Richard HARRIS (1930-2002)

Richard Harris This Is Your Life
  • The only occasion that a subject has been greeted by two ex-spouses, who in this case, sit either side of him!

programme details...

  • Edition No: 788
  • Subject No: 777
  • Broadcast date: Wed 14 Nov 1990
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Sat 15 Sep 1990
  • Venue: Teddington Studios
  • Series: 31
  • Edition: 4
  • Code name: Tweed

on the guest list...

  • cast members of Henry IV
  • Elizabeth - ex wife
  • Ann Turkel - ex wife
  • Jared - son
  • Jamie - son
  • Mike Van Bloemen
  • Sheila Van Bloemen
  • Bob Lennard
  • Fiona Fullerton
  • Terry James
  • Dr Karl Mullen
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Ella - granddaughter
  • Damian - son
  • Annabel Brooks - daughter-in-law
  • Vanessa Redgrave
  • Franco Nero
  • Bo Derek
  • John Hurt
  • Jo Dalton
  • Sacha Hurt
  • Father Panuska
  • Peter Power
  • John Coyne

production team...

  • Researchers: Tom Wettengel, Ian Brown
  • Writer: Roy Bottomley
  • Directors: Brian Klein, Terry Yarwood
  • Associate Producer: John Graham
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

An Actor's Life For Me

spotlight on the stars


the show's fifty year history

The Great Survivor - Michael Aspel

Birmingham Evening Mail interview with Michael Aspel

My Life in Their Hands

The Mirror interviews Michael Aspel

Richard Harris This Is Your Life Richard Harris This Is Your Life Richard Harris This Is Your Life Richard Harris This Is Your Life Richard Harris This Is Your Life Richard Harris This Is Your Life Richard Harris This Is Your Life Richard Harris This Is Your Life Richard Harris This Is Your Life Richard Harris This Is Your Life Richard Harris This Is Your Life Richard Harris This Is Your Life

Screenshots of Richard Harris This Is Your Life

Roy Bottomley This Is Your Life book

Scriptwriter Roy Bottomley recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, This Is Your Life: The Story of Television's Famous Big Red Book...

Michael Aspel had good reason to feel extra nervous as he waited for the curtain to fall on the production of Pirandello's Henry IV at Wyndham's Theatre on 15 September 1990. As the cast took their curtain calls, Michael was scheduled to walk out from the wings and surprise the play's star – an actor of international stature who had told friends and colleagues, 'Never let them near me with that Big Red Book.'

And former rugby-playing, hell-raising Richard Harris is not an actor to be messed with. When Michael approached him, with the audience going wild, Richard flung up his arms, flopped down on Henry's throne and blurted, 'I always said I'd run. But now I'm too old!'

Richard Harris This Is Your Life

Back at Teddington Studios we had a surprise that was unique for the Life – both Richard's ex-wives walked on, and sat one on either side of him. He looked delighted, as who wouldn't be with Elizabeth Harris on one side and Hollywood actress Ann Turkel on the other, both cultured beauties straight from the pages of Vogue? Both had told us they wouldn't miss the evening for anything, and Ann flew in specially from New York.

Elizabeth, mother of their three sons, had met Richard when they were at drama school. Ann was a schoolgirl when she saw Camelot and compiled a scrapbook of the show. Never did she think that one day she would marry King Arthur.

Richard Harris This Is Your Life

Co-stars of the 1967 film, Vanessa Redgrave (who played Guinevere) and Franco Nero (Lancelot) greeted Richard from Hollywood.

The play in which Richard was currently appearing – from which Isla Blair, Edward de Souza and John Savident joined us – had a special significance for him. As one of five brothers who all won rugby caps for the same province, he had gone to Dublin from Limerick to see Ireland play Scotland. After the game he popped into the Gate Theatre to see a play: Pirandello's Henry IV. When the curtain came down he decided there and then he would become an actor.

Attractive, dark-haired, immaculately groomed researcher Elizabeth Ross became our own 'James Bond girl' when we started building up our surprise guest list for the Life of Richard Harris.

007 himself, Sean Connery, had been a great pal of Richard's for years. When Elizabeth telephoned Sean's wife Micheline, at their home in Spain, she was confident Sean would like to contribute to the programme.

Elizabeth established he was playing golf at Gleneagles, was suitably briefed by our own 'M' (producer Malcolm Morris) and given instructions to rendezvous with a camera crew in Scotland. The idea was that as soon as she made contact with Connery, all she had to say was, 'It will only take a few moments and I've got the crew here all ready to go.'

As it turned out, it wasn't possible for Elizabeth to do a SMERSH operation at the all-male Gleneagles. She couldn't get in. But, as the camera crew waited eagerly, she did get through to Connery on the club telephone. 'Don't you people ever give up?' barked the urbane Bond.

'Then he told me where I could go in no uncertain terms,' said the extremely well-brought up Elizabeth. Ah well, he might have changed his mind had he actually seen her. Or maybe his back swing was really off that day.

Hollywood nearly got in the works on the Life of Richard Harris. Frank Sinatra's office sent him a telegram congratulating Richard on his Life.

Unfortunately it was sent the day before the programme. Fortunately the message went to the wrong theatre, and finally caught up with Richard the day after.

'If I'd got that I'd have pulled out,' said Harris. And Ol' Blue Eyes would have caused a few tears at the Life, too.

Series 31 subjects

Lord Brabourne | Graham Gooch | Norman Barrett | Richard Harris | Tracy Edwards | Stephen Hendry | Robert Pountney
Jimmy Savile | Evelyn Laye | Ernie Wise | Kenneth McKellar | Tom Gleave | Bernard Braden | Barry Foster | Carmen Silvera
Arthur Hailey | Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent | The Bee Gees | John Woodhouse | Evelyn Glennie | David Tomlinson
Dave Willetts | Harry Carpenter | Lionel Bart | Stan Richards | Lonnie Donegan