Neil Patrick Harris
Date of Birth
15 June 1973, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
6′ 1″ (1.85 m)
Neil Patrick Harris was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on June 15, 1973. He grew up in Ruidoso, New Mexico, a small town 120 miles south of Albuquerque, where he first took up acting in the fourth grade. While tagging along with Brian, his older brother by 3 years, Harris won the part of Toto in a school production of The Wizard of Oz (1939).
His parents, Ron (a lawyer) and Sheila (a writer), moved the family to Albuquerque in 1988, the same year that Harris made his film debut in two movies: Purple People Eater (1988) and Clara’s Heart (1988), which starred Whoopi Goldberg. A year later, when Neil was 16, he landed the lead role in Steven Bochco’s television series about a teen prodigy doctor at a local hospital, “Doogie Howser, M.D.” (1989), which launched Harris into teen-heartthrob status. The series lasted1989-1993 and earned him a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Male Performer in a New Series (1990) and a Golden Globe Nomination (1990). Harris attended the same high school as Freddie Prinze Jr., La Cueva High School in Albuquerque. Neil acted on stage in a few plays while there, one of which was his senior play, Fiddler on the Roof (1971), in which he portrayed Lazar Wolf the butcher (1991).
When “Doogie Howser, M.D.” stopped production in 1993, Harris took up stage acting, which he had always wanted to do. After a string of made-for-television movies, Harris acted in his first big screen roles in nine years, Starship Troopers (1997) with Casper Van Dien and then The Proposition (1998). In July 1997, Harris accepted the role of Mark Cohen for the Los Angeles production of the beloved musical, Rent (2005). His performance in “Rent” garnered him a Drama-League Award in 1997. He continued in the musical, to rave reviews, until January 1998. He later reprised the role for six nights in his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in December 1998.
In 1999, Harris returned to television in the short-lived sitcom “Stark Raving Mad” (1999), with Tony Shalhoub. He was also in the big-screen projects The Next Best Thing (2000) and Undercover Brother (2002), and he can be heard as the voice of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the newest animated “Spider-Man” (2003) series. Harris has continued his stage work, making his Broadway debut in 2001 in “Proof.” He has also appeared on stage in “Romeo and Juliet,” “Cabaret,” Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Concert (2001) (TV), and, most recently, “Assassins.” In 2005, Harris returned to the small screen in a guest-starring role on “Numb3rs” (2005) and a starring role in the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” (2005). Neil played the title role in the web-exclusive musical comedy “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” (2008), widely downloaded via iTunes to become the #1 TV series for five straight weeks, despite not actually being on television.
Often works his singing abilities into his roles
Often plays mischievous characters
Both of his parents are lawyers.
Went to the same high school as Freddie Prinze Jr..
Has performed magic tricks on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” (1962), “Late Show with David Letterman” (1993), “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (1992), “Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (2003) and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” (2005).
Has sung since he was a child. His father played the folk guitar and together they entertained.
His favorite movie is Rear Window (1954) by Alfred Hitchcock.
His parents own a restaurant called “Perreniel’s” in Albuquerque. His brother is now running the restaurant.
Based on his Los Angeles stage performance in the musical Rent, he was attached to play Mark Cohen in a television mini series based on the Broadway musical, with Wilson Cruz as Angel, Rikki Lee Travolta as Roger Davis, and singer Shakira as Mimi, but the rights were pulled in order for Chris Columbus to make a film adaptation using much of the original Broadway cast including Anthony Rapp in the role of Mark.
Is an avid Les Miserables fan, and performed the song “The Confrontation” with his co-star Jason Segel (both of “How I Met Your Mother” (2005) fame) live on “The Megan Mullally Show” (2006). He performed the role of Javert, to wild cheers from the audience.
He was the “Not My Job” guest on the April 5, 2008, episode of the National Public Radio quiz show “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!”.
He is an amateur magician, which he once demonstrated on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.
Typically, actors playing themselves on film are listed “as Himself” in the film’s credits. Due to the over-the-top, outlandish nature of his role in Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies (2004) and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008), he requested that his credit read “Neil Patrick Harris” instead of “as Himself”. This was to make clear that he was playing a fictional character that was in no way a true representation of himself.
According to an oral history of “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” (2008) published in July 2008 in Entertainment Weekly, he auditioned to play the doctor role on “Firefly” (2002) that was eventually filled by Sean Maher.
