Jared Harris Biography

Actor (1961–)
Jared Harris is a prolific British actor known for his role on the TV series Mad Men, and his performances in the films Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Lincoln.


Born in London on August 24, 1961, Jared Harris would join the Royal Shakespeare Company before establishing a prolific big-screen career. He played supporting roles in films like Far and Away, Happiness, Sylvia, Ocean's Twelve and Lady in the Water, and was part of the cast of the TV series Mad Men, for which he got an Emmy nod. He also played Ulysses S. Grant in the 2012 biopic Lincoln.

A Thespian Background

Actor Jared Francis Harris was born on August 24, 1961, in London, England. He was raised with two brothers in a family of thespians; his mother is Welsh actress Elizabeth Rees-Williams and his father was famous Irish actor Richard Harris. Williams and Harris divorced in 1969, with another famous actor, Rex Harrison, later becoming Harris's stepfather.

Harris showed no interest in joining the denizens of stage and screen until he attended Duke University in North Carolina, where he did student film work. Upon graduation in 1984, Harris returned to England and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, further developing his acting chops. His older brother, Damian Harris, eventually became a movie director; his younger brother, Tudor St. James, or Jamie, would enter the world of acting as well.

Prolific Film Career

Jared Harris made his film debut in 1989 with the teen comedy The Rachel Papers, directed by brother Damian. Over the years, Harris would actively develop his film resume with dozens of supporting, character-driven roles in both commercial and art-house fare. He had the title role in the 1996 Mary Harron film I Shot Andy Warhol, with some of his additional big-screen work including Far and Away (1992), Smoke (1995), Lost in Space (1998), Happiness (1998), Sylvia (2003), Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Lady in the Water (2006). He also appeared in the 2005 HBO film The Notorious Bettie Page.

Harris displayed great versatility in his performances, with roles ranging from a tabloid TV producer in the Adam Sandler comedy Mr. Deeds to a gender-bending New Yorker in Igby Goes Down (both from 2002). He also completed film work for the BBC in the new millennium, playing Henry VIII in 2003’s The Other Boleyn Girl and Captain Anderson in the 2005 miniseries To the Ends of the Earth. He had the lead role in the Guinea-based drama Coup! (2006) and would hit the big screen once again as a boat captain in David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).

Harris wed Emilia Fox in the summer of 2005. The couple would divorce several years later.

'Mad Men' and 'Lincoln'

Harris would make his mark on American television as well. He was featured in the 2007-08 FX series The Riches as con man Eamon Quinn and then starred in the sci-fi program Fringe as teleporting scientist David Robert Jones.

Harris's most prominent TV role to date would come when he joined the cast of the critically acclaimed AMC television series Mad Men in 2009. He played Lane Pryce, a seemingly reserved advertising financial officer who in truth had a more complex history. Harris was featured on the show until 2012 and received an Emmy nomination for the role in addition to earning a 2009 Screen Actors Guild award for ensemble work.

Between his Mad Men duties, Harris continued his film appearances. He had featured roles in Extraordinary Measures (2010) and The Ward (2011), and played the notorious Professor James Moriarty in the 2011 sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. In late 2012, Harris portrayed Ulysses S. Grant in the Steven Spielberg biopic Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the one-time U.S. president. Harris is also slated to appear in the 2013 fantasy film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, based on a popular book series by Casandra Clare.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!