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Neil Patrick Harris
5.3.10NeilPatrickHarrisByDavidShankbone.jpg
Harris at the Time 100 Gala in 2010
Born (1973-06-15) June 15, 1973 (age 50)
Education La Cueva High School
Occupation
  • Actor
  • singer
  • writer
  • producer
  • television host
Years active 1988–present
Spouse(s)
(m. 2014)
Children 2
Awards Full list

Neil Patrick Harris (born June 15, 1973) is an American actor, singer, writer, producer, and television host. Primarily known for his comedic television roles and dramatic and musical stage roles, he has received multiple accolades throughout his career, including a Tony Award, five Primetime Emmy Awards, and nominations for a Grammy Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

On television, he is known for playing the title character on the ABC series Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989–1993), for which he was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy, as well as Barney Stinson on the CBS series How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014), for which he was nominated for four Emmy Awards), and Count Olaf on the Netflix series A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017–2019). Harris is also known for his role as the title character in Joss Whedon's musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008) and a fictional version of himself in the Harold & Kumar film series (2004–2011). His other films include Starship Troopers (1997),The Smurfs (2011), The Smurfs 2 (2013), and Gone Girl (2014).

In 2010, Harris won two awards at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards, winning for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his guest appearance on Glee, and Outstanding Special Class Program for hosting the Tony Awards in 2009; he has won the latter award three additional times for hosting the show in 2011, 2012, and 2013. He also hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2009 and 2013, and hosted the 87th Academy Awards in 2015. In 2014, he starred in the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, for which he won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Harris was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2010.

Early life and education

Harris was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and grew up in Ruidoso, New Mexico, with his older brother and their parents, Sheila Gail (née Scott; born 1946) and Ronald Gene Harris (born 1946). His parents were lawyers and also ran a restaurant. He attended La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, graduating with high honors in 1991, which he attributes to being privately tutored half the school year while on set.

Career

1989–2003: Career's begins

Harris began his career as a child actor and was discovered by playwright Mark Medoff at a drama camp in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Medoff later cast him in the 1988 drama film Clara's Heart, starring Whoopi Goldberg and based on the novel of the same name by Joseph Olshan. Clara's Heart earned Harris a Golden Globe nomination. The same year, he starred in Purple People Eater, a children's fantasy. Beginning in 1989, Harris played the title role of a child prodigy doctor in Doogie Howser, M.D., for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe. After the show's four-season run ended in 1993, Harris played a number of guest roles on television series, including Murder, She Wrote. From 1999 to 2000, he starred with Tony Shalhoub in the NBC sitcom Stark Raving Mad, which lasted 22 episodes. Harris's first film role as an adult was 1995's Animal Room, although he portrayed a teenager.

Harris played lead roles in a number of made-for-television features including Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story in 1994, My Ántonia in 1995, The Christmas Wish in 1998, Joan of Arc in 1999, The Wedding Dress in 2001, and The Christmas Blessing in 2005. His subsequent film work has included supporting roles in The Next Best Thing (2000), Undercover Brother (2002), and Starship Troopers (2004).

Harris has worked on Broadway in both musical and dramatic roles. He played Tobias Ragg in the 2001 concert performances of Sweeney Todd. In 2002, he performed beside Anne Heche in Proof. In 2003, he took the role of the Emcee in Cabaret alongside Deborah Gibson and Tom Bosley. As a result of his critically acclaimed performance in Cabaret, Harris was named the top-drawing headliner in the role of the Emcee by GuestStarCasting.com.

2004–2014: International recognition and How I Met Your Mother

In 2004, he performed the dual role of the Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald on Broadway in the revival of Stephen Sondheim's musical Assassins. He also sang the role of Charles (initially played by Anthony Perkins in a 1966 ABC telecast) on the Nonesuch recording of Sondheim's Evening Primrose and portrayed Mark Cohen in the 1997 touring company of the musical Rent, a role he satirized on the January 10, 2009 episode of Saturday Night Live, which he hosted. ..... He would go on to reprise the role of "Neil Patrick Harris" in the Harold & Kumar sequels: Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.

Cobie Smulders & Neil Patrick Harris (9445875877)
Cobie Smulders and Harris at ComicCon for How I Met Your Mother in 2013

..... The role earned him Emmy nominations every year from 2007 to 2010. In 2008, Harris guest-starred on Sesame Street as the Sesame Street Fairy Shoe Person. In 2009, he hosted the 7th Annual TV Land Awards and appeared as a guest judge on Season 9 of American Idol.

