Winner of 1st Star Search
“Some things are difficult to explain. A few rare things are easy. Sam Harris is the best damn singer I've ever heard in my whole life. It's that simple.” Liza Minnelli on Sam Harris
Sam Harris is an American multi million selling singer as well as an actor of stage, television and film who came to prominence in early 1980s as the winner of the first season of “Star Search” (1983). He has released nine studio albums, yielded many hit singles, including the Top 40 single “Sugar Don't Bite,” and done countless successful concert tours. Harris received a Tony nomination, in addition to nominations at the Drama Desk and Outer Critic's Circle Awards, for his performance in “The Life” (1996), and a Drama Desk nomination for “Grease” (1994). He also acted in Mel Brook's smash hit “The Producers” on Broadway and starred in the self penned shows “Hard Copy,” “Different Hats,” “Revival” and his one man show, “SAM.” Harris had a regular role on the television sitcom “The Class” (CBS, 2006-2007) and a recurring role in “Rules of Engagement” (2009). He played supporting roles in the films “In The Weeds” (2000) and “Elena Undone” (2010).
Harris and his spouse Danny Jacobsen (together since 1994, married in 2008) have an adopted child named Cooper Atticus. They are currently live in Los Angeles, CA.
Childhood and Family:
Samuel Kent Harris, who would later be popular as Sam Harris, was born on June 4, 1961, in Cushing, Oklahoma. He grew up in Sand Spring, OK, where he made his first stage performance at the age of 5, and later moved to Los Angeles to attend University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Sam has a younger brother named Matt Harris.
In 1994, Sam began his relationship with long time partner Danny Jacobsen, a director and presentation coach for a number of Blue Chip companies and also a film producer. The couple adopted a son, Cooper Atticus Harris-Jacobsen, in April 2008. They eventually married on November 1, 2008.
Sam is a recovering alcoholic, a fact he disclosed in an interview with “The Advocate” in 2004. his nickname is Schmulie.
Sam Harris started singing in public when he was two years old. By age 5, he had made his first stage appearance in a local production of “South Pacific” in Oklahoma. His dramatic stage debut arrived five years later when he landed role in a production of William Inge's “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.” Harris left home at age 15 to pursue his career. It was not long before he was hired to perform at Six Flags Over St. Louis in Eureka, Missouri. In 1977, he went on to work at Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee.
While a student at UCLA, Harris co-penned (with and Bruce H. Newberg) and starred in “Hurry! Hurry! Hollywood!,” the first original musical where the theatre and music departments collaborated. He also won the Frank Sinatra Pop Singing Award. He later quit to find further opportunities in L.A. Harris sang “God Bless the Child” at the opening of his first solo show, “Out of Control.” In addition to earning him a kind of cult following, the show also to put him on the attention of talent scouts from an upcoming new television talent show. At age 22, Harris enjoyed a breakthrough success as the male vocalist champion of premiere season of “Star Search” (1983), thanks largely to his rendition of “Over the Rainbow.”
Harris' singing career took off following his his success on “Star Search.” He signed a contract with Motown Records and soon released his debut single “Sugar Don't Bite.” The song peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. His first two albums, “Sam Harris” (1984) and “Sam-I-Am,” both sold more than a million units. He has since released a number of records, including “Standard Time,” “Different Stages” (produced and conducted by the legendary Peter Matz), “The Best of the Motown Sessions,” “Revial,” “On This Night,” “Always” and “Sam Harris Live! - The Best of Christmas.” Harris has toured extensively in concerts and has played to sold out audiences at major venues such as Los Angeles' Universal Amphitheatre, New York's Carnegie Hall, London's West End and with The Boston Pops.
At the same time, Harris created the television sitcom “Down to Earth,” with Arthur Annecharico. The show ran on TBS for three seasons between 1984 to 1987. Harris also wrote several episodes of the show. In 1989, he wrote and starred in his own stage musical show, “Hard Copy,”
where he played six characters. The show was a big success and played for six months in Los Angeles. He has also starred in other self penned shows like “Different Hats,” “Revival” and his critically acclaimed one man show, “SAM.”
In 1990, Harris performed in the West Coast productions of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Cabaret” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” His Broadway debut came four years later when he was cast as Doody, the youngest member of the Burger Palace Boys, in the Tommy Tune directed revival of “Grease” (1994). the role brought him a Drama Desk nomination in the category of Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. He revisited Broadway with a featured role in Cy Coleman's “The Life,” which opened on April 26, 1997 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. He picked up a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical and an Outer Critic's Circle nomination for his performance. At the end of the decade, Harris was announced as the star of the Broadway bound biographical musical “The Jazz Singer,” but production was never realized.
Entering the new millennium, Harris made his feature film acting debut as Jonathan in “In the Weeds,” a 2000 comedy/romance movie directed and written by Michael Rauch and starring Joshua Leonard, Molly Ringwald and Ellen Pompeo. Returned to stage, he starred as Claude in the Los Angeles Reprise! staging of “Hair” in 2001. The same year, he also appeared on the Mel Brooks musical “The Producers” on Broadway.
In 2003, Harris made a guest appearance in an episode of “The Wayne Brady Show.” In 2005, he wrote and also appeared in the documentary film “Little Man,” directed by Nicole Conn. Harris returned to television when he was cast in the regular role of Perry Pearl in the CBS sitcom “The Class,” opposite Andrea Anders, Jon Bernthal, Lizzy Caplan, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Heather Goldenhersh, Sean Maguire, Lucy Punch and Jason Ritter. The show, created by David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, ran for a season from September 18, 2006 to March 5, 2007.
In 2008, Harris released an album called “Free.” The album contained the tracks “War on War” and “Change Is On The Way,” the latter of which was penned to support the Obama campaign.
In 2009, Harris played the recurring role of Jackie in “Rules of Engagement.”
In 2010, Harris played the role of Tyler on the LGBT film “Elena Undone,” which was directed and written by Nicole Conn. The film received miced reviews from critics. The same year, he also wrote and release “My Reclamation,” which has become the anthem for marriage.