This is the second in a continuing feature at IndustryCentral profiling "The Working Actor".
William Shakespeare said "There are no small parts.....". William Shatner may have said it too, but the longhair with the tights was first, or so the reports go. In this feature we will explore what it really means to be an actor working in Motion Pictures and Television.
Broad public acknowledgment may have eluded some who find their way to these pages, or perhaps they may have brushed against what is referred to as stardom by virtue of one or more remarkable performances. However for many, the rewards of plying their craft in a field which has allowed them to earn a living may exceed the burdens of public acclaim. Given the chance, some in this clan might prefer the longevity offered by anomimity over the potential for short lived fame.
These individuals, either by design or fate, have managed to sustain a career by crafting performances which rendered them a good casting choice. They are usually thought of as a face you recognize, but you just can't get the name past the tip of your tongue.
Most of these folks have spent countless hours on stage in theaters ranging from 20 seats to 2000 building characters from the works of Ibsen, to Eliot, to Williams, to yes even Shakespeare, and so many of the modern Playwrights. They have rounded their skills doing drama, comedy, & musicals. Their work is a serious venture.
These people have given us screen performances which quite often were the catalyst that brought an Oscar or Emmy to another and yet they continue to work as "Characters" or "Co-Stars" without the trophies and plaques adorning their mantle.
Pat Harrington is a character actor who has entertained us with his wonderful craft for close to a half century now.
From the urbane and discerning Guido Panzini of THE JACK PAAR SHOW in the mid fifties, to the avuncular Dwayne F. Schneider of ONE DAY AT A TIME in the seventies and eighties, to the irrepressible Cap'n Andy of Show Boat in the nineties, he has demonstrated an extraordinary range.
Indeed, Panzini was done so convincingly that the U.S. Immigration Service called NBCofficially requesting a Date and Port of Entry for Guido. For those 85 memorable shows with Jack Paar, Pat received his first Award: The Radio & TV Daily Annual Award for the Most Talented Male Newcomer of 1959! Incidentally the lady that year was Carol Burnett! They are good friends to this day.
Mr. Harrington's capacity for giving such substance, shape and variety to his work is not surprising for he is himself a man of substantive background. After the Korean War, where he served in the Air Force as an Intelligence Officer, achieving the rank of First Lieutenant, Pat went to work at NBC in New York.
Mr. Harrington received his B.A. and M.A. from New York's Fordham University and has studied acting with Eric Morris and Justin Smith in Los Angeles and performed ensemble with Curt Conway's Circle Theater and the prestigious Theater West also in Los Angeles. Most recently he has worked with the Milton Katselas Master Workshop in Beverly Hills.
A sampling of his theatrical credits includes: The Golden Fleecing, Blackfriars, Off- Broadway -1960; Catch Me If You Can, The Players Ring, LA- 1965; Happiness is Just a Rolls Royce, Broadway - 1968; Duke, Houston, 1985; The Foreigner, Canadian tour - 1986; The Odd Couple, National tour - 1987; The Pajama Game, Pasadena Civic - 1989; The Pajama Game, Northwest tour - 1989; The House of Blue Leaves, Los Angeles - 1990; Breaking Legs, Toronto - 1994; "Show Boat", National Tour- 1997/1998; - "Love Letters" with Michael Learned, Los Angeles, 1998/99.
The "Show Boat" tour was one of the most memorable achievements in Pat's happy and productive career. From rehearsals in Chicago, under the brilliant direction of Hal Prince, to all the major cities of North America, he received rave reviews everywhere. Hal and Pat fashioned a uniquely different interpretation of 'Cap'n Andy', boiling with life and humor and love. Pat judges the experience on a par with anything he's done.
In addition to his skills as an actor, he is also an accomplished writer. His work includes the twelve "ONE DAY AT A TIME" scripts he wrote for the series.
Prior to "One Day At A Time", Mr. Harrington has been a regular on five other series: "The Jack Paar Show" - 1957/59; "The Danny Thomas Show" -1959/60; "The Steve Allen Show" -1960/63; "Mr. Deeds Go to Town" -1969; and "Owen Marshall, Counselor At Law"- 1970/74.
Pat is justifiably proud of the four Golden Globe and two Emmy nominations he has received for his work. More importantly, he has won each award once, both times for Best Supporting Actor. His continued critical success has included a Dramalogue Critics' "Best Performance Award" and a "Robbie" Nomination for his portrayal of "Artie Shaughnessy" in the Los Angeles revival of John Guarre's "House of Blue Leaves".
His most enjoyable theatrical films include "Easy Come, Easy Go" with Elvis Presley, "The President's Analyst" with James Coburn, "Move Over Darling" with James Garner, and "The Candidate" with Robert Redford.
A devoted family man, Pat has seen his children inherit his love of the arts. Patrick is an advertising executive living in Tucson. Michael is a fine actor. Terry is an accomplished pianist and composer. Tresa-Caitlin was a ballerina, whose credits include New York's Joffrey Ballet. Today she is acting and presently studies with Daryl Hickman. Patrick and Michael have presented Pat with four wonderful new delights: Caitlin, Lauren, Kelly and Brooke Harrington. He's fully prepared to soon be coaching the four ladies.
A depression baby born in New York to minstrel parents, Pat's home life was entirely theatrical. His father was a Vaudvillian, song and dance man, Broadway Actor and comedian. While it's true he wasn't, as the legend goes, born in a trunk, his fondest dream is to, one day, be buried in one...but then, not until the girls betimes, have settled into their own Series!
Harrington's advice to the aspiring actor:
|WORKING ACTOR ARCHIVE|
Robert Donner - July 1999
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