''Harry Potter'''s Richard Harris battles cancer. His agent says he's being treated for Hodgkin's disease but should be well enough to return as Dumbledore for the third movie

By Gary Susman
October 15, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
Richard Harris: Walter Weissman/Star Max/Newscom
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Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore looks pretty good for a guy who’s 2,000 years old. And especially for a guy who’s battling cancer. The BBC reports that Richard Harris, the 72-year-old actor who plays Dumbledore in the ”Harry Potter” movies, has been battling Hodgkin’s disease for two months. The Irish actor’s agent confirmed to the British news service that Harris has been undergoing chemotherapy and is expected to be well enough to reprise his role in the third ”Potter” movie, which starts shooting next spring.

Harris was hospitalized in August with a severe chest infection, the BBC reports. Since then, he has been at University College Hospital in London, receiving chemotherapy. ”He has responded very, very well to treatment and he should be out of hospital soon,” the agent said. ”He absolutely will be in ‘Harry Potter [and the Prisoner of Azkaban].’ Filming is not due to start until March.”

Harris, who is contracted to star in all seven ”Potter” pictures, was as famous for off-screen pub-crawling as for on-screen roles in dozens of films from ”Camelot” to ”Gladiator.” He reportedly went on the wagon 13 years ago. His latest turn as Dumbledore, in the second movie, ”Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” will reach moviegoers on Nov. 15.

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