Beginning his career as a child actor, Neil Patrick Harris first rose to fame as child prodigy surgeon Dr. Douglas "Doogie" Howser in the popular ABC series, "Doogie Howser, M.D." (1989-1993). He then co-starred as Tony Shalhoub's reluctant editor Henry McNeeley in the short-lived NBC sitcom "Stark Raving Mad" (1999-2000) and voiced Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the MTV animated series "Spider-Man" (2003). He now plays the womanizing Barney Stinson in the hit CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" (2005-Present), which earned him two Emmy nominations. He was named the “Best Return to Television” in 2005 by TV Guide Magazine, voted People Magazine's “Sexiest Comeback” in 2005, and was one of Entertainment Weekly's “25 Entertainers of the Year” in 2008. Harris also starred in the TV movies "A Family Torn Apart" (1993), "Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story" (1994), "The Christmas Wish" (1998), and "Joan of Arc" (1999).
On the big screen, the talented actor who made his film debut in a Golden Globe-nominated performance in "Clara's Heart" (1988; with Kathleen Quinlan and Whoopi Goldberg), has starred in "Purple People Eater" (1988), "Starship Troopers" (1997), and "The Next Best Thing" (2000). He also played a drug-addled, womanizing parody of himself in the hit comedy films "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" (2004) and "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" (2008). Harris also displayed his versatility on the stage by appearing in the Broadway productions of "Cabaret," "Proof," "Assassins," and "Children and Art."
More personally, this 6' 1½'' openly gay performer has been in a committed relationship with stage and screen actor David Burtka (born on May 29, 1975) since April 2004.
Childhood and Family:
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on June 15, 1973, Neil Patrick Harris was raised in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Both of his parents, Ron and Sheila Harris, are lawyers. They own a restaurant called Perreniel's in Albuquerque. Neil has one older brother named Brian Harris (born in 1970).
Neil, nicknamed “NPH,” studied at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the same school attended by Freddie Prinze Jr. He was an honor student and graduated with honors in 1991.
Neil, who is openly gay, has been in a committed relationship with stage and screen actor David Burtka (born on May 29, 1975) since April 2004. Neil and David attended the Emmy awards in September 2007 as an openly acknowledged gay couple for the first time. Besides David, Neil's closest friends include Amy Acker, Lori and Lex Medlin, Becky Baeling, and Brandon Boyce.
"Rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love." Neil Patrick Harris
An amateur magician, Neil once performed magic tricks on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962), the "Late Show with David Letterman" (1993), "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (1992), and "Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show" (2003).
How I Met Your Mother
"When a script comes down the pike that says there's a part in it for Neil Patrick Harris, I gotta really stink up the audition not to get that job." Neil Patrick Harris
First taking up acting in the fourth grade, Neil Patrick Harris won his first stage role at age six by playing Toto in a school production of "The Wizard of Oz" (1979). Almost 10 years later, at a youth acting camp at New Mexico State University, he was discovered by screenwriter Mark Medoff, who recommended him for the film "Clara's Heart" (1988), which was written by Medoff and directed by Robert Mulligan. In the film, Harris starred as David Hart, Kathleen Quinlan's sensitive young son dealing with his parents' divorce who cultivates a meaningful friendship with his Jamaican housekeeper (played by Whoopi Goldberg). His performance in his feature debut earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture and a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama.
Following his stunning debut, Harris starred in Linda Shayne's little seen indie sci-fi comedy, "Purple People Eater" (1988; with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ned Beatty, and Thora Birch), and appeared in his TV movie debut, "Too Good to Be True" (NBC; 1988), alongside Loni Anderson, Patrick Duffy, and Glynnis O'Connor. The next year, he scored a breakthrough role as Dr. Douglas "Doogie" Howser, a child prodigy doctor, in the ABC series, "Doogie Howser, M.D." His work in the show, which ran from September 1989 to March 1993, earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series, Comedy/Musical, in 1992.
Meanwhile, Harris also voiced Max, a young country mouse, on the short-lived ABC politically themed animated series "Capitol Critters" (1992), and made his professional stage debut in a starring role in "Luck, Pluck & Virtue" (1993). He also starred in the NBC movie "A Family Torn Apart" (1993), playing one of two adopted sons suspected of murdering their parents.