In 2007, Harris worked with Mike Nelson on an audio commentary for RiffTrax. The two "riffed" on the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. In 2008, Harris played the title role in Joss Whedon's musical web series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog alongside Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day. He has also provided his voice for the Disney California Adventure Park attraction California Screamin'. After a preview at the San Diego Comic-Con, a musical episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold featuring Harris as the villainous Music Meister premiered on October 23, 2009, on Cartoon Network.

Neil Patrick Harris 2013
Harris at The Smurfs 2 premiere in 2013

Harris hosted the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards on September 20, 2009. On August 21, 2010, he won two Emmy Awards at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony, one of which was for his guest performance in the television series Glee. Harris hosted the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards on September 22, 2013, marking his second time hosting the event. Harris has hosted the Tony Awards four times: the 63rd Tony Awards on June 7, 2009, the 65th Tony Awards on June 12, 2011, the 66th Tony Awards on June 10, 2012, and the 67th Tony Awards on June 9, 2013. Only Dame Angela Lansbury, with five ceremonies, has hosted the Tony Awards more times. Hosting the Tony Awards has earned him four Primetime Emmy Awards in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 for the 63rd, 65th, 66th and 67th, respectively.

In 2010, Harris directed a production of the rock musical Rent at the Hollywood Bowl; he cast his Beastly co-star Vanessa Hudgens as Mimi. In 2011, Harris played the lead role of Bobby in Stephen Sondheim's Company with the New York Philharmonic in concert, opposite Patti LuPone and others. That same year, he directed The Expert at the Card Table at Broad Stage's Edye in Santa Monica, California. Also in 2010, Harris provided voice acting for the role of the adult Dick Grayson (Nightwing) in the animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood and the beagle Lou in the film Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. The same year, he played the lead in the indie comedy The Best and the Brightest. On March 7, 2010, he made a surprise appearance at the 82nd Academy Awards, delivering the opening musical number. He starred in the films The Smurfs (2011) and The Smurfs 2 (2013). Harris provided the voice of Steve the Monkey in the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs film franchise. In December 2010, Harris hosted the Spike Video Game Awards.

Harris portrayed the titular role in the first Broadway production of the rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, from March through August 2014. Harris received acclaim for the role with Variety declaring, "It’s astonishing how polished a physical performance Harris gives. Channeling his inner Rockette, along with Iggy Pop and Lou Reed by way of the Ramones, he carries off some advanced dance and acrobatic moves". Harris went on to win the 2014 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Later in 2014, Harris played the role of Desi CollingsGone Girl, directed by David Fincher.

In 2014, Harris turned down the chance to replace David Letterman as host of the Late Show on CBS, stating that he feared he would get bored of the repetition that hosting a nightly talk show would entail. He also rejected the suggestion of replacing Craig Ferguson as host of The Late Late Show on the same grounds, although he claims he was never actually offered either job. In October 2014, Harris released a memoir titled Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, which is structured like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. His autobiography spent two weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List. His debut young adult novel, The Magic Misfits, was released in November 2017 and is the first in a four-book series of the same name.

2015–present: Future projects

Neil Patrick Harris at BookCon (16341) (cropped)
Harris at BookCon in 2019

On September 15, 2015, Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, a live variety series hosted by Harris on NBC, made its debut and ran for eight episodes. On February 22, 2015, Harris hosted the 87th Academy Awards. On January 15, 2016, Netflix cast Harris in the television adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, in which he starred as Count Olaf. It ran for 3 seasons and 25 episodes before ending on January 1, 2019. On March 31, 2017, NBC picked up Harris's game show titled Genius Junior, the format would test the smarts of the most brilliant children in the country. Harris would serve as host and executive producer. The series received a 10-episode order and debuted on March 18, 2018.

Harris appeared in the fourth installment of the Matrix franchise, released in 2021.

In October 2020, Harris released a single-player board game named Box One, produced by luxury playing card company Theory11. It is currently available exclusively through Target. Harris has been a frequent guest narrator at Disney's Candlelight Processional at Walt Disney World.

