The Ghost of Richard Harris

The Ghost of Richard Harris publicity still

Directed by Adrian Sibley

THE GHOST OF RICHARD HARRIS explores the remarkable life and times of perhaps the greatest actor Ireland has ever produced.

Richard Harris was a powerful performer on stage and screen who became Ireland’s first leading man in Hollywood. Perhaps, best known as King Arthur in the musical Camelot, he was Oscar-nominated twice: for a remarkable performance in This Sporting Life, for which he also won best actor at Cannes, as well as The Field which resurrected his career in 1990 after years in the doldrums. He bowed out as the first Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films.

This feature documentary will be no ordinary A-Z biography though. It co-stars Harris’ three sons, led by Jared Harris who is also a celebrated actor, as they try to find out who their father really was. They are not interested in sugar coating the truth. Harris lived life at full speed leaving many in his wake – both personally and professionally – and his sons want to find out why he both enthralled many and infuriated some.

Harris was a notorious hellraiser known for excessive drinking, womanising and riotous behaviour. He fought his way across bars on both sides of the Atlantic alongside Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton. However there was much more to Harris than the tabloid headlines at the height of his fame. He was a successful singer who topped the charts with MacArthur Park, releasing five albums. He was also a published poet who wrote throughout his life. As his sons discover, there were a multitude of different Richard Harris’s – including some of which they were unaware.

At the centre of our film is a complicated man himself whose character is revealed in hours of unheard tapes, unseen family footage and interviews with those who knew him best. This is the ghost of our title: the man who comes back to haunt the people and places who were dear to him. And the first of these is The Savoy Hotel in London where Harris kept a suite for nearly thirty years, and from which he was taken to hospital at the end of his life.

 

Check out THE GHOST OF RICHARD HARRIS Press Release on Variety