Star of the Week: Neil Patrick Harris is a brilliantly funny actor and an all-star event host

Neil Patrick Harris in an opening number for the Tony Awards.

Neil Patrick Harris in an opening number for the Tony Awards.

Time Magazine named Neil Patrick Harris one of the 100 most influential people in 2010 and he has been nominated for several Golden Globes and Emmys, which, incidentally, he hosts later this year. He has conquered television, movies, theatre, and even a web-series musical. And, on Sunday