Monday, April 12, 2010

Neil Patrick Harris is an American actor...

Neil Patrick Harris (born June 15, 1973) is an American  actor. Prominent roles of his career include the title role in Doogie Howser, M.D., the womanizing Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother, a fictionalized version of himself in the Harold & Kumar series, and the title role in Joss Whedon's Emmy Award-winning musical web series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. He also hosted the 63rd Tony Awards on June 7, 2009,  and the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards on September 20, 2009. On March 7, 2010, he made a surprise appearance at the 82nd Academy Awards, delivering the opening musical number.

Early life
Harris was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and grew up in Ruidoso, New Mexico. His parents, Sheila and Ron, ran a restaurant.  He has an older brother named Brian, and it was by following his brother to an audition in fourth grade that he first began acting—as Toto in a school production of The Wizard of Oz. He attended La Cueva High School in Albuquerque and was active in school plays and musicals there. Harris was an honors student and graduated with honors in 1991. He was three years ahead of fellow La Cueva student, Freddie Prinze, Jr.

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 cast him in his 1988 film Clara's Heart, a drama with Whoopi Goldberg based on the novel (of the same name) by Joseph Olshan, that won him a Golden Globe nomination. In 1988, he also starred in Purple People Eater, a children's fantasy. The following year, he won the lead in Doogie Howser, M.D., for which he was again nominated for a Golden Globe. After Doogie Howser's four-season run ended in 1993, Harris played a number of guest roles on television series such as Murder She Wrote, before taking his first film role as an adult in 1995 in the little-seen shocker Animal Room. Since then, his film work has included supporting roles in The Next Best Thing, Undercover Brother and Starship Troopers. In the Harold and Kumar stoner comedy films, (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay) he plays a drug-crazed, lecherous version of himself.

From 1999 to 2000, Harris starred with Tony Shalhoub in the sitcom Stark Raving Mad, which lasted 22 episodes. He has taken lead roles in a number of made-for-television features, including Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story in 1994, My √Āntonia in 1995, A Christmas Wish in 1998, Joan of Arc in 1999, The Wedding Dress in 2001, and The Christmas Blessing in 2005, as well as series guest roles.

Harris has worked on Broadway in both musical and dramatic roles. He played Tobias Ragg in 2001 concert performances of Sweeney Todd. In 2002, he performed on Broadway 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, topping fellow celeb stars John Stamos and Alan Cumming.

In 2004, he performed a dual role of the Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald on Broadway in the controversial musical revival of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins. He also sang the role of Charles (first played by Anthony Perkins) on the Nonesuch recording of Sondheim's Evening Primrose. He has also portrayed Mark Cohen in the touring company of the musical RENT, a character who he mockingly reprised on the January 10, 2009, episode of Saturday Night Live, which he hosted. Since fall of 2005 Harris has played Barney Stinson, a serial womanizer reminiscent of his Harold and Kumar role, in the CBS ensemble sitcom How I Met Your Mother. The Stinson role earned him 2007, 2008 and 2009 Emmy nominations (for best supporting male actor in a comedy series).

In 2007, Harris worked with Mike Nelson on an audio commentary for RiffTrax. The two riffed on the film Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. Harris is a big fan of the cult TV series Nelson worked on, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and was interviewed for a 1992 Comedy Central special hosted by Penn Jillette, who did voiceovers for Comedy Central's programming at that time, about the series and its fans, This Is MST3K. In 2008 Harris took the title role in Joss Whedon's musical web series, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, alongside Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day. The first episode of the series debuted July 15, 2008. In 2008 Harris also guest-starred on Sesame Street as the Sesame Street Fairy Shoe Person.

On April 26, 2009, Harris hosted the 7th Annual TV Land Awards.

After a highly successful 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. As a character who could make anyone do his bidding by singing, he spent most of the episode singing several original songs.

Harris stars in the upcoming movie Beastly, alongside Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens. He plays a blind tutor named Will. The movie is set for release on July 30, 2010.

He also plays the lead in the upcoming indie comedy The Best and the Brightest as a carefree father who uproots his family from Delaware to move to New York City's Upper East Side.
Harris appeared as a guest judge on Season 9 of American Idol in August 2009 auditions taped in Dallas, Texas.

Harris recently hosted a US Pilot for the hit UK game show The Cube in London, England, for CBS.
English stage producer Cameron Mackintosh has voiced interest in producing a Broadway revival of the musical Barnum (which originally starred Michael Crawford and Jim Dale) with Harris in the title role. Mackintosh has been thinking of this idea ever since he saw Harris presenting the 2009 Emmy Awards.

Harris is providing his voice for the role of the adult Dick Grayson (Nightwing) for the animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood.

Personal life
In November 2006, after a report about Harris' romantic relationship with actor David Burtka surfaced online, Harris came out as being gay.

He had been openly gay in his personal life and in the theater community, but stated, "The public eye has always been kind to me, and until recently I have been able to live a pretty normal life. Now it seems there is speculation and interest in my private life and relationships. So, rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, 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 a lot."

Neil and David Burtka have been together since April 2004. Harris and Burtka attended the Emmy awards in September 2007 as an openly acknowledged gay couple for the first time, an appearance which Harris discussed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and which was reported in various media outlets.

Harris is a fan of magic, and is a magician himself like his character on How I Met Your Mother. He serves on the Board of Directors of Hollywood's Magic Castle. Harris won the Tannen's Magic Louis Award in 2006 and hosted the 2008 World Magic Awards on October 11, 2008. Additionally, Harris was the celebrity guest of honor for Top Chef Masters, which took place at the Magic Castle, and included Burtka as a fellow guest.

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