Neil Patrick Harris biography

Neil Patrick Harris

Date of Birth: June 15, 1973

Neil Patrick Harris began as a child actor but has parlayed his early success into a long acting career. Most famously known for his role as a teen surgeon on Doogie Howser M.D., Harris has appeared in many successful productions on television, stage and film.

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Harris is the son of restaurant owners and lawyers Ron and Sheila Harris. He was just four years old when he began acting after following his older brother Brian to auditions for a school production of The Wizard of Oz. Harris was cast as Dorothy's small dog Toto, and continued to appear in school productions until he finished high school.

Harris made the leap from the school stage to feature films in 1988. That year he starred in Purple People Eater as well as Clara's Heart co-starring Whoopi Goldberg. But it was his next role in Steven Bochco's Doogie Howser M.D. that launched his career. The television show was an immediate success and made Harris an overnight teen heartthrob. The show aired on CBS from 1989 to 1993 and scored Harris a Golden Globe nomination and the People's Choice Award for favourite male performer in a new series.

After production of Doogie Howser came to an end, Harris returned to stage acting. He starred as Mark Cohen in a Los Angeles production of Rent, which earned him a 1997 Dramatic League Award. He continued to work on the musical until January 1998, and later reprised his role for six shows in his hometown of Albuquerque in December 1998. He later appeared in various off-Broadway plays as well as a string of made-for-TV movies.

It was nine years before he returned to the big screen in Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi adventure Starship Troopers (1997). He followed that with The Proposition (1998) and then made his Broadway debut in 2001, starring in Proof.

Soon after, Harris returned to television on the short-lived comedy Stark Raving Mad with Tony Shalhoub. He is currently starring in the CBS hit comedy How I Met Your Mother as the quick-witted womanizer, Barney Stinson. He can also be heard as the voice of Peter Parker on the newest animated Spider-Man series.

In 2004, Harris made a short, but memorable cameo playing an exaggerated version of himself in the comedy Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. Harris reprised the role in the sequels Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas (2011).

The openly gay actor is also an amateur magician and has performed tricks when he's appeared on television talk shows hosted by Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, David Letterman and Ellen Degeneres. Harris was named one of People magazine's "Sexiest Men Alive" in 2007.

He then starred in several films including Beastly (2011), The Smurfs 2 (2013)and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 3D (2013). More recently, he starred in the comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) and in the thriller Gone Girl (2014).

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