Edward Allen "Ed" Harris (born November 28, 1950) is an American actor, screenwriter, and director. He is best known for his performances in Pollock, Appaloosa, The Rock, The Abyss, A Beautiful Mind, A History of Violence, Enemy at the Gates, The Right Stuff, Gone Baby Gone, Radio, Paris Trout, Jackknife, Empire Falls, and Game Change. Harris has also narrated commercials for Home Depot and other companies. He is a three-time nominee of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Apollo 13, The Truman Show, and The Hours, along with an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination for his role in Pollock.
Harris was born in Englewood Hospital in Englewood, New Jersey, and was raised in Tenafly, the son of Margaret (nÃ©e Sholl), a travel agent, and Robert Lee Harris, who sang with the Fred Waring chorus and worked at the bookstore of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has an older brother, Robert, and a younger brother, Spencer. His parents were originally from Oklahoma. Harris was raised in a middle class Presbyterian family. He graduated from Tenafly High School in 1969, where he played on the football team, serving as the team's captain in his senior year.
A star athlete in high school, Harris was recruited by and competed in athletics at Columbia University in 1969. When his family moved to New Mexico two years later, Harris followed, having discovered his interest in acting in various theater plays. He enrolled at the University of Oklahoma to study drama. After several successful roles in local theaters, he moved to Los Angeles and enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts, where he spent two years and graduated with a BFA.
Harris's first film role was in Borderline with Charles Bronson. In Knightriders (1981), he played the king of a motorcycle-riding renaissance-fair troupe in a role modeled after King Arthur. In 1983, Harris became well known after playing astronaut John Glenn in The Right Stuff. Twelve years later, a film with a similar theme led to Harris being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his portrayal of NASA flight director Gene Kranz in Apollo 13.
Further Oscar nominations arrived in 1999, 2001, and 2003, for The Truman Show, Pollock, and The Hours, respectively. Harris also portrayed a German Army sniper, Major Erwin KÃ¶nig, in Enemy at the Gates (2001). He appeared as a vengeful mobster in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence (2005) and as a police officer alongside Casey Affleck and Morgan Freeman, in Gone Baby Gone (2007), directed by Ben Affleck. Also in 2007, he appeared in National Treasure: Book of Secrets as antagonist Mitch Wilkinson.
Along with theatrical films, he has starred in television adaptations of Riders of the Purple Sage (1996) and Empire Falls (2005). Harris made his cinema directing debut in 2000, with Pollock, in which he starred as the acclaimed American artist Jackson Pollock. To prepare for the role, he built a small studio in which to copy the painter's techniques. He also threw a chair at Marcia Gay Harden, who played Lee Krasner to get a stronger reaction from her; she later thanked him. (She won an Oscar for her role.)
He has also portrayed such diverse real-life characters as William Walker, a 19th-century American who appointed himself president of Nicaragua, in the film Walker, Watergate figure E. Howard Hunt in the Oliver Stone biopic Nixon, composer Ludwig van Beethoven in the film Copying Beethoven, and Senator John McCain in HBO's made-for-television drama Game Change.
Harris has directed a number of theater productions as well as having an active stage acting career. Most notably, he starred in the production of Neil LaBute's one-man play Wrecks at the Public Theater in New York City and later at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles. For the LA production, he won the LA Drama Critics Circle Award. Wrecks premiered at the Everyman Theater in Cork, Ireland, and then in the US at the Public Theater in New York. Harris and wife Amy Madigan starred together in Ash Adams' indie crime drama Once Fallen, released in 2010.
He has a reputation for being serious on the set. He told a journalist in 2006 "I don't like bullshittin'.... So, I guess that comes across as serious."
Harris's wife is actress Amy Madigan. The couple married on November 21, 1983, while they were filming Places in the Heart in which they played an adulterous couple. They have a daughter, Lily Dolores Harris, born on May 3, 1993.
On March 20, 2012, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) completed a merger of equals to form a new union SAG-AFTRA. Harris, along with Edward Asner, Martin Sheen, Valerie Harper, Michael Bell, and Wendy Schall (to name a few) are adamantly opposed to such a merger and filed a lawsuit against SAG President Ken Howard and several SAG Vice Presidents seeking to have the merger overturned and the two unions separated to their pre-merger organizations. The lawsuit was dismissed on May 22, 2012.
Film and television
- Ed Harris at the Internet Movie Database
- Ed Harris at the TCM Movie Database
- Ed Harris at the Internet Broadway Database
- Ed Harris at the Internet Off-Broadway Database