Richard St John Harris (1 October 1930 – 25 October 2002) was an Irish actor and singer. He appeared on stage and in many films, appearing as Frank Machin in This Sporting Life, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, King Arthur in the 1967 film Camelot and the subsequent 1981 revival of the show. He played an aristocrat and prisoner in A Man Called Horse (1970), a gunfighter in Clint Eastwood's Western film Unforgiven (1992), Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator (2000), and Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). Harris had a number one hit in Australia and Canada and a top ten hit in the United Kingdom and United States with his 1968 recording of Jimmy Webb's song "MacArthur Park".
He is also known as Richard St John Harris.
Harris was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in August 2002, reportedly after being hospitalised with pneumonia. He died at University College Hospital in Fitzrovia, London on 25 October 2002, aged 72. He was survived by his three sons named Damian, Jared and Jamie and niece named Annabelle. He had fallen into a coma in his final three days.
Harris was a lifelong friend of actor Peter O'Toole, and his family reportedly hoped that O'Toole would replace Harris as Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. There were, however, worries of insuring O'Toole for the six remaining films in the series. Harris was ultimately replaced as Dumbledore by the Irish-born actor Michael Gambon.
Harris' body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the Bahamas, where he had owned a home.