In January 2021, Harris starred in the British drama series, It's a Sin, broadcast on Channel 4, depicting the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United Kingdom. In June 2021, Harris was announced to be a judge on Australia's Got Talent: Challengers & Champions, a spin-off series of Australia's Got Talent.

In June 2022, it was announced that Harris would play the main villain of the 60th anniversary specials of Doctor Who, later revealed as The Toymaker, last seen in the 1966 serial The Celestial Toymaker, portrayed by Michael Gough. In July 2022, Harris starred in the Netflix series Uncoupled as gay Manhattanite Michael Lawson, a realtor re-navigating the dating scene after 17 years.

In 2022, he joined the New York City Center Encores! presentation of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods as The Baker opposite Sara Bareilles as The Baker's Wife. The limited production ran from May 4 to May 15. In 2023, he joined the cast of Peter Pan Goes Wrong for a limited engagement from April 11 to May 7 playing the role of Francis Beaumont.

Personal life

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka at the 38th People's Choice Award
Harris with husband David Burtka at the 38th People's Choice Awards in 2012

From 1997 to 1998, Harris dated actress Christine Taylor. .....

Harris publicly came out as gay in November 2006, saying, "I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love."

Harris has been in a relationship with actor and chef David Burtka since April 2004. In October 2010 they became parents to twins, son Gideon and daughter Harper, born via a surrogate mother.

Following the passage of the Marriage Equality Act in New York on June 24, 2011, Harris and Burtka announced their engagement via Twitter, stating that they had proposed to each other five years earlier but kept the engagement secret until same-sex marriage became legal. Harris and Burtka married in Italy in September 2014. Pamela Fryman, the long-time director of How I Met Your Mother, officiated the wedding while Elton John performed at the reception. In 2013, the couple bought a townhouse in Harlem which they sold in 2022 for $6.9M. The family currently reside in East Hampton, NY.

Harris is a fan of magic, which was written into his characters on How I Met Your Mother, American Horror Story: Freak Show, and Glee. Harris won the Tannen's Magic Louis Award in 2006 and hosted the 2008 World Magic Awards on October 11, 2008. He previously served as the President of the Board of Directors of Hollywood's Magic Castle, from 2011 to 2014. Additionally, Harris and partner David Burtka were guests of honor for a Top Chef Masters episode that took place at the Magic Castle.

Philanthropy

Alongside his acting career, Harris has supported and contributed to various charities, organization, and foundations. These include:

In October 2014, Harris attended a dinner for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and in September 2016, he and his husband were the honorary hosts of a culinary cookout to help raise money for the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. In April 2019, Harris hosted WE Day California, a charity event that celebrates students who have made a change in their community.

Discography

Cast recordings

Year Album title Notes
2001 Evening Primrose Studio Cast
2004 Assassins Revival Cast Recording
2006 Wall to Wall: Stephen Sondheim Concert Cast
2008 Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Original Cast Recording
2009 Batman: The Brave and the Bold – Mayhem of the Music Meister Original Cast Recording
2014 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Original Broadway Cast Recording

Singles

Year Single Peak chart positions Sales Album
AUS CAN IRE UK US
2010 "Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit" 113 76 50 How I Met Your Mother season 5
"Dream On" (featuring Matthew Morrison) 91 24 44 47 26 84,000 (US) Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers

Acting credits

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1988 Clara's Heart David Hart
1988 Purple People Eater Billy Johnson
1995 Animal Room Arnold Mosk
1997 Starship Troopers Carl Jenkins
1998 The Proposition Roger Martin
2000 Next Best Thing, TheThe Next Best Thing David
2002 The Mesmerist Benjamin
2002 Undercover Brother Lance
2004 Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle Neil Patrick Harris
2005 The Golden Blaze The Comic Shop Owner Direct-to-DVD
2008 Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay Neil Patrick Harris
2008 Beyond All Boundaries 1st Lt. David Hettema Voice, documentary
2008 Justice League: The New Frontier Barry Allen / The Flash Voice, direct-to-video
2009 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Steve the Monkey Voice
2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Lou the Beagle Voice
2010 The Best and the Brightest Jeff
2010 Batman: Under the Red Hood Dick Grayson / Nightwing Voice, direct-to-video
2011 Beastly Will Fratalli
2011 Company Robert Filmed production
2011 Smurfs, TheThe Smurfs Patrick Winslow
2011 Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, AA Very Harold & Kumar Christmas Neil Patrick Harris
2011 The Muppets Himself Cameo
2012 American Reunion Celebrity Dance-Off Host Cameo
2013 The Smurfs 2 Patrick Winslow
2013 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Steve the Monkey Voice
2014 A Million Ways to Die in the West Foy
2014 Gone Girl Desi Collings
2017 Downsizing Jeff Lonowski
2019 Dads Himself Documentary film
2021 8-Bit Christmas Adult Jake Doyle
2021 The Matrix Resurrections The Analyst
2022 The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Richard Fink

