Richard HarrisHe was the first character we saw in the very first 'Harry Potter' film. As twice played by Richard Harris, Professor Albus Dumbledore personified wisdom, goodness and benevolence. Sadly, Harris died shortly before the release of 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' in 2002 and so we can only imagine how he would have played the role in the subsequent films. With the penultimate episode in the series, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,' opening in theaters nationwide today, it's a good time to look back and remember an actor who is very much missed, not just as headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but for a body of work that encompassed roles from a rugby player to an undercover detective to a soldier of fortune to a determined farmer to a Roman emperor to the King of England (more than once!).

Harris, born in Ireland, gained steady work as an actor after he was forced to abandon a promising career as a rugby player due to health issues. His early films included supporting roles in 'The Guns of Navarone' and 'Mutiny on the Bounty,' the latter alongside Marlon Brandon. He hit pay dirt with 'This Sporting Life,' Lindsay Anderson's bruising 1963 drama about a rugby player whose rough-hewn personality causes problems for him both on and off the field.