Ghosts from the past are revived with the Sky documentary eulogy from three sons to their late father, hell-raiser Richard Harris. He was a poet, philosopher and singer, as well as an actor with a relentless thirst for booze, renowned as much for his epic drinking and rambunctious love life as for his considerable talent. His career unsurprisingly suffered and hit a low point playing Bo Derek’s old man in Tarzan, The Ape Man (1981). Latterly he returned to prominence as Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies.
Early in his career, he was said to have had affairs with the Empress Soraya of Iran, Merle Oberon, Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow and Ava Gardner and he claimed ‘a brief affair with Princess Margaret’. He married twice but commitment was never his thing. “There is something in me that cannot sustain it. My restlessness was too enormous,” he once said, though he was devoted to his three sons from his marriage to Elizabeth Harris.
Born 1 October 1930 at 11.20am in Limerick into a well-to-do family, he suffered tuberculosis as a child and was educated by Jesuits – both of which would be restrictive experiences.
He did have an extremely restless chart fuelled by an almost uncontainable dynamism and intensity. His Libra Sun opposed a rebellious Uranus square a downbeat Saturn in Capricorn but what marked out his chart as singular was a high-voltage and dominating Pluto, Mars, Jupiter conjunction in Cancer. He would crash through life like a Tyrannosaurus on steroids. That formidable conjunction was square Uranus on one side and opposition a Capricorn Moon. What softened him marginally was Mercury in Virgo trine his Moon sextile Venus in Scorpio and his creative Neptune on his Midheaven. Though his Venus did trine Pluto Mars Jupiter so his passions would always overcome his milder instincts.
Despite his protestations like his carousing buddies Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole that he drank because he enjoyed it, he may have been driven more by an underlying depression than he ever admitted. His Sun square Saturn matches Burton’s Scorpio Sun conjunct Saturn, and Peter o’Toole’s Leo New Moon opposition Saturn. All three were marked by unsettled Uranus Pluto aspects as well.
He gave up drinking in 1981, having nearly died from a cocaine overdose three years earlier. In 1981 tr Pluto was square his Mars Pluto and about to move into his 12th. Maybe giving him insight into his unconscious drive for escapism.
His two wives clearly were attracted like moths to a hot flame. Elizabeth Harris, 1 May 1936,who went on to marry the equally challenging Rex Harrison, had her Venus in Aries square Pluto in Cancer colliding with Harris’s Mars Pluto Jupiter. Even more hair-raising, Ann Turkel, 16 July 1946, had her Sun Saturn in Cancer conjunct his Mars Pluto Jupiter and square her Jupiter. Not surprisingly neither match lasted the course.
There also a biography of him just published.