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Actor Bob L. Harris, Father of Ed Harris, Dies at 91

Bob L. Harris, an actor who appeared on stage and screen and was the father of actor Ed Harris, died February 14 in Evanston, Ill. He was 91.

Bob Harris appeared in a number of Ed Harris’ films, most recently “Pollock” in 2000 and “Appaloosa” in 2008. Others included “A Flash of Green,” which was presented on PBS’ “American Playhouse” in 1983; HBO telepic “The Last Innocent Man” in 1987; and TNT Western telepic “Riders of the Purple Sage” in 1996.

In 1985, while working in the bookstore of the Chicago Art Institute, Bob Harris sent Jeffrey Potter’s biography of Jackson Pollock “To a Violent Grave” to actor son Ed and suggested he make a film about Pollock. Fourteen years later, Ed directed and starred in the acclaimed film “Pollock.”

Decades earlier, Bob Harris had worked in early television, appearing on “The Fred Waring Show” (1950-1954) as a member of Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians; on “The Perry Como Show” (1955-59) as member of the Ray Charles Singers; in the 90-minute special “Max Liebman Presents”; on “The Martha Raye Show.” On “The Garry Moore Show” (1959-64), he did skits with the Carol Burnett  (pictured with Harris), Dom DeLuise, among others; he also co-starred with Burnett in a CBS adaptation of “Calamity Jane” in 1963 and again in the 1964 series “The Entertainers.”

Onstage he was a member of the Northminster Players of Evanston, Ill., from 1983-2005. He was also the manager of the Oklahoma City Symphony from 1972-75, of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Symphony from 1975-78 and of the Orchestra of Illinois.

Bobby Lee Harris was born in Walters, Oklahoma, where he was the president of his high school class, and he served in the U.S. Army during WWII with the 384th Field Artillery Division of the 103rd Infantry Division.

He graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Engineering in 1947 and earned a degree from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago in 1949.

Harris was a member of SAG, AFTRA and Actors Equity.

In addition to son Ed and Ed’s wife, actress Amy Madigan, survivors include Bob Harris’ wife Margaret; sons Paul and Robert; and two granddaughters.

A memorial will be held at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 2515 Central Park Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201, on Saturday, February 22 at 2 p.m.

Donations may be made to Northminster Presbyterian Church or the Geneva Foundation.

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