Birthdate: June 15, 1973
Birthplace: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Few performers in show business enjoy the profile of Neil Patrick Harris as a serious actor, comedian, singer, stage director, book author, as well as beloved awards show emcee and TV host. It could be argued that Harris, like Richard Thomas before him on The Waltons, won a career’s worth of audience goodwill for a charming role that positively branded him as a guy you could love when he appeared (at the ripe age of 16) as Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989-1993).
Few young actors have had such early success, and it may have been a hard act to follow. Theater work followed, but Neil Patrick Harris’s first major film role was an unlikely yet memorable one: as one of the commanders in Paul Verhoeven’s spectacular, semi-campy science fiction epic, Starship Troopers (1997), and quickly followed with The Proposition (1998) with Kenneth Branagh, Madeleine Stowe, and William Hurt and John Schlesinger’s The Next Big Thing (2000) with Madonna and Rupert Everett.
Much of Neil Patrick Harris’s diverse career (he’s even a respected and skilled magician) has been on the American stage and television, including producing and hosting multiple editions of the Tony Awards broadcast, and most prominently as Barney in the long-running sitcom hit, How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014). But his occasional screen roles tend to be memorable, as when he played himself in the groundbreaking cult hit, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) with John Cho and Kal Penn and revived the stunt in the sequels, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008) and A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011).
Harris jumped on the current animation bandwagon early, doing voices in both Phil Lord’s and Christopher Miller’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) and its 2013 sequel, as well as Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010). He starred in a live-action/animation mix in The Smurfs (2011) and The Smurfs 2 (2013) and opposite Jim Henson’s legendary puppets in The Muppets (2011).
Neil Patrick Harris altered his feature-film profile in 2014 with David Fincher’s film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl with Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Tyler Perry, which he followed up with Downsizing (2017), opposite Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, and Kristen Wiig under Alexander Payne’s direction. Between a busy string of TV appearances, Harris returned to the big screen in 2021 in the decidedly dark role of “The Analyst” in Wachowski’s The Matrix Resurrections (2021) with Keanu Reeves. Neil Patrick Harris’ feature-film activity continued in 2022 with Nicolas Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and starring opposite Ashley Judd in the Anita Bryant biopic, Anita (no date announced).
Neil Patrick Harris, a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was raised by lawyer/restauranteur parents Sheila and Ronald Harris in the mid-New Mexican town of Ruidoso, where he caught the acting bug in grade 4. His older brother is Brian Harris. After the family moved to Albuquerque, Harris attended La Cueva High School. He married professional chef and actor David Burtka in 2014. The couple has two children, Gideon and Harper. Harris’ height is 6’.
AKA: Neil Patrick Harris sometimes goes by the nickname “NPH.”
Stage Names: As a child actor getting work, Harris and his parents considered various stage names including “Neil Danger Harris” and “Neil Patrick Rocket.”
Debut: Harris’s stage debut was Dorothy’s little dog, Toto, in a school production of The Wizard of Oz.
Listmaker: Neil Patrick Harris made Time magazine’s “Top 100” list in 2010.
Author, Author: Harris wrote his autobiography, published in 2014, and titled Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography. He has also written the middle-grade fiction series, The Magic Misfits.
Bullish: Neil Patrick Harris is such a prolific consumer of Red Bull that the beverage company gave him a lifetime’s supply during his stint on How I Met Your Mother.
Awards Man: During the 2009-2019 awards season, Harris hosted the Emmys, the Tonys, and the Golden Globes and opened the Oscars telecast.
Magic Man: Harris has performed magic on numerous TV chat shows, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Late Show with David Letterman, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.