Harry Northup

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Harry Northup
Harry northup.jpg
Harry Northup
Born (1940-09-02) September 2, 1940 (age 76)
Amarillo, Texas
Occupation Poet, Actor
Years active 1949–present

Harry Northup (born September 2, 1940) is an American actor and poet. As an actor, he would make frequent appearances in the films of Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme.

Life and career[edit]

Northup was born in Amarillo, Texas. He lived in seventeen places by the time he was seventeen, but mostly lived in Sidney, Nebraska, where he graduated from high-school in 1958. From 1958 to 1961, he served in the United States Navy, where he attained the rank of Second Class Radioman. From 1963 to 1968, he studied Method acting with Frank Corsaro, in New York City.[1]

Northup received his B.A. in English from California State University, Northridge, where he studied poetry with poet Ann Stanford. He has made a living as an actor for over thirty years and has been in thirty-seven films including Martin Scorsese's first six feature films: Who's That Knocking at My Door, Boxcar Bertha, Mean Streets, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Taxi Driver and New York, New York. He had a role in Jonathan Demme's film The Silence of the Lambs. Harry starred in Over the Edge and Fighting Mad. Northup has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1976.[1] He has the rare distinction of being a notable poet as well as a successful career actor. Northup currently lives in East Hollywood with his poet and novelist wife Holly Prado. His son Dylan was born on January 29, 1969. Dylan's mother is Rita Northup, Harry's first wife.[2]

"Harry Northup is one of the actors I have worked with many times. I've worked with him for thirty years. He's a wonderful guy and a beautiful poet and a gifted actor." — Jonathan Demme "Latino Review" 2004

The poets Walt Whitman,[3] Leland Hickman,[4] Paul Blackburn,[5] Ann Stanford,[6] William Carlos Williams,[7] and Holly Prado[8] have influenced Harry Northup's poetry.

He conceived and coordinated the weekly poetry-reading-series, "Poetry on Melrose," at Gasoline Alley, in Los Angeles, from 1986 to 1988. Poets who read at the venue included Robert Peters, Jack Hirschman and Lewis MacAdams.

Style of poetry[edit]

The main themes in Northup's poetry are family, love, loss, work — in particular, acting in movies, place — the plains where he grew up. Harry is a lyrical realist who also explores mysterious and forceful imagery. One of his major interests is the long poem. The eminent critic Robert Peters has written, "Harry Northup is a wild language explosioneer."

Awards and honors[edit]

The City of Los Angeles, as represented by the L.A. City Council, awarded Harry Northup a "Certificate of Recognition" on November 15, 2006.[9]


  • Amarillo Born, Victor Jiminez Press, 1966
  • The Jon Voight Poems, Mt.Averno Press, 1973
  • Eros Ash, Momentum Press, 1976
  • Enough The Great Running Chapel, Momentum Press, 1982
  • The Images We Possess Kill The Capturing, Jesse Press, 1988
  • The Ragged Vertical, Cahuenga Press, 1996
  • Reunions, Cahuenga Press, 1996
  • Greatest Hits, 1966–2001, Pudding House Press, 2002
  • Red Snow Fence, Cahuenga Press, 2006
  • Where Bodies Again Recline, Cahuenga Press, 2011
  • East Hollywood: Memorial To Reason, Cahuenga Press, 2015


  • Venice Thirteen, Bayrock Press, 1971
  • The Streets Inside: Ten Los Angeles Poets, Momentum Press, 1978
  • Foreign Exchange, Biographics, 1979
  • Poetry Loves Poetry, An Anthology of Los Angeles Poets, Momentum Press, 1985
  • Gridlock: An anthology of Poetry About Southern California, Applezaba Press, 1990
  • Grand Passion, The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, Red Wind Books, 1995
  • Corners of the Mouth, A Celebration of Thirty Years at the Annual San Luis Obispo Poetry Festival, Deer Tree Press, 2014
  • Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, Pacific Coast Poetry Series/Beyond Baroque Books, 2015
  • Coiled Serpent, Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes & Shifts of Los Angeles, Tia Chucha Press, 2016


  • Personal Crime, New Alliance Records, 1993
  • Homes, New Alliance Records, 1995
  • As Long As I Tell The Truth What Difference Does It Make To You - An Interview with Harry Northup, Alright, Dude Productions, 2010 [10]


Year Film Role Notes
1967 Who's That Knocking at My Door The Rapist
1971 Alias Smith and Jones Hank TV Episode
1972 Boxcar Bertha Deputy Sheriff Harvey Hall
1973 Mean Streets Soldier
The All-American Boy Parker
1974 Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore Joe & Jim's Bartender
Crazy Mama FBI Agent
1976 Fighting Mad Sheriff Skerritt starring role
Two-Minute Warning Lieber (The S.W.A.T. Team)
Taxi Driver Doughboy 1976 Palme d'Or winner at Cannes
1977 New York, New York Alabama
Handle With Care The Red Baron
Which Way Is Up? Chief Goon
1978 Blue Collar Hank
1979 Over the Edge Sergeant Doberman starring role
11th Victim Officer Thorpe
1980 Tom Horn Thomas Burke
Used Cars Carmine
1982 The Day the Bubble Burst Andrew Arvay TV movie
Knots Landing Wayne Harkness TV, recurring role
1984 Nickel Mountain Frank
1986 The Deliberate Stranger Tom Hargreaves TV MiniSeries
1986 North and South: Book II Major TV miniseries
1987 Project X Congressman
1988 Kansas Governor Dellit
1991 The Silence of the Lambs Mr Bimmel 1991 Oscar winner for Best Picture
1992 Unlawful Entry McMurtry, Desk Sergeant
Hero Mr. Fletcher
1993 Philadelphia Juror
1994 Bad Girls Preacher Sloan
Reform School Girl Uncle Charlie
1996 In Cold Blood Minister TV MiniSeries
1998 Beloved Sheriff
1998 Four Corners Tom Brothers TV series
1999 Brokedown Palace Leon Smith
2001 ER Competency Evaluator TV Episode
2002 The Court Justice Fitzimmons TV, recurring role
2004 The Manchurian Candidate Congressman Flores
2014 That Guy Dick Miller Himself


  1. ^ a b Cinema Retro interview by Raymond Benson
  2. ^ Northup's Archives
  3. ^ LA Reader, article by James Cushing, Friday, Sept 3, 1982, vol 4, #45, p. 12
  4. ^ LA Reader, James Cushing, Friday,.Sept 3, 1982, vol 4,#45, p.12
  5. ^ Chiron Review, Issue 78, Spring, 2005 p.4
  6. ^ LA Reader, article by James Cushing, Friday, Sept 3, 1982, vol 4, #45, p 13]
  7. ^ Chiron Review, Issue 78, Spring, 2005, p. 4 & 5
  8. ^ Lummox Journal, July 2001, p.11
  9. ^ Cinema Retro vol 5, Issue #14 2009 interview by Raymond Benson
  10. ^ http://vimeo.com/15723210

External links[edit]