Alex Smith - The wonderfully funny and talented Neil Patrick Harris turns 40 this week! We're celebrating by watching everything he's starred in that we can possibly find today, but Harris himself has a lot to celebrate as well, as he's had a stellar decade and a fabulous life!
Born on June 15, 1973, Harris grew up in New Mexico, where he first started acting in fourth grade, winning the part of Toto in his school's production of "The Wizard of Oz." From that point on, Harris was an actor, debuting in two Hollywood films in 1988. In 1989, he had his big break, landing the lead on the ABC comedy-drama Doogie Howser, M.D., a role that made Harris a teen hearthrob overnight. He continued attending high school and even starred in school productions in addition to his work on Doogie Howser. After Doogie ended, Harris hasn't stopped working on stage, TV, and film, continually proving his versatility as an actor.
This versatility served him well, as he was able to find even greater success in the "second wave" of his career. Harris had a big year in 1997, appearing in the film Starship Troopers, his first film appearance in nine years, and accepting the role of Mark Cohen in Rent, for which he won the Drama-League Award. These roles in the 90s would ultimately lead him to the greatest success of his career.
In 2005, he landed a starring role on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, playing the suit-wearing, catch-phrase-spouting womanizer Barney Stinson. The role is perfect for Harris because it allows him to use his musical/stage background. Like Harris in real life, Barney fancies himself a magician, allowing the actor to dazzle his audience. If nothing else, Barney Stinson will forever be immortalized in the wide popularity of his catchphrases from the show, like "Suit Up" and "Legendary."
Aside from working on How I Met Your Mother, Harris starred in the title role in 2008's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which was among the first programs made exclusively for release on the internet.
That same year, the outspoken Muppet fan put in a classic guest appearance on Sesame Street as the "Fairy Shoeperson," performing a song called "I've Got Shoes for You" as he magically flitted about the Sesame Street universe handing out shoes--whether they were needed or not. Harris later appeared in a "Word on the Street" guest spot with Elmo. He appeared in a hysterical online video, Backstage with Elmo, as well.
Then when the feature film The Muppets was released in 2011, fans were surprised and pleased when Harris turned up again, this time as part of the phone bank for the Muppet Telethon, where he delivered a typically self-deprecating performance as himself, complaining loudly that he should have been hosting!
The enormous success and notoriety of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, along with his Muppets experience likely contributed to Harris launching his own web series, "Neil's Puppet Dreams." The show was created by Harris, his husband David Burtka, and actress Janet Varney. Harris stars alongside Burtka, with the two essentially portraying fictionalized versions of themselves. Harris begins every episode with the line, "Hi, I'm Neil. I sleep a lot, and when I dream, I dream in puppet." Then he immediately falls asleep and has a puppet dream. The dreams are usually related to whatever Neil was doing before he fell asleep.
"Neil's Puppet Dreams" showcases the full breadth of Harris' talents, as it is a comedy that includes occasional musical numbers and dancing. The show includes many references to Harris' real life and career, as well as enough double entendres to keep viewers watching again and again in the hopes of catching them all. These factors have made this entertaining web series an absolute must for NPH fans.
Through everything, Neil Patrick Harris remains positive and upbeat. Harris is in many ways an ideal role model for the LGBT community, proving through his example that it's okay for people to be themselves--Harris is always himself! He clearly doesn't take himself too seriously, and he's always a joy to watch.
Neil Patrick Harris is a talented and refreshing performer, and as he turns 40, we wish him the happiest of birthdays and continued success in all his endeavors!
Check out the Neil Patrick Harris Birthday Viewing Schedule below!
for DTV and a long time Neil Patrick Harris aficionado. Having grown up in the time of Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and Doogie Howser, M.D., he is a huge lover of all things 80’s. He would like to thank the fine people at The Muppet Mindset for allowing him to further explore his love of NPH and talking plush creatures everywhere.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org