which aired on NBC in December 2005. In 2006, he costarred with Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon on William Friedkin’s psychological thriller, Bug. He was also seen on Broadway in a revival of “The Pajama Game” at the American Airlines Theater. Offering a fine starring turn opposite Michael McKean and Kelli O’Hara, he was nominated for a Tony Award. The play ran from February 23 to June 17, 2006.
In January 2007, Connick released the albums Chanson du Vieux Carre: Connick On Piano, Volume 3, for Marsalis music and Oh, My NOLA, for Columbia Records. As for acting, he is scheduled to play the supporting role of Daniel Connelly on the based-on-novel movie P.S., I Love You (2008). The upcoming comedy/drama will star Oscar winner Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler.