British actor Jared Harris first won recognition for his riveting portrayal of influential American pop artist Andy Warhol in the acclaimed I Shot Andy Warhol (1996). Though he is the son of esteemed British actor Richard Harris, he showed little interest in following his father's path until he was cast in a college production while attending North Carolina's Duke University during the early '80s. Following graduation, he returned to Britain and worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company for several years, before heading back to the states to appear off-Broadway. The actor made his screen debut in The Rachel Papers (1989). Following his appearances as Harvey Keitel's slightly retarded shop assistant in Smoke and its companion piece Blue in the Face (both 1995), Harris became a familiar face in American independent films, though he still made the occasional foray into mainstream films, appearing in Lost in Space in 1998. After portraying a sleazy Russian cab driver in Todd Solondz's acclaimed Happiness (1998), Harris could be seen in Michael Radford's B. Monkey, starring opposite Asia Argento, Rupert Everett, and Jonathan Rhys Myers. He went on to appear in Perfume and Igby Goes Down in the next few years. In 2003 he found himself playing one of Europe's most famous historical figures when he tackled the role of King Henry VIII in The Other Boleyn Girl. The next year he had small parts in The Day After Tomorrow and Ocean's Twelve. Although he was in the notorious flop Lady in the Water in 2006, two years later he appeared in the multiple Oscar nominated The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. In 2009 he had his most high-profile success joining the cast of the award-winning drama Mad Men as a British businessman. He was the bad guy in the second of Robert Downey Jr's Sherlock Holmes films, and played one of the important figures in American history when Steven Spielberg cast him in Lincoln as General Ulysses S. Grant.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- His mother was married to actor Rex Harrison for most of his childhood.
- Left Britain to attended college in the United States.
- Was not interested in pursuing acting as a career until he began performing in plays during college.
- Performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company after graduation.
- Made his film debut in The Rachel Papers (1989), which was written and directed by his brother Damian Harris.
- In 2001, starred in the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival's production of Hamlet, which used digital technology to feature his dad, Richard Harris, as the ghost of Hamlet's father.