Richard Harris was once found with his face in cocaine by one of his sons, according to a new documentary.
Harris, who died in 2002 at the age of 72 from cancer, had been open about his hedonistic lifestyle in the 1960s and early 1970s, which involved excessive intake of cocaine and alcohol. In 1978, Harris gave up drugs after almost dying from a cocaine overdose.
In new documentary The Ghost Of Richard Harris, set to air on Sky Arts on Saturday (19 November), his three sons Jamie, Jared and Damian discuss their relationship with their “unpredictable” father.
Speaking to camera in one segment (via The Mirror), Jamie said: “I walked into his bedroom and it was like a scene from Scarface.
“He’d dropped this pound of cocaine on the carpet and it had burst open and his face was just in the middle of it. He was unpredictable.”
In another story, Jared describes an incident with his father in a pub in Covent Garden. “Dad hits the guy with a sucker punch,” he recalls. “He pretends to put his Guinness down and then leaps up and knocks the man out.
“The guy’s out cold on the floor and his girlfriend’s dancing around, saying ‘You killed my boyfriend!’ So Dad throws his Guinness in the guy’s face and, when he starts to wake, realises, ‘I’m not going to win round two, I have to run out of here quickly.’”
A synopsis for the documentary reads: “A candid and revealing insight into the private life and public career of Richard Harris. One of the most remarkable actors of his generation, this feature-length documentary film explores Harris’s complex and, at times, contradictory, character.”
Harris had his breakthrough role in 1963 film This Sporting Life, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. His other credits include 1967’s Camelot, A Man Called Horse, Cromwell and The Field.
In his later years, he was known for playing Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films, with 2002’s Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets being his last film role.