In 1994, Harris portrayed Jim Stolpa, one of three siblings stranded in an endless wilderness of deep snow, in the fact based CBS movie, "Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story." Three years later, he was featured as Colonel Carl Jenkins in Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi action film loosely based on the controversial novel by Robert A. Heinlein, "Starship Troopers" (1997), starring Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, and Denise Richards. He also joined the Los Angeles production of the musical "Rent" (1997) at the Ahmanson Theater and the La Jolla Theater, both in Los Angeles. Both shows received rave reviews and garnered Harris a Drama-League Award.
The rest of the 1990s saw Harris starring as Romeo in a San Diego production of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" (1998) at the Old Globe Theatre and starring in the CBS holiday movie inspired by Richard Siddoway's book, "The Christmas Wish" (1998; with Debbie Reynolds and Naomi Watts). He was also cast as Henry McNeeley, a reluctant editor assigned to work with an eccentric horror novelist (played by Tony Shalhoub), in the short-lived NBC sitcom "Stark Raving Mad" (1999-2000), and featured as The Dauphin, later King Charles VII of France, on the CBS biopic starring Leelee Sobieski, "Joan of Arc" (1999). Additionally, he was praised for his role of Tobias Ragg, the simple minded assistant to renowned Italian barber Adolfo Pirelli, in the Los Angeles production of "Sweeney Todd" (1999). He would later recreate the role of Tobias in a San Francisco production of "Sweeney Todd" in 2001, which aired on PBS.
Hitting the new millennium, Harris was featured opposite Madonna and Rupert Everett in John Schlesinger's film "The Next Best Thing" (2000). He then voiced Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the MTV animated series featuring the Marvel comic book superhero, "Spider-Man" (2003).
“I'd always been mesmerized by theater, whether it be Broadway or regional rep or magic shows or theme park revues. I just dig the live element. So when I was on TV, I knew I'd get to do it someday. I had no idea it would be so soon and on such a large scale.” Neil Patrick Harris
Going to Broadway, Harris portrayed Hal in a revival of David Auburn's play “Proof” (2002). Afterward, he joined the cast of Broadway's "Cabaret" (February 2003) in the role of the Emcee, and performed a dual role of the Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald on Broadway in Stephen Sondheim's musical, "Assassins" (April 2004).
Back to the screen, Harris played a deranged parody of himself in Danny Leiner's comedy film "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" (2004) and was cast as the womanizing Barney Stinson in the CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother." He has portrayed the character since its premiere on September 19, 2005. His performance in the show earned him Emmy nominations in 2007 and 2008, both for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, and two Teen Choice Award nominations in 2007 and 2008, both for Choice TV Actor: Comedy. He was also nominated for a People's Choice Award in 2008 for Favorite Scene Stealing Star.
While working on "How I Met Your Mother,” Harris has continued to act on the stage. He starred as Jon in a production of Jonathan Larson's musical “Tick, Tick... BOOM” (2005), which opened on the West End in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory, portrayed Chris Keller in Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" (April 2006) at Geffen Playhouse, in Westwood, California, and starred as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in a revival of Peter Shaffer's 1979 play “Amadeus” (July 20, 2006) at the Hollywood Bowl.
"Coming at the acting business as a technician, I really enjoy the process of working. I really enjoy being in a rehearsal room, starting a theatre piece for the first time. I really enjoy shooting in front of the crew, and I really love going on location. I think all that is just so exciting. So I've never really been drawn into the fame of being an actor, which in L.A., is part and parcel of the deal. I think for a lot of people, especially kids, it's hard to not get wrapped up in the world of the perks that the job brings. When your show is hot, it's exciting. You can get in anywhere you want and go anywhere you want and you're talked about all the time. When that goes away and you don't have another job, you kind of go full-tilt because you're not being treated the same way you were before. And that's all circumstantial. I've never been a fame whore. I just like working." Neil Patrick Harris
Recently, Harris once again played a drug-addled, womanizing parody of himself in the comedy film sequel to the 2004 film "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" (2008). He also co-produced a Los Angeles version of the hit off-Broadway interactive theatre experience "Accomplice: New York" (February 2008) with Tom Salamon. Additionally, he appeared in a TV commercial for Old Spice and Trident Xtra Care gum (voice only).
Young Artist: Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Series, "Doogie Howser, M.D.," 1992
Young Artist: Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Series, "Doogie Howser, M.D.," 1991
Young Artist: Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Series, "Doogie Howser, M.D.," 1990
People's Choice: Favorite Male Performer in a New TV Series, 1990