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Richard Harris was never an easy person to get along with. He was a difficult schoolboy (and was later disowned by his Limerick teachers), then he went to work in the family flour and milling business - where he organised a strike against his father.
It was as a gifted and compelling actor that Richard Harris dominated stage and screen for more than four decades. He was nominated for an Oscar twice: for his earthy portrayal of a rugby player in This Sporting Life and as a dominant and bullish Irish farmer in The Field. More recently he delivered gripping screen performances in Gladiator and two Harry Potter films.
But it was his violent, drunken, womanising private life that fed the public myth and made Harris, one of a new breed of rogue male actors, an international celebrity. Married and divorced twice, with three sons - two actors, one a film director - he claimed the only time he had been miscast was as a husband. His lovers included legends such as Merle Oberon, Sophia Loren, Ava Gardner and Vanessa Redgrave.