Edward Allen “Ed” Harris (born November 28, 1950) is an American actor, producer, director, and screenwriter. He is best known for his performances in films such as The Right Stuff (1983), The Abyss (1989), Nixon (1995), The Rock (1996), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Enemy at the Gates (2001), Radio (2003), A History of Violence (2005), Gone Baby Gone (2007), The Way Back (2010), Man on a Ledge (2012), and Gravity (2013).
He is a three-time nominee of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Apollo 13 (1995), The Truman Show (1998), and The Hours (2002). He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for playing artist Jackson Pollock in his directorial debut Pollock (2000). He also won a Golden Globe Award for playing Senator John McCain in Game Change (2012). In 2015, Harris received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Harris was born at the Englewood Hospital in Englewood, New Jersey, and was raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, the son of Margaret (née Sholl), a travel agent, and Bob L. Harris, who sang with the Fred Waring chorus and worked at the bookstore of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has two brothers, Paul and Robert. His parents were originally from Oklahoma. Harris was raised in a middle class Presbyterian family. He graduated from Tenafly High School in 1969, where he played on the football team, serving as the team’s captain in his senior year.
A star athlete in high school, Harris competed in athletics at Columbia University in 1969. When his family moved to New Mexico two years later, Harris followed, having discovered his interest in acting in various theater plays. He enrolled at the University of Oklahoma to study drama. After several successful roles in local theaters, he moved to Los Angeles and enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts, where he spent two years and graduated with a BFA.
Harris married actress Amy Madigan on November 21, 1983, while they were filming Places in the Heart together. They have one daughter, Lily Dolores Harris, born on May 3, 1993.
On March 20, 2012, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) completed a merger of equals to form a new union SAG-AFTRA. Harris, along with Edward Asner, Martin Sheen, Valerie Harper, Michael Bell, and Wendy Schall (to name a few) were adamantly opposed to such a merger and filed a lawsuit against SAG President Ken Howard and several SAG Vice Presidents, seeking to have the merger overturned and the two unions separated to their pre-merger organizations. The lawsuit was dismissed on May 22, 2012.
Harris has a reputation for being serious on the film set. He told a journalist in 2006: “I don’t like bullshittin’… so, I guess that comes across as serious.” He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 13, 2015. Harris received an honorary degree from Muhlenberg College on May 17, 2015.