Neil Patrick Harris (born June 15, 1973 in Albuquerque, New Mexico), occasionally nicknamed NPH, got his first big break as the title character of Doogie Howser, M.D. when he was a teenager. He managed to establish himself in theater (RENT, Toby in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) after that, as well as taking roles in films such as Starship Troopers and Undercover Brother. He took his career to the big screen again in 2004, playing... Neil Patrick Harris, a crude Jerkass womanizer in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (pretty much an up to eleven version of the Former Child Star stereotype). He then went on to play the part of the womanizing Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother. Shortly afterwards, he came out as gay, and proceeded to play a singing shoe fairy in a Sesame Street cameo.
Of course, in Internet circles, he's probably most famous for his leading role in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. He later used his musical talent to play The Music Meister in the Musical Episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold and plays Nightwing in Batman: Under the Red Hood, and again used his musical talent as Doctor Blowhole in The Penguins of Madagascar. He worked alongside Mike Nelson on the RiffTrax of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. An episode of Adventure Time featured him as Prince Gumball, the gender flipped version of Princess Bubblegum. He's done some voice acting, lending his voice to Spider-Man in both the 2003 series and Amazing Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. He is currently president of the Academy of Magical Arts (the famous "Magic Castle" in Hollywood, California). He is also the star of new Nerdist web show, Neil's Puppet Dreams. For the 2015 TV season, he's hosting an American adaptation of Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, called Best Time Ever on NBC.
On August 21, 2010 he won his first Emmy awards thanks to his stellar guest appearance on Glee and awesome hosting of last year's Tony Awards. After four years hosting the Tony's, on June 8, 2014 Neil took it up to eleven by winning the Best Actor in a Musical Tony for his performance in the title role of a genderqueer glam-rock goddess in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He hosted the Oscars in 2015 and promptly declared, afterwards, that it would be his only time.
NPH has been in a relationship with David Burtka since 2004. In January 2010 he was voted "Gay Man of the Decade" after a fierce Twitter war against John Barrowman. It was once said of NPH that "Neil Patrick Harris is so manly, only another man could possibly satisfy him." And in the fall of 2010, Neil and David became daddies to twins.
Played Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017) and was utterly fucking terrifying.
Not to be confused with Christopher Masterson (the actor who played older brother Francis on Malcolm in the Middle), who looks very similar to him.
Some roles Neil has played include:
- Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989-1993): Doogie Howser
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1992): Todd Andrews (You may know him better as the victim from the AIDS episode)
- Capitol Critters (1992): Max
- Animal Room (1995): Arnold Mosk
- RENT (1997): Mark Cohen
- Starship Troopers (1997): Carl Jenkins
- Homicide: Life on the Street (1997): Alan Schack
- Romeo and Juliet (1998): Romeo Montague
- Stark Raving Mad (1999-2000): Henry McNeeley
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2001): Toby
- Static Shock (2001): Johnny Morrow
- Justice League (2002): Ray Thompson
- Undercover Brother (2002): Lance
- Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (2003): Spider-Man
- Assassins (2004): The Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald
- Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004): Neil Patrick Harris
- NUMB3RS (2005): Ethan Burdick
- How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014): Barney Stinson
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008): Billy/Dr. Horrible
- Justice League: The New Frontier (2008): Barry Allen
- Sesame Street (2008): The Fairy Shoeperson
- Saints Row 2 (2008) and Saints Row IV (2013): DJ Veteran Child
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 1 and 2 (2008-2013): Steve
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2009): The Music Meister
- Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard (2009): Wallace "Wally" Wellesley
- Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010): Nightwing
- Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (2010): Amazing Spider-Man
- Glee (2010): Bryan Ryan
- California Screamin' at Paradise Pier in Disney California Adventure (2010-2017): PA/Safety announcer
- The Penguins of Madagascar (2010-2015): Dr. Blowhole
- Adventure Time (2011-2013): Prince Gumball
- The Smurfs 1 and 2 (2011-2013): Patrick Winslow
- Neil's Puppet Dreams (2012-2013): Himself
- Gone Girl (2014): Desi Collings
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2014): Hedwig
- American Horror Story: Freak Show (2015): Chester Creb
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017): Count Olaf
- Home Movie: The Princess Bride (2020): Westley
- It's a Sin (2021): Henry Coltrane
- Star Wars: Visions: The Twins (2021): Karre
- 8-Bit Christmas (2021): Jake Doyle (Adult)
- The Matrix Resurrections (2021): The Analyst
- The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022): Nicolas Cage's Agent
- Uncoupled (2022): Michael Lawson
- Doctor Who (2023): TBA
This actor provides examples of:
- As Himself / Adam Westing:
- Spoofed in the Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, where he's credited "Neil Patrick Harris as Neil Patrick Harris". He had himself credited like this so people wouldn't think the way he acts in the film is how he acts in real life.
- Also in Neil's Puppet Dreams.
- Career Resurrection: Though he was never completely off the radar, the period between Doogie and H&K were a pretty thin stretch for Neil outside of maybe Starship Troopers. H&K alongside How I Met Your Mother made him a household name for the 2010s.
- The Cast Show Off:
- Directors are quick to notice his beautiful voice with impressive range.
- He's also a magician and has showed off his talents on How I Met Your Mother and Glee.
- Chewing the Scenery: He regularly plays Large Ham characters, and tends to do them up to eleven.
- Covered in Gunge: Happened to him, along with Sandra Bullock, at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2013 while presenting an award to Kristen Stewart.
- Forehead of Doom: A minor example.
- Former Child Star: Notably averted. And hilariously subverted in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
- Funny Background Event: Doing his Spider-Man bit behind Angela Lansbury and Ted Chapin at the 2012 Tony Awards, Harris appears to get stuck.Ted: Thank you for your undivided attention!
- Iconic Outfit: Thanks to Barney Stinson, he became heavily associated with suits.
- Irony as She Is Cast: He is an openly gay actor most well-known for playing an impulsive womanizer, though notably he wasn't openly out until after he was cast. Prior to this, he's played Happily Married men with wives.
- Playing Against Type: He's played some unsavory types before, as well as the requisite Large Ham, but never a cartoonishly evil child-abuser like Count Olaf.
- Promoted Fanboy: A life-long MST3K fan, he's on the RiffTrax (MST3K's online successor) for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. In the 2017 relaunch of MST3K, he plays Felicia Day's long-distance love interest.
- "Sesame Street" Cred: He was the Sesame Street Fairy Shoe Person.
- He's also friends with Elmo.
- Shakespearean Actors: An acclaimed theater actor, he played the titular Romeo in Romeo and Juliet during a 1998 event.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: There is tension to be had whenever he and Hugh Jackman share the stage and screen.
- Take That!: A mild one to Les Misérables (2012), specifically The Oner shot of Anne Hathaway singing "I Dreamed A Dream":"You see, on Broadway we don't need extreme close-ups to prove we're singing live. We sing live eight shows a week! Check it!"
- Villain Song: Has rocked quite a few, notably "Slipping", "Brand New Day", "Drives Us Bats", I'm The Music Meister "It’s The Count" and "Brand New Plan".