Richard Harris, an actor and singer known primarily for his film roles but whose stage credits included productions of Camelot, The Ginger Man, and A View From the Bridge, died on Friday, October 25 in London at age 72. He died at University College Hospital in London, where he had been undergoing treatment for Hodgkin's disease.
Perhaps Harris's most famous performance was as King Arthur in the film version of the Lerner & Loewe musical Camelot, in which he co-starred with Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero under the direction of Joshua Logan. In later years, Harris recreated the role in stage productions of the musical in London and New York.
The Irish-born Harris trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and was a member of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop. In the 1960s, he had supporting roles in such movies as The Guns of Navarone (with Gregory Peck and Anthony Quinn), Mutiny on the Bounty (with Marlon Brando), and Hawaii (with Julie Andrews and Max von Sydow). He received Academy Award nominations in the Best Actor category for his work in the British films This Sporting Life (1963) and The Field (1990). His other movies include King of the Wind and Robin and Marian. In recent years, Harris became known to a new generation of filmgoers with his roles as Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator and as Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Until quite recently, the actor was at work filming the forthcoming Harry Potter sequel; another of his final credits was the yet-to-be-released Chamber of Secrets.
Harris, who was arguably as famous for his drinking as for his acting, began a singing career in the '60s; he made several albums and achieved a hit with his recording of the song "MacArthur Park." His 1968 LP A Tramp Shining earned four Grammy nominations. On an all-star, 1972 concert recording of The Who's Tommy, Harris sang the role of the Doctor.
He was married and divorced twice, first to Joan Elizabeth Rees-Williams and later to Ann Turkel. Harris is survived by his three children from his first marriage: Damian, Jared, and Jamie Harris.