Harry Anderson

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Harry Anderson
Harry Anderson.jpg
Anderson in 1988
Born Harry Laverne Anderson
(1952-10-14) October 14, 1952 (age 63)
Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.
Occupation Actor, writer, director, magician
Years active 1978–present
  • Leslie Pollack (m. 1977; div. 1999)[1]
  • Elizabeth Morgan (m. 2000)
Children 2

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).

Early life[edit]

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. Young Anderson became highly intrigued by the art of conjuring and wanted to learn more about the subject. He eventually had the opportunity to see legendary magician Harry Blackstone, Sr. perform at a show.

Anderson was fascinated by the performance and continued to digest all he could about magic. He moved to Los Angeles and attended high school there. Every day after school, he would practice, fine tune and polish his conjuring skills. Anderson attended Buena Park High School before transferring to North Hollywood High School. He joined the Dante magic club where he rubbed elbows with close-up magic wizards Paul Harris and Paul Green. He also frequented the Magic Castle, where he befriended a lot of magicians, including magic legend 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.[citation needed]

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.[2] In November 2008, Anderson played himself on an episode of 30 Rock along with fellow Night Court cast members Markie Post and Charles Robinson.

Personal life[edit]

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.[3] 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.[4] In the 1990s, he and his second wife Elizabeth opened a small shop in the French Quarter named "Sideshow"[5] 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.[6] He performed a one-man show there called Wise Guy.[7]

In August 2006, Anderson and his wife, Elizabeth, announced their decision to leave New Orleans and move to Asheville, North Carolina.[8] Anderson appears in Hexing a Hurricane, a documentary about the first six months in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.[9] 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.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1981–84 Saturday Night Live Himself 7 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"
1985 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Harry Anderson/Bryan Adams"
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 It Richie Tozier Miniseries
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 (AXS TV) Himself Episode: "Harry Anderson/Adam Newman/Chris Lamberth/Robert Dean/Alycia Cooper"[10]


Year Title Role Notes
1982 The Escape Artist Harry Masters
2006 Hexing a Hurricane Himself
2014 A Matter of Faith Professor Kaman


  1. ^ Profile, TCM.com; accessed Jnauary 13, 2016
  2. ^ Amazon.com
  3. ^ Interview with Reinhold Weege, Night Court: The Complete First Season Warner Bros. Home Video
  4. ^ People Magazine, October 21, 2002
  5. ^ "New Orleans, LA - Feejee Mermaid, Animal Freaks - Closed". Roadsideamerica.com. 2007-01-24. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  6. ^ "Harry Anderson's Oswald's Speakeasy and Sideshow". FrenchQuarter.com. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  7. ^ "Harry Anderson in Wise Guy, Oswald’s Speakeasy, August 3, 2005". offBeat. 2005-09-01. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  8. ^ New York Times, August 30, 2006
  9. ^ "Harry Anderson profile". ten18films.com. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  10. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4107844/

External links[edit]