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1988 Too Good to Be True Danny Harland Television film
1989 B.L. Stryker Buder Campbell Episode: "Blues for Buder"
1989 Cold Sassy Tree Will Tweedy / Narrator Television film
1989 Home Fires Burning Lonnie Tibbits Television film
1989–1993 Doogie Howser, M.D. Douglas "Doogie" Howser 97 episodes
1990 The Earth Day Special Doogie Howser Television film
1991 Stranger in the Family Steve Thompson Television film
1991 Blossom The "Charming" Derek Slade Episode: "Blossom – A Rockumentary"
1991 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Himself as Bart Simpson Voice, episode: "Bart the Murderer"
1992 Roseanne Dr. Doogie Howser Episode: "Less Is More"
1992 Captain Planet and the Planeteers Todd Andrews Voice, episode: "A Formula for Hate"
1992 Capitol Critters Max Voice, 13 episodes
1993 Quantum Leap Mike Hammond Episode: "Return of the Evil Leaper – October 8, 1956"
1993 Murder, She Wrote Tommy Remsen Episode: "Lone Witness"
1993 Family Torn Apart, AA Family Torn Apart Brian Hannigan Television film
1994 Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story Jim Stolpa Television film
1995 The Man in the Attic Edward Broder Television film
1995 Not Our Son Paul Kenneth Keller Television film
1995 My Antonia Jimmy Burden Television film
1995 Legacy of Sin: The William Coit Story William Coit Television film
1996 Outer Limits, TheThe Outer Limits Howie Morrison Episode: "From Within"
1997 Homicide: Life on the Street Alan Schack Episode: "Valentine's Day"
1998 The Christmas Wish Will Martin Television film
1999 Joan of Arc The Dauphin 2 episodes
1999–2000 Stark Raving Mad Henry McNeeley 22 episodes
2000 Will & Grace Bill Episode: "Girls, Interrupted"
2001 Static Shock Johnny Morrow / Replay Voice, episode: "Replay"
2001 Son of the Beach Loverboy Episode: "Queefer Madness"
2001 As Told by Ginger Ned Voice, episode: "Season of Caprice"
2001 Legend of Tarzan, TheThe Legend of Tarzan Moyo Voice, episode: "Tarzan and the Challenger"
2001 Ed Joe Baxter Episode: "Replacements"
2001 The Wedding Dress Travis Cleveland Television film
2002 Touched by an Angel Jonas Episode: "The Princeless Bride"
2002 Justice League Ray Thompson Voice, episode: "Legends"
2003 Boomtown Peter Corman Episode: "Monster's Brawl"
2003 Spider-Man: The New Animated Series Peter Parker / Spider-Man Voice, main role
2004 Law & Order: Criminal Intent John Tagman Episode: "Want"
2005 Numb3rs Ethan Burdick Episode: "Prime Suspect"
2005 Jack & Bobby Prof. Preston Phelps Episode: "Querida Grace"
2005 Christmas Blessing, TheThe Christmas Blessing Nathan Andrews Television film
2005–2014 How I Met Your Mother Barney Stinson 208 episodes; directed episode: "Jenkins"
2006 Me, Eloise Voice, episode: "Eloise Goes to School"
2007, 2009 Family Guy Barney Stinson Voice, 2 episodes
2008 Sesame Street The Fairy Shoeperson Episode: "Telly's New Shoes"
2009 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) Episode: "Neil Patrick Harris/Taylor Swift"
2009 Batman: The Brave and the Bold Music Meister Voice, episode: "Mayhem of the Music Meister!"
2009–2012 Robot Chicken Various roles Voice, 3 episodes
2009 7th Annual TV Land Awards Himself (host) Television special
2009 63rd Tony Awards Himself (host) Television special
2009 61st Primetime Emmy Awards Himself (host) Television special
2009 Yes, Virginia Dr. Philip O'Hanlon Voice, television special
2010 Glee Bryan Ryan Episode: "Dream On"
2010–2015 Penguins of Madagascar, TheThe Penguins of Madagascar Dr. Blowhole Voice, 3 episodes
2010 2010 Spike Video Game Awards Himself (host) Television special
2011 Brain Games Narrator 3 episodes
2011–2013 Adventure Time Prince Gumball Voice, 2 episodes
2011 65th Tony Awards Himself (host) Television special
2012 66th Tony Awards Himself (host) Television special
2013 67th Tony Awards Himself (host) Television special
2013 The Goodwin Games N/A Director
Episode: "The Box"
2013 65th Primetime Emmy Awards Himself (host) Television special
2015 American Horror Story: Freak Show Chester Creb 2 episodes
2015 87th Academy Awards Himself (host) Television special
2015 Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris Himself (host) 8 episodes; also writer and executive producer
2017–2019 A Series of Unfortunate Events Count Olaf 25 episodes; also producer
2017 Mystery Science Theater 3000 Neville LaRoy Episode: "Avalanche"
2017 At Home with Amy Sedaris Himself Episode: "Holidays"
2018 Genius Junior Himself (host) 10 episodes; also executive producer
2019 Ghostwriter The White Rabbit Voice, episode: "Ghost in Wonderland, Part 1"
2020 Home Movie: The Princess Bride Westley Episode: "Life Is Pain"
2021 It's a Sin Henry Coltrane Episode #1.1
2021 Eden Zero Voice, 4 episodes
2021 Star Wars: Visions Karre Voice, episode: The Twins: English dub
2021 F Is for Family Louis Chilsons Voice, 6 episodes
2022–present Uncoupled Michael Lawson 8 episodes; also executive producer
2023 How I Met Your Father Barney Stinson 2 episodes
2023 Drag Me to Dinner Himself (judge) Hulu original
2023 Doctor Who The Toymaker Episode: "The Giggle"

