87 (passed away Nov. 3rd, 2002)
Nov. 6th, 1914
Bronx, New York, USA
Jonathan Harris' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1999 - Toy Story 2
1998 - A Bug's Life
1993 - Happily Ever After
1987 - Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night
Guest TV Roles
Professor Jones (Voiced)
Don Carlos Fernandez
Master of Ceremonies
Professor James Moriarty (Voiced)
Born Jonathan Charasuchin in the Bronx to impoverished Russian-Jewish imiigrants, Jonathan Harris worked as a box boy in a pharmacy at age 12 and later earned his pharmacy degree at Fordham University. The desire to act proved overwhelming, however, and he forsook this promising trade for the theater, shaking off his thick Bronx accent and changing his surname to one easier to pronounce. After performing in over 100 plays in stock companies nationwide, he made his Broadway bow in 1942 with "Heart of a City" and entertained WWII troops in the South Pacific.
Following his introduction to live television drama in 1948, he ventured off to Hollywood and made his film debut, co-starring with Alan Ladd (I) and James Mason (I) in Botany Bay (1953). However, it was TV that would make him a household name - first as Bradley Webster in "The Third Man" (1959) opposite Michael Rennie, and then the role that made him a cult icon, Dr. Zachary Smith, the dastardly, effete stowaway on "Lost in Space" (1965), with Harris easily stealing the show week after week as he botched and mangled all the good intentions of the Robinson family to get back home to Earth. Unable to top this achievement and seriously typecast as a plummy villain, the remainder of his career was spent with great relish providing voice-over work in commercials and animated cartoons. Harris died of a blood clot to the heart just days before his 88th birthday.
- Harris died from a blood clot in his heart while receiving therapy at an Encino-area hospital for a chronic back problem.
- Just before his death, Harris was involved in the NBC project of "Lost in Space: The Journey Home" in which the Robinson family may be returning to earth.
- Came up with a list of alliterative insults that eventually worked their way into popular speech on _"Lost in Space" (1965)_ (qv).
- Was encouraged to listen to opera by his father at age 12.
- Would often sit up at night thinking of ways to insult the robot ("Be quiet, you bubble-headed booby!") while on _"Lost in Space" (1965)_ (qv). His colorful put-downs for his mechanical colleague, almost all of them unscripted, are among the best-remembered aspects of the show.
- Remained good friends with 'Bill Mumy' (qv) during and after _"Lost in Space" (1965)_ (qv).
- Born in the borough of the Bronx (New York City) to Russian-Jewish immigrants.
- Often brought a large bag of tootsie-roll pops to work for the cast and crew.
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