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Anderson in 1988
|Born||Harry Laverne Anderson
October 14, 1952
Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, writer, director, magician|
Harry Laverne Anderson (born October 14, 1952) is an American actor, screenwriter, director and magician. He is best known for the role of Judge Harry Stone on the 1984–92 television series Night Court. In addition to eight appearances on Saturday Night Live between 1981 and 1985, Anderson had a recurring guest role as con man Harry "The Hat" Gittes on Cheers, toured extensively as a magician, and did several magic/comedy shows for broadcast, including Harry Anderson's Sideshow (1987).
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Harry Anderson was born in Newport, Rhode Island. His first exposure to magic began when the Anderson family moved to Chicago. Anderson's father, who was a salesman, would occasionally take him to The Pump Room, the famous restaurant downstairs in the Ambassador East Hotel. There, Anderson discovered wise guys playing card games, hustling and occasionally performing magic tricks. The young Anderson became highly intrigued by the art of conjuring and wanted to learn more about the subject.
During his teen years, he had the opportunity to see legendary magician Harry Blackstone, Sr. perform. Anderson was fascinated by the performance and, in his after school time, would practice his magician skills. Having first attended Buena Park High School, Anderson graduated in 1970 from North Hollywood High School where he was class valedictorian.
He joined the Dante Magic Club where he met magicians Paul Harris and Paul Green. He also frequented the Magic Castle, where he befriended legendary magician Dai Vernon. At age 17, Anderson decided to move to San Francisco and worked the streets performing magic.
His many appearances on Saturday Night Live led to his role as Harry "The Hat" Gittes on the several seasons of Cheers and eventually as Judge Harry Stone on the hit TV show Night Court. Anderson went on to appear in numerous other TV specials and shows, including 12 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. As a magician, Anderson has since toured extensively and performed many comedy/magic shows for clubs and broadcast, including Harry Anderson's Sideshow in 1987.
In 1990, he starred in the successful television adaptation of Stephen King's It as the adult Richie Tozier. The miniseries was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. From 1993 to 1997, Anderson starred in the sitcom Dave's World, based loosely on the life and columns of humor columnist Dave Barry. Together with longtime friend Turk Pipkin, 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 978-1-58080-086-0, 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 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 along with fellow Night Court cast members Markie Post and Charles Robinson.
A longtime Mel Tormé 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 says the fact that Anderson was also a Tormé fan was completely coincidental. Anderson kept a nominally low profile after Dave's World was canceled. Tired of L.A.'s glaring spotlight, Anderson moved to New Orleans in 2002. In the 1990s, he and his second wife Elizabeth opened a small shop in the French Quarter named "Sideshow" selling various "magic, curiosities, and apocrypha". In 2005, he 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.
In August 2006, Anderson and his wife, Elizabeth, announced their decision to leave New Orleans and move to Asheville, North Carolina. Anderson appears in Hexing a Hurricane, a documentary about the first six months in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The Andersons sold Oswald's Speakeasy in October 2006. Anderson continues to present his evening show Wise Guy, which was originally developed for his theater in New Orleans.
|1981–85||Saturday Night Live||Himself||8 episodes|
|1982–93||Cheers||Harry 'The Hat' Gittes||6 episodes|
|1984–92||Night Court||Judge Harold "Harry" T. Stone||193 episodes; also director and writer
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1984–86)
|1985||Tales from the Darkside||Leon||Episode: "All a Clone by the Telephone"|
|1988||Tanner '88||Billy Ridenhour||2 episodes|
|1988||Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs||Freddie||Movie|
|1988–89||Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color||Professor Henry Crawford||2 episodes|
|1990||Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme||Peter Piper||Movie|
|1990||Tales from the Crypt||Jim Korman||Episode: "Korman's Kalamity"|
|1992||Parker Lewis Can't Lose||Ronny Ray Rasmussen||Episode: "Glory Daze"|
|1993–97||Dave's World||Dave Barry||98 episodes|
|1994||Hearts Afire||Dave Barry||Episode: "Sleepless in a Small Town"|
|1996||Night Stand with Dick Dietrick||Harry||Episode: "UFO Mother Show"|
|1996||The John Larroquette Show||Dr. Gates||Episode: "Cosmetic Perjury"|
|1996||Harvey||Elwood P. Dowd||Movie|
|1997||Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman||Dr. Klaus 'Fat Head' Mensa||Episode: "The Family Hour"|
|1998||Noddy||Jack Fable||Episode: "The Magic Show"|
|2002||Son of the Beach||Bull Cracker||Episode: "The Long Hot Johnson"|
|2008||30 Rock||Himself||Episode: "The One with the Cast of Night Court"|
|2013||Comedy Bang Bang||Himself||Episode: "Rainn Wilson Wears a Short Sleeved Plaid Shirt & Colorful Sneakers"|
|2014||Gotham Comedy Live||Himself||Episode: "Harry Anderson"|
|1982||The Escape Artist||Harry Masters|
|2006||Hexing a Hurricane||Himself|
|2014||A Matter of Faith||Professor Kaman|
- Profile, TCM.com; accessed January 13, 2016
- "HARRY ANDERSON - Biography". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
- Interview with Reinhold Weege, Night Court: The Complete First Season Warner Bros. Home Video
- People Magazine, October 21, 2002
- "New Orleans, LA - Feejee Mermaid, Animal Freaks - Closed". Roadsideamerica.com. 2007-01-24. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
- "Harry Anderson's Oswald's Speakeasy and Sideshow". FrenchQuarter.com. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
- "Harry Anderson in Wise Guy, Oswald’s Speakeasy, August 3, 2005". offBeat. 2005-09-01. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
- New York Times, August 30, 2006
- "Harry Anderson profile". ten18films.com. Retrieved 2010-02-02.