Thomas Harris

the brilliant flesh-eating psychopath, Hannibal Lecter. Famously reclusive, the publicity-shy Harris is reportedly (and thankfully) far different from his signature character, who made his first appearance in the ... Read more »
Born: 04/11/1940 in Jackson, Tennessee, USA

Filmography

Writer (6)

Hannibal 2012 - 2015 (TV Show)

Source Material

Hannibal Rising 2007 (Movie)

(adaptation) (Screenplay)

Red Dragon 2002 (Movie)

("Red Dragon") (Source Material (from novel))

Hannibal 2001 (Movie)

(from novel: "Hannibal") (Source Material)

The Silence of the Lambs 1991 (Movie)

(Source Material (from novel))

Manhunter 1986 (Movie)

("Red Dragon") (Source Material (from novel))
Producer (1)

Crisis: Urban Education 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Segment Associate Producer
Director (1)

Black Body 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

Biography

the brilliant flesh-eating psychopath, Hannibal Lecter. Famously reclusive, the publicity-shy Harris is reportedly (and thankfully) far different from his signature character, who made his first appearance in the writer's second thriller novel, Red Dragon (1981). Already a bankable scribe, thanks to the success of his debut, Black Sunday (1975), and its high-profile 1977 movie adaptation, Harris saw Red Dragon hit the screens as Michael Mann's "Manhunter" (1986), with initially underwhelming response. His third novel, The Silence of the Lambs (1988), was a huge hit, however, and made Lecter a key character. Its 1991 film version, marking the first appearance of Anthony Hopkins as the manipulative cannibal, proved to be both a critical darling and box-office smash, resulting in a cultural breakthrough for the actor and character, as well as Harris himself. Though Harris' post-Lambs output of Hannibal (1999) and Hannibal Rising (2006) were major publishing events, their poor critical reception diminished the author's reputation somewhat. However, the tense strengths of his pre-1990s work ensured that Harris was still considered a master of the thriller genre.

Born in Tennessee and raised in Mississippi, Harris was a quiet youth and went on to study English literature while attending college at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. As a journalist for the local paper, he had his first encounters with crime scenes and continued to work as a reporter until his debut novel, Black Sunday, was published. The book, which featured a suicidal Vietnam vet eager to sabotage the Super Bowl, met with a decent reception upon its 1975 release, but it gained a more prominent second life when it became the basis for the John Frankenheimer feature thriller of the same name, starring Bruce Dern and Robert Shaw. In 1981, Harris unveiled Red Dragon, which follows high-strung FBI profiler Will Graham as he tracks down a murderer, using the help of incarcerated serial killer Hannibal Lecter. The Hollywood adaptation arrived five years later as "Manhunter," with William Petersen as Graham and Brian Cox as his jailed and unlikely ally. Though the film was largely overlooked during its theatrical run, it later gained a cult following. Harris' The Silence of the Lambs followed in 1988, introducing readers to intuitive FBI agent Clarice Starling and pushing Lecter to the fore as he aids in her hunt for the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill.

In 1991, Jonathan Demme's movie adaptation hit the screens, with Jodie Foster as Starling and Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. The moody film was a massive hit, won Five Academy Awards and gained status as one of the all-time best cinematic thrillers. Despite his lack of direct involvement, the production was a feather in Harris' cap, especially in Hopkins' riveting portrayal of Lecter and its overall enduring influence. In no hurry to pen a Lambs sequel, Harris didn't resurface with Hannibal until 1999, with the highly anticipated book an instant literary blockbuster, despite what many readers considered to be a controversial ending. Ridley Scott's fittingly dark and disturbing movie adaptation followed less than two years later, with Hopkins returning as Lecter and Julianne Moore taking over the Starling role.

EDUCATION

Baylor University

Graduated in 1964

Milestones

2013

"Hannibal" TV series debuted on NBC

2007

"Hannibal Rising" movie premiered

2006

Hannibal Rising published

2001

Ridley Scott's "Hannibal" debuted

1999

Hannibal released

1991

Feature film debut of "The Silence of the Lambs"

1988

Second Lecter novel, The Silence of the Lambs, published

1986

Red Dragon adapted into Michael Mann's "Manhunter"

1981

Red Dragon released

1977

Film adaptation of Black Sunday premiered

1975

Debut novel, Black Sunday, published

Bonus Trivia

.

Harris last gave an interview in 1976.

.

Harris has only been directly involved in one Hannibal Lecter film, "Hannibal Rising," which featured his own screenplay.

.

All of Harris' novels have been made into movies.

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