There’s a documentary about Richard Harris coming up on TG4on New Year’s evening.
It’s recommended viewing.
There are *myriad stories about that fine actor and wonderful man.
Here are three.
Richard married the actress and former model Ann Turkel in 1974.
The story goes that while they were living in London he popped out for milk one day and saw in a newspaper that Young Munster were playing in Thomond Park, Limerick that evening.
He allegedly got the next available flight to Ireland and spent the next few days on the piss in Limerick.
All of this was unknown at the time to his wife, who had no idea where he was.
When he finally returned to England he rang the doorbell of his house. His wife answered the door and before she had a chance to say anything, he said, “Well, why didn’t you pay the fucking ransom?”
The last story involved his departure from Claridges hotel on a stretcher as he was brought to an ambulance and to hospital where he died of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in October 2002.
As his stretcher was being wheeled to the ambulance, the story goes that the gravely ill Richard managed to lift his head from the pillow and say to those gathered in the hotel lobby: “It was the food.”
I can’t vouch for either story.
This one I can vouch for.
‘Rock were playing in Limerick and, as usual, a large gang from the club made their way down on a chartered train.
A few jars were had on the way.
A few were had on arrival.
A few were had at the game.
And we headed for a few more to one of the city’s rugby pubs. Well, they’re ALL rugby pubs in Limerick.
In we went, and who was sitting there having a jar only Richard Harris.
Could I leave him in peace?
But I had to have something interesting to say.
It’s is important to point out that at this time the Irish rugby team was going through what we always call a ‘bad patch.’ Things were pretty dire.
I knew Richard had once said, when asked about his love for rugby – he was a fine player – that he would give it all up, the fame, the money, everything, for one cap for Ireland.
So over I went and introduced myself.
I asked him about saying he’d give it all up for one cap and he smiled and said, yes, it was true. He had said that.
Well, I said, I think you’re closer than ever.
He threw his head back and laughed and I left it at that.
He smiled as we left and looked for another rugby pub.
*I can’t leave it. Please note it’s “myriad stories” not “a myriad of stories.”