Rex Harrison

Actor

Born: 5 March 1908
Died: 2 June 1990 (pancreatic cancer)
Birthplace: Huyton, England
Best known as: Professor Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady

Name at birth: Reginald Carey Harrison

Sir Rex Harrison was a star of stage and screen for sixty years, known best for his role as Professor Henry Higgins in the musical play and film My Fair Lady, a role that brought him a Tony (1957) and and Oscar (1965). Harrison began on the English stage in the 1920s and appeared in his first film in 1930. By the end of the '30s he was a leading man, especially good as a witty sophisticate in British black-tie comedies. After World War II -- Harrison was a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force -- he began making movies in America as well as in Britain, including Blithe Spirit (1945, directed by David Lean), Anna and the King of Siam (1946) and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947, with young Natalie Wood). He was also a hit on Broadway and won a Tony in 1949 for his portrayal of King Henry VIII in the play Anne of the Thousand Days. He became an international star by the early 1960s, thanks to the huge success of My Fair Lady on stage in New York and London (1958-62), an Oscar nomination for his role as Caesar in the Elizabeth Taylor film Cleopatra (1963) and an Oscar win for the film version of My Fair Lady (1964, co-starring Audrey Hepburn). His other films include Midnight Lace (1960, with Doris Day), The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965, starring Charlton Heston ) and Dr. Doolittle (1967).

Extra credit: My Fair Lady is based on the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion... Harrison was knighted in 1989.

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