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Harry Anderson

Harry Anderson

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Harry Laverne Anderson (born October 14, 1952) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

 and magician
Magic (illusion)
Magic is a performing art that entertains audiences by staging tricks or creating illusions of seemingly impossible or supernatural feats using natural means...


Early life

Born in Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...

, Anderson was a street magician
Street performance or busking is the practice of performing in public places, for gratuities, which are generally in the form of money and edibles...

 before becoming an actor.


He is best known for the role of Judge Harry Stone on the 1984-1992 television series Night Court
Night Court
Night Court is an American television situation comedy that aired on NBC from January 4, 1984, to May 20, 1992. The setting was the night shift of a Manhattan court, presided over by the young, unorthodox Judge Harold T. "Harry" Stone...

. In addition to eight appearances on Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

between 1981 and 1985, Anderson had a recurring guest role as con man "Harry the Hat" on Cheers
Cheers is an American situation comedy television series that ran for 11 seasons from 1982 to 1993. It was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions, in association with Paramount Network Television for NBC, and was created by the team of James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles...

, toured extensively as a magician, and did several magic/comedy shows for broadcast, including Harry Anderson's Sideshow (1987).

In 1990, he starred in the successful television adaptation of Stephen King's It
It (1990 film)
It is a 1990 horror television miniseries based on the novel of the same name. The story revolves around an inter-dimensional predatory life-form that is simply referred to as "It", which has the ability to transform itself into its prey's worst fears allowing it to exploit the fears and phobias...

directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
Tommy Lee Wallace
Tommy Lee Wallace is an American film producer, director and screenwriter.He is best known for directing Halloween III: Season of the Witch and It.-Early life:...

From 1993 to 1997, Anderson starred in the sitcom Dave's World
Dave's World
Dave's World is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from 1993 to 1997. The series was based on the writing of Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry.-Plot:...

, based loosely on the life and columns of humor columnist Dave Barry
Dave Barry
David "Dave" Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and columnist, who wrote a nationally syndicated humor column for The Miami Herald from 1983 to 2005. He has also written numerous books of humor and parody, as well as comedic novels.-Biography:Barry was born in Armonk, New York,...

. Together with long-time friend Turk Pipkin
Turk Pipkin
Turk Pipkin is the co-founder of The Nobelity Project, an education and action non-profit which seeks to find solutions to many pressing global problems, and which advocates for basic rights for children everywhere...

, Anderson wrote a book called Games You Can't Lose: A Guide for Suckers, a collection of gags, cons, tricks and scams. First published in 1989 (ISBN 1-58080-086-6—2001 reprint), this title also contains a survey of "Games You Can't Win" told from an insider's perspective. He appeared with Criss Angel
Criss Angel
Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos , better known by the stage name Criss Angel, is an American illusionist, writer, director, musician, and actor...

 in a TV special called The Science of Magic, later released on DVD.

In November 2008, Anderson played himself on an episode of 30 Rock
The One with the Cast of Night Court
"The One with the Cast of Night Court" is the third episode of the third season of the American television comedy series 30 Rock. It was written by co-executive producer Jack Burditt, and directed by Gail Mancuso. The episode originally aired on the National Broadcasting Company in the United...

 along with fellow Night Court cast members Markie Post
Markie Post
Marjorie Armstrong "Markie" Post is an American actress, best known for her roles as bail bondswoman Terri Michaels in The Fall Guy on ABC from 1982 to 1985, as public defender Christine Sullivan on the NBC sitcom Night Court from 1985 to 1992, and as Georgie Anne Lahti Hartman on the CBS sitcom...

 and Charles Robinson
Charles Robinson (actor)
Charles "Charlie" Robinson is a critically acclaimed American theater and television actor. He is best known for his role as Mac Robinson in the NBC sitcom Night Court...


Personal life

A long-time Mel Tormé
Mel Tormé
Melvin Howard Tormé , nicknamed The Velvet Fog, was an American musician, known for his jazz singing. He was also a jazz composer and arranger, a drummer, an actor in radio, film, and television, and the author of five books...

 fan, Anderson gave the eulogy at the singer's funeral. Judge Stone in Night Court was also a Tormé fan; the show's creator Reinhold Weege
Reinhold Weege
Reinhold Weege is an American television writer, producer and director. He was born in Illinois.Weege wrote for several television series, including Barney Miller and M*A*S*H. In 1981, he created the series Park Place. In 1984, he created the hit sitcom Night Court which ran for nine seasons on...

 says the fact that Anderson was also a Tormé fan was completely coincidental.

Anderson moved to New Orleans in 2002. He and his second wife Elizabeth opened a small shop in the French Quarter
French Quarter
The French Quarter, also known as Vieux Carré, is the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. When New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the city was originally centered on the French Quarter, or the Vieux Carré as it was known then...

 named "Sideshow" selling various "magic
Magic (illusion)
Magic is a performing art that entertains audiences by staging tricks or creating illusions of seemingly impossible or supernatural feats using natural means...

, curiosities, and apocrypha." In the summer of 2005, Anderson also opened a nightclub in the French Quarter called "Oswald's Speakeasy", located at 1331 Decatur Street at the corner of Esplanade Avenue. He performed a one-man show there called Wise Guy.

Anderson appears in Hexing a Hurricane
Hexing A Hurricane
Hexing a Hurricane is a 2006 documentary film about the effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. It has been billed as the "First Katrina documentary" released by a New Orleanian. The film is directed by Jeremy Campbell and distributed by the National Film Network...

, a documentary about the first six months in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...


In August 2006, Anderson and his wife announced their decision to leave New Orleans and move to Asheville, N.C., citing concerns including declining tourism to the city, the re-election of Mayor Ray Nagin
Ray Nagin
Clarence Ray Nagin, Jr. is a former mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. Nagin gained international note in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the New Orleans area....

, and the depressed mood prevailing in New Orleans.

External links