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Reginald Carey Harrison , (March 5, 1908 – June 2, 1990), known as Rex Harrison , was a theater actor and English cinema.
He was born in Lancashire, near Liverpool. He was educated at Liverpool College. His first appearance on a stage occurred in 1924, with 16 years of age, in Liverpool. His career was interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the Royal Air Force with the rank of Captain.
Appeared in various stages in England, and on Broadway.
His greatest acting success in the cinema was like Professor Henry Higgins in the film My Fair Lady, an adaptation of the musical based on the work of Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion, where he shared the screen with Audrey Hepburn. Both achieved characters full of strength and expressiveness, and the work of Rex Harrison was awarded an Academy Award. He had already won two Tony Theater Awards: the first in 1949 for Ana of the thousand days where he played King Henry VIII and the second in 1957 for the theatrical version of ” My Fair Lady, whose success led to the film version. < / p>
Other of his memorable performances for the big screen were in The Phantom and Mrs. Muir, Doctor Dolittle, The Agony and the Ecstasy (where he played Pope Julius II, patron of Michelangelo) and Cleopatra where he composed a magnificent July César.
He was nominated for an Oscar in 1964 by Cleopatra and the following year for My Fair Lady, a prize he won this time.
In 1969 he shot a daring gay-themed tragicomedy: La escalera, directed by Stanley Donen. With Richard Burton, he played a couple of homosexual hairdressers, involved in unpleasant situations when accused of morale scandal. This film could not be released in Spain until 1976 and had limited diffusion, partly obstructed by the widow of Burton; in 2011 it has been recovered.
He was married 6 times, according to the following chronology:
- Colette Thomas -a French theater actress- (1934-1942), (a son, the actor / singer Noel Harrison)
- Lilli Palmer -actriz- (1943-1957), (a son, the novelist / screenwriter Carey Harrison)
- Kay Kendall -Actict- (1957-1959)
- Rachel Roberts -actriz- (1962-1971)
- Elizabeth Harris (1971-1975), (three stepchildren: Damian Harris, Jared Harris and Jamie Harris)
- Mercia Tinker (1978-1990)
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