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George E. Harris II

Actor, director and bandleader

Actor, director and bandleader George E. Harris II, died Dec. 29 in Margaretville, N.Y. from complications of pancreatic cancer. He was 84.

Born in Bronxville, NY, he attended Columbia University. He began his theater career in New York in 1963 where he became involved as an actor and director in the early experimental Off-Off-Broadway movement.

In 1968 he made his Broadway debut in “The Great White Hope” alongside James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander. He worked in movies, including “Superman,” on TV and radio and in summer stock. He appeared in shows including “No Place to Be Somebody” and “The Trial of A. Lincoln” with Henry Fonda.

A lifelong musician and lover of big band music, Harris became a bandleader during the 1970s in New York, where he led the “Ninth Street Stompers.” He worked on staff for the Musician’s Union Local 802 in New York until his retirement.

He is survived by his wife Ann, an actress; six children, all actors: George III, Walter Michael, Frederic, Jayne Anne, Eloise and Mary Lou; a sister and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Donations may be made to Catskill Area Hospice Hope Foundation, 116 Main Street, Delhi, NY, 13753.

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