The 19th Annual American Film Institute Life Achievement Award: A Salute to Kirk Douglas 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)
An Irish rogue who emerged from England as one of its most accomplished performers, actor Richard Harris typified the angry young man persona of 1960s British cinema, both on and off the screen. Having come into his own as a rough-and-tumble rugby player in "This Sporting Life" (1963), Harris quickly became one of England's preeminent actors, with quality turns in prominent American films like "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1962), "Major Dundee" (1965) and the adaptation of the popular musical "Camelot" (1967). Behind the scenes, much like his contemporaries Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed, Harris was a student of the bad boy school of talented thespians, with an unquenchable taste for booze and women who never let a bender get in the way of a sterling performance. Because of his experience with "Camelot," Harris embarked on a surprisingly successful singing career that reached its peak when his single, "MacArthur Park," became a big hit in 1968. Following a fine leading turn in "A Man Called Horse" (1970), his acting career began to slide, thanks to a string of rather mediocre genre films and diminishing performances brought on by his worsening alcoholism. After sobering up toward the end of the 1980s, the newly confident actor earned an Oscar nod for his excellent performance in Jim Sheridan's "The Field" (1990). He next chewed up the scenery as the flashy gunman English Bob in "Unforgiven" (1992) before playing Marcus Aurelius in "Gladiator" (2000) and Professor Dumbledore in the first two "Harry Potter" movies. Having died before "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002) was released, Harris left behind a trail of broken bottles and shattered hearts, as well as a legacy of being one of Ireland and England's most important and beloved performers.