Birthdate: April 10, 1975
Birthplace: New York, USA
David Harbour (birthname: David Kenneth Harbour) has become a beloved star off of his continuing role as Jim Hopper in the hit series Stranger Things (2016-present), following a robust career in vivid supporting roles in a range of movies from Brokeback Mountain (2005) to Suicide Squad (2016). Harbour’s feature debut was in writer-director Bill Condon’s Kinsey (2004), starring Liam Neeson and Oscar-nominated Laura Linney.
Harbour landed a supporting role in Ang Lee’s universally acclaimed Oscar-winner, Brokeback Mountain, starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams, winning Venice film festival’s Golden Lion and grossing $178 million worldwide. David Harbour continued his work in high-profile movies with a role in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds (2005), with Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning,
Miranda Otto, and Tim Robbins, earned a strong $604 million worldwide gross. Enacting Dracula, Harbour appeared in the thriller, Awake (2007) from writer-director Joby Harold and starring Hayden Christensen, Jessica Alba, and Lena Olin. Harbour’s fine early career in Oscar-nominated movies continued in the brilliant adaptation of Richard Yates’ novel Revolutionary Road (2008), with Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Michael Shannon, Kathryn Hahn, and Kathy Bates, with box office doubling its $35 million budget.
David Harbour jumped into the world of James Bond as a CIA station chief in the Marc Forster-directed Quantum of Solace (2008), starring Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Almaric, Jeffrey Wright, and Judi Dench, and becoming the fourth-highest grossing Bond movie with a global take of over $589 million. Harbour joined Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, Jason Bateman, Jeff Daniels, and Helen Mirren in the political thriller State of Play (2009).
After a supporting role in the minor comedy-drama, Every Day (2010) with Liev Schreiber, Helen Hunt, Carla Gugino, Eddie Izzard, and Brian Dennehy, Harbour worked opposite Christoph Waltz in Sony’s disappointing superhero movie directed by Michel Gondry, The Green Hornet (2011), with Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, and Cameron Diaz. David Harbour performed under the direction of Madonna (in her second and last narrative feature as writer-director) in the box-office bomb, W.E. (2011), with Abbie Cornish, James D’Arcy, Andrea Riseborough, and Oscar Isaac.
Harbour joined co-stars Greg Kinnear and Alan Arkin in the controversial comedy-drama released theatrically (and panned universally) as Thin Ice (2011) but premiered in the Sundance film festival under the original title, The Convincer, which was written and directed by Jill Sprecher; Sprecher refused to make drastic cuts to her critically acclaimed Sundance cut and, though legally prevented from removing her name from the credits, publicly denounced the bowdlerized version.
Harbour earned another supporting role in an acclaimed movie, in this case, writer-director David Ayer’s cop drama End of Watch (2012), with Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, and Anna Kendrick, grossing several times its costs with a return of $57.6 million. Harbour was cast in his biggest screen role to date in writer-director Dan Mirvish’s drama, Between Us (2012), starring Taye Diggs, Melissa George, and Julia Stiles.
David Harbour moved into action-movie mode for the Dwayne Johnson thriller, Snitch (2013), with Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal, the late Michael K. Williams, and Susan Sarandon, grossing a modest $58 million worldwide, followed by Harbour having a prominent role in writer-director Peter Landesman’s commercially failed JFK assassination drama, Parkland (2013), with Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver, and Paul Giamatti.
Harbour then worked in a major role with the fine writer-director Scott Frank on the Lawrence Block-written crime drama, A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014), starring Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, and Boyd Holbrook, earning $62 million globally. Harbour played the bad guy in director Antoine Fuqua’s hit thriller, The Equalizer (2014), with Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, Bill Pullman, and Melissa Leo, grossing a brawny $192 million worldwide.
Cast in support in another crime thriller, David Harbour appeared in the well-received James “Whitey” Bulger biopic starring Johnny Depp, Black Mass (2015), directed by Scott Cooper and co-starring Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Cochrane, Jesse Plemons, and Kevin Bacon, and earning approximately $100 million worldwide.
Harbour joined the sprawling ensemble of the smash DC Extended Universe entry, Suicide Squad (2016), written and directed by David Ayer and co-starring Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, going on to gross $747 million globally. After the mediocre crime thriller, Sleepless (2017) with Jamie Foxx, Harbour co-starred with Kerry Condon, Dominic Fumusa, and Julie Sokolowski in writer-director Charlie Birns’ drama, Human Affairs, premiering at the 2018 Slamdance film festival.
David Harbour’s first major starring role was in the title role of the second feature version of Hellboy (2019), based on the Dark Horse Comics character and co-starring Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Daniel Dae Kim, and Thomas Haden Church, but underperforming at the box office with a weak $55 million.
Harbour’s first Netflix movie (which Netflix reported as one of the most-watched in the streamer’s history) was the action thriller, Extraction (2020), written and produced by the Russo Brothers and starring Chris Hemsworth, Golshifteh Farahani, and Randeep Hooda. Harbour had a major role opposite Don Cheadle and Benicio del Toro in the Steven Soderbergh-directed period crime drama, No Sudden Move (2021) for HBO Max, followed by another big role in the MCU movie Black Widow (2021), starring Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle, Olga Kurylenko, William Hurt, and Rachel Weisz, and grossing $380 million worldwide.
David Harbour had his most significant starring role to date as a tough-guy Santa Claus in the Tommy Wirkola-directed Violent Night (2022), with John Leguizamo, Cam Gigandet, Alex Hassell, and Beverly D’Angelo, and released by Universal Pictures. Harbour starred in the race car movie directed by Neill Blomkamp and based on the video game series Gran Turismo (2023) with Djimon Hounsou, Orlando Bloom, and Thomas Kretschmann.
Harbour co-starred with Anthony Mackie and Jennifer Coolidge in writer-director Christopher Landon’s ghost story, We Have a Ghost (2023), and then resumed his Alexei character in the MCU world with Thunderbolts (2024), directed by Jake Schreier and starring Florence Pugh, Harrison Ford, Kurylenko, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Sebastian Stan. Harbour led the cast, including Olivia DeJonge and Cooper Hoffman, in the Cooper Raiff-directed Mafia drama, The Trashers (date to be announced).
David Harbour was raised in White Plains, New York, by parents Nancy and Kenneth Harbour, both real estate brokers. Harbour attended and graduated from Byram Hills High School, majored in drama and Italian at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1997. Harbour was previously engaged to actor Maria Thayer; he has been married to English singer-songwriter Lily Allen since 2020. Harbour’s height is 6’ 3”.
Condition: David Harbour has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He suffered a mental break at age 25 and was institutionalized by his parents.
Dramatic POV: Harbour has explained in interviews that, as an actor, he’s “very interested in the drama of the leading man being someone incapable, becoming capable.”
Theater Man: David Harbour has amassed an impressive roster of credits in the New York theater, including such Shakespeare as Twelfth Night (as Antonio), Hamlet (as Laertes), The Merchant of Venice (as Bassanio), and Romeo and Juliet (as Abraham), as well as three different roles in Tom Stoppard’s epic Russian trilogy, The Coast of Utopia (produced at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre), and major Broadway revivals of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2005) and David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross (2012-2013).