Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1: Sir Richard Harris - "Macarthur Park" - was born on this date in 1930 ...

... he died on Oct. 25, 2002.

Richard St. John Harris was an Irish actor, singer-songwriter, theatrical producer, film director and writer.

He appeared on stage and in many films, and is perhaps best known for his roles as King Arthur in Camelot (1967), as Oliver Cromwell in Cromwell (1970) and as Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Philosophers's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), his final film.

He also played a British aristocrat and prisoner in A Man Called Horse (1970), Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator (2000) and a gunfighter in Clint Eastwood's Western film Unforgiven (1992).

Harris recorded several albums of music, one of which, (A Tramp Shining), included the seven-minute hit song "MacArthur Park" (Harris insisted on singing the lyric as "MacArthur's Park." This song had been written by Jimmy Webb, and it reached #2 on the American Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also topped several music sales charts in Europe during the summer of 1968. "MacArthur Park" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.


A second album, with music mostly composed by Webb, The Yard Went on Forever, was published in 1969. Harris also wrote and arranged the orchestral accompaniment for one of the tracks, a scathing commentary on the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland delivered as a spoken-word poem written by Dr T James and entitled "There are Too Many Saviours on My Cross."

Harris died of Hodgkin's Lymphoma on 25 October 2002, aged 72, two and a half weeks before the American premiere of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

HIGHLY Recommended:

A Tramp Shining Webb Sessions: 1968-69Camelot (Broadway Version)


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