Leonard Harris (actor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Leonard Harris (September 27, 1929 – August 28, 2011[1]) was an American critic, author, and actor. He played Senator Charles Palantine in the Martin Scorsese film Taxi Driver and the mayor in Hero at Large.

Leonard Jerome Harris was born in the Bronx on Sept. 27, 1929. He graduated from City College and served in the Army at Fort Dix during the Korean War. In 1961 he married Mary Ann Wurth. They divorced in 1973. He also had homes in Stanfordville, N.Y., and West Palm Beach, Fla.

Mr. Harris began his career writing obituaries and book reviews for The Hartford Courant in 1958. In 1966 he became a culture critic at WCBS-TV in New York City, a position he held until 1974. He had three novels published and worked as a television writer later in his career. He served on the Tony Award Nominating Committee in the later 1980s and early 1990s.

Mr. Scorsese cast Mr. Harris as Senator Charles Palantine in “Taxi Driver” (1976) because he knew him through the New York drama scene. When the film’s disturbed antihero, Travis Bickle, meets the senator, he delivers a tirade about flushing the “scum and filth” out of New York. The senator cautiously sympathises with Travis, perhaps unknowingly leading to his later violent deeds. Throughout the film, Palantine's picture can be seen all over New York City.

Mr. Harris also played the mayor in a 1980 romantic comedy, “Hero at Large,” and wrote three novels. His first, “The Masada Plan,” was called “gripping, fast-moving, expertly engineered” by the novelist Meyer Levin in The New York Times Book Review.

He died on August 28, 2011 in Hartford, Connecticut, aged 81, from complications of pneumonia.[1]



Year Title Role Notes
1976 Taxi Driver Senator Charles Palantine
1980 Hero at Large Mayor



  1. ^ a b Slotnik, Daniel E. (August 31, 2011). "Leonard Harris, Television Critic, Dies at 81". The New York Times. Retrieved August 31, 2011. 
  2. ^ Thomas, Phil (September 27, 1978). "Writer Says Running Exercises Mind Also". Ludington Daily News. Retrieved August 31, 2011. 

External links[edit]