Ed Harris was born in Tenefly, New Jersey. He was a football star in high school, which led to a scholarship to Columbia University in New York. He dropped out in his second year and moved to Oklahoma with his parents. There he enrolled at Oklahoma University to study drama but dropped out yet again.
Harris played a few bit parts in local theaters and finally got his first standing ovation for playing King Arthur in Camelot. Convinced he should pursue his acting career further, he moved to Los Angeles where he completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the California Institute of the Arts.
He continued to work on the stage and appeared in the classics A Streetcar Named Desire and The Grapes of Wrath. He made his first screen appearances on television, with guest roles on shows such as Gibbsville, The Rockford Files, Barnaby Jones and David Cassidy: Man Undercover from 1976 to 1979. He migrated to the big screen as a killer in Borderline (1980) starring Charles Bronson. He later reprised his King Arthur role in Knightriders (1981),where horses were replaced by motorcycles.
In 1983, Harris played astronaut John Glenn in The Right Stuff, his first commercial success, putting his picture on the cover of Newsweek.
Since then, Harris has displayed a prodigious talent for playing a broad range of characters. In 1995 alone he was a serial killer in Just Cause, a hero in Apollo 13, and the cryptic conspirator E. Howard Hunt in Nixon.
He also starred in The Abyss, directed by James Cameron of Titanic fame. Other credits include playing Julia Roberts' boyfriend in Stepmom (1998), Major König in Enemy at the Gates (2001) alongside Jude Law and a high school football coach who takes an autistic man (played by Cuba Gooding Jr.) under his wing in Radio (2003).
Harris has been nominated four times for an Academy Award for his work in: Apollo 13 (1995), The Truman Show (1998), Pollock (2000) and The Hours (2002). He has also been nominated for six Golden Globes, winning in 1999 for The Truman Show (1998) and in 2013 for the TV movie Game Change (2012).
He appeared as David Englander in the thriller Man on a Ledge (2012) and Sheriff Dick Tipton in the drama Virginia (2012). Other credits include The Face of Love (2014) alongside Robin Williams, Run All Night (2015) with Liam Neeson, Rules Don't Apply (2016) and Darren Aronofsky's horror-thriller mother! (2017).
Since 2016 he has played the role of The Man in Black on the HBO TV series Westworld, which has so far enjoyed three seasons (the latest airing in 2020). For his work on the series, in 2018 he received a Primetime Emmy nomination.
He returned to the big screen in the long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick (2020), starring Tom Cruise.
Harris has been married to actress Amy Madigan since 1983. They have a daughter named Lily Dolores.
The Adderall Diaries (2016)
Rules Don't Apply (2016)
In Dubious Battle (2016)
Run All Night (2015)
The Face of Love (2014)
Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014)
Pain & Gain (2013)
Man on a Ledge (2012)
The Way Back (2011)
Copying Beethoven (2007)
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)
A History of Violence (2005)
Winter Passing (2005)
Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion (2004)
Buffalo Soldiers (2003)
The Human Stain (2003)
Masked and Anonymous (2003)
The Hours (2002)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Enemy At The Gates (2000)
The Prime Gig (2000)
Third Miracle (1999)
The Truman Show (1998)
Apollo 13 (1995)
The Firm (1993)