Born: October 1, 1930; Limerick, Ireland
Died: October 25, 2002; London, England; Hodgkin's Disease
Richard Harris: In Gladiator
Richard Harris only appers in the first fifteen minutes of Gladiator, but his role is pivotal. He plays Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who is a aged man and concerned about his legacy. Marcus is a shadow of his younger self and dying. Richard Harris' thin frame lends itself to potraying a sickly man here. Harris does not display his fire or his temper, but rather relies on speaking at a near whisper to further the portrayal.
Another important component is that Richard Harris' long acting career immediately adds gravity to the role of Marcus in the eyes of the viewer. One can't help but consider this role to be important. As mentioned above, there is not much to the role, but it sets the story of the film in motion. Harris brings dignity and a tenderness to the part, so that one can see why both Maximus and Commodus look to him as a mentor and father. The way that he strongly, but with sensivity, scorns Commodus makes one immediately leery of that character.
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