Ed Harris
Born: November 28, 1950, in Englewood, New Jersey
Grew up in: Tenafly, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2019-20: Performing Arts

An actor of impressive range, Ed Harris has convincingly played characters from war hero to western lawman to pioneering astronaut to iconic painter, earning four Academy Award nominations along the way.

Born in Englewood and raised in Tenafly, Harris was senior captain on the Tenafly High School football team. He played football at Columbia University, but left after two years to pursue acting. Following his parents to Oklahoma, he began his acting studies at the University of Oklahoma, then moved to Los Angeles, where he earned a BFA degree at the California Institute of the Arts in 1975.

Harris began his acting career on the stage in Los Angeles and in small television roles. He made his film debut in the 1978 mystery thriller “Coma.” Three years later, he landed his first starring role in George A. Romero’s oddball motorcycle film “Knightriders.”

In 1983, Harris broke through to national fame with his critically acclaimed portrayal of astronaut John Glenn in the star-studded film “The Right Stuff.” That same year, he earned an Obie Award for his Off-Broadway performance in Sam Sheperd’s “Fool for Love.”

Those triumphs established Harris as both leading man and versatile supporting player for film, TV and the stage. His four Oscar nominations came for his performances in “Apollo 13” (as the intense flight director); “The Truman Show” (as a domineering TV producer); “Pollock” (as the alcoholic abstract-expressionist painter Jackson Pollock); and “The Hours” (as a moody poet living with AIDS).

The critically praised film “Pollock” also marked Harris’s directorial debut. To prepare for his starring role in the film, Harris reportedly had a studio built on his property and learned to paint in his character’s style.

In addition to his many film roles, Harris has starred in such acclaimed TV productions as “Riders of the Purple Sage,” “Empire Falls,” “Game Change” and “Westworld.” His portrayal of presidential candidate John McCain in “Game Change” earned Harris a Golden Globe Award as best supporting actor.

Harris also has been honored for his work on Broadway, including a Tony Award in 1986 for his starring role in “Precious Sons.” In 2019, he returned to Broadway, portraying Atticus Finch in the revival of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Intro/Acceptance Video