OCT. 1, 1930-OCT. 25, 2002
Richard Harris
Credit: Richard Harris: Nigel Parry/CPI

Bo Derek remembers Richard Harris

Richard Harris and I met on the set of ”Orca.” We’d go out for dinner or to a bar, and you wouldn’t want to go to sleep at night — you’d just want to sit and listen to his stories. On the set, he’d tell stories right up to ”Action!” People would be rolling sound, and he would still be in the middle of some wonderful story. And he’d give some incredible performance and then he’d go back to his story.

I haven’t come across anyone who didn’t love him. Richard would often end up punching one of his drinking buddies — I’d find out because they’d come in the next day with a black eye — but they’d be buddies again and go drinking the next night.

I had the opportunity to hire him when my husband, John, and I did ”Tarzan, the Ape Man” a few years later, because I was a producer. The picture was doomed — we originally wanted to do something called ”Me, Jane,” a feminist update on ”Tarzan,” and wound up simply remaking a 1932 Johnny Weissmuller movie instead — but Richard gave it his all anyway. There were times when Richard would do a scene and John would say, ”Can’t you do more? We have nothing else to entertain with.” And Richard would say, ”More? It’s a bit much, isn’t it?” But he’d throw out his arms and do something that was very Shakespearean. Whenever I worked with Richard, they were my best scenes. He had such energy, he’d give so much, I wouldn’t even be acting anymore — I’d just sort of fall into his eyes and go with him. (Harris, who starred in such films as ”The Guns of Navarone” and ”Camelot,” died of Hodgkin’s disease in London.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bo Derek, the fantasy beauty of the 1979 comedy ”10,” wrote the 2002 book ”Riding Lessons.”