He is credited using all three names because there was already a different actor named Neil Harris in the Screen Actors Guild by the time he first got his SAG card. Harris joked on NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” that he uses all three names because it’s “far more theatrical,” and that he and his parents considered using names like “Neil Danger Harris” or “Neil Patrick Rocket”.
Has been in a committed relationship with stage and screen actor David Burtka, his partner since 2004.
Harris’s closest friends include his companion David Burtka, Amy Acker, Lori and Lex Medlin, Becky Baeling, and Brandon Boyce.
Enjoys Red Bull so much on and off the set of “How I Met Your Mother” (2005) that he was given a lifetime supply of it and a mini-refrigerator by the company that makes the drink because of the amount of free advertising he has given it.
In one year, he hosted The 7th Annual TV Land Awards (2009) (TV), The 63rd Annual Tony Awards (2009) (TV), and The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards (2009) (TV). All three ceremonies featured him singing a song about the occasion that had been written for him by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
Recipient of the 2009 The Trevor Life Award, which annually honors an “individual who, through his or her example, support, volunteerism and/or occupation, is an inspiration to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning youth.” The award is presented by The Trevor Project, a national crisis and suicide prevention organization helping LGBTQ young people who are facing familial rejection or considering suicide. The next year, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Trevor Project.
All in the same award season, he hosted The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards (2009) (TV) and The 63rd Annual Tony Awards (2009) (TV), presented an award at The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2010) (TV) and had an opening act at The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010) (TV).
In 2010, Time Magazine named Harris one of their 100 Most Influential People in the World. Joss Whedon wrote the short article on Harris in the issue.
Told Howard Stern that he had plastic surgery to pin his ears back so that they would not stick out as much as they did when he was an adolescent.
On October 12, 2010, his and David Burtka’s twins, son Gideon Scott and daughter Harper Grace, were born via surrogate.
Was in a relationship with Christine Taylor (1997-1998).
Was in a relationship with Robyn Lively (1992-1993), when they worked together on the set of “Doogie Howser, M.D.” (1989).
Agreed to be the announcer for the CoasterRadio.com podcast after being impressed by the show’s year-long “Neil Patrick Harris Project”.
Friends with his “How I Met Your Mother” (2005) co-star, Alyson Hannigan.
In June 24, 2011, Harris and David Burtka announced their engagement via Twitter, stating that they had proposed to each other five years ago but kept the engagement secret until same-sex marriage became legal.
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame [September 2011].
Harris and his partner, David Burtka, have two children, Gideon Scott and Harper Grace, born on October 12, 2010.
Of Irish descent.
People Magazine, November 3, 2006: “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.”
I heard through the grapevine that they’d written this movie and that I was in it, and that I had to call my attorneys and make it stop — that it was a bad thing, and I read it and thought it was hilarious. A friend was auditioning for a different part in the movie and said, ‘do you know about this movie that you’re in?’ – on playing “Neil Patrick Harris” in Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies (2004).
Comedy is way more difficult than drama. What I might find funny, the editor might not find funny. They might choose the reaction shot from Take 4 with my line from Take 1 with my next line from Take 7, and then the timing that I was trying to do does not come across.
She’s like the coolest, nicest chick ever. She’s an absolute catch, and I thought if I’m not going to feel the super sparks with her, then it probably means that I’m gay. [Speaking to Howard Stern about having dated actress Christine Taylor in his early 20s].
I’m not the biggest fan of the word ‘partner’. It either means that we run a business together or we’re cowboys. ‘Boyfriend’ seems fleeting, like maybe we met two weeks ago. I’ve been saying ‘better half’ for as long as I’ve been able to. I think it’s a little self-deprecating and clearly defines that we’re in a relationship, but it would be nice to say ‘my husband’.
[on the Tony Awards] We like to call it 50 Shades of Gay.
“How I Met Your Mother” (2005) $150,000/episode (2009-10)
Where Are They Now
(February 2003) Appearing on Broadway as the Emcee in “Cabaret”
(April 2004) Currently appearing on Broadway as Lee Harvey Oswald in a production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Assassins”.
(May 2005) He will be starring in the London production of Jonathan Larson’s “Tick, Tick…Boom!” through September 2005
(April 2006) “Chris Keller” in Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.
(June 2006) Filled in as co-host for Regis Philbin on “Live with Regis and Kelly”.
(February 2008) Co-Producing a Los Angeles version of the hit off-off Broadway interactive theatre experience “Accomplice: New York” with Tom Salamon.