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NO DOOGIES ALLOWED

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS PLAYS A DAD

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Neil Patrick Harris isn’t into bondage. ”I don’t want to be tied down to Doogie Howser for the rest of my life,” says Harris, 20, who played the pubescent physician for four seasons until the show was canceled last year. ”The role was a blessing, but it’s also been my-what’s the expression?-Pandora’s box.” In an attempt to shed his teeny-doctor image, Harris took a title role in the CBS TV movie Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story (Jan. 9, 9-11 p.m.), a true-grit account of the San Francisco man who trudged through the frozen Nevada wilderness for five days without food (and in tennis shoes, no less) to save his stranded family. ”It’s the first time I’ve really played an adult, a married guy,” Harris says. Shooting the film in British Columbia and the Yukon wasn’t quite as grueling as Stolpa’s real journey, but it still seemed like an adventure to Harris. ”I had been in a warm studio environment for four years,” he explains. ”I had never been out of the country before, so that was reason enough to go. How often do you get the chance to spend two weeks in the Yukon in blizzards?” Though he won good reviews for his performance as a murderous son in A Family Torn Apart earlier this season, Harris has now sworn off TV movies and has lined up his first Broadway play, Luck, Pluck, & Virtue, opening next fall. ”It has been a dream of mine since I saw Annie when I was six years – old,” he says. ”I believe in God. I don’t know if He’s entirely responsible for this.” But even as Harris distances himself from Doogiedom, the specter of the show entering syndication next fall looms large over his head. ”I can’t help but notice the size of my hair when I see the reruns. I had a ‘fro going the first season,” he says, with some embarrassment. ”I’m sure it’s like Susan Dey watching Partridge Family reruns.”