Theater

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Rent Mark Cohen National Tour
1998 Romeo and Juliet Romeo Montague Old Globe Theatre
1999 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Tobias Ragg Los Angeles
2000 First New York Philharmonic
2001 San Francisco Symphony Orchestra concert version
2002 Proof Hal Manhattan Theatre Club
2003 Cabaret The Emcee Stephen Sondheim Theatre
2004 Paris Letter, TheThe Paris Letter Young Anton / Burt Sarris Roundabout Theatre
2004 Assassins The Balladeer / Lee Harvey Oswald
2005 Tick, Tick... BOOM! Jon Menier Chocolate Factory
2006 All My Sons Chris Keller Geffen Playhouse
2006 Amadeus Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Hollywood Bowl
2010 Rent N/A Director
Hollywood Bowl
2011 Company Robert New York Philharmonic Concert Version
2011 A Snow White Christmas The Magic Mirror El Portal Theater
2012 Assassins The Balladeer / Lee Harvey Oswald Roundabout Theatre
2014 Nothing to Hide N/A Director
Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre
2014 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Hedwig Belasco Theatre
2022 Into the Woods The Baker New York City Center, replaced previously announced Christian Borle
2023 Peter Pan Goes Wrong Francis Beaumont Ethel Barrymore Theatre
2024 Tick, Tick... BOOM! N/A Director
Kennedy Center

Web

Year Title Role Notes
2008 Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Dr. Horrible/Billy 3 episodes
2008 Prop 8: The Musical A Very Smart Fellow Short film
2012–2013 Neil's Puppet Dreams Neil Patrick Harris 7 episodes; also co-creator, writer and executive producer

Video games

Year Title Role
2008 Saints Row 2 Veteran Child
2009 Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard Wallace "Wally" Wellesley
2010 Rock of the Dead Unnamed character
2010 Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Peter Parker / Spider-Man
2011 The Penguins of Madagascar: Dr. Blowhole Returns – Again! Dr. Blowhole
2013 Saints Row IV Veteran Child

Audiobooks

  • 2014: Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography (read by the author), Random House Audio, ISBN: 978-0-385-36794-3

Awards and nominations

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Neil Patrick Harris para niños

  • LGBT culture in New York City
  • List of LGBT people from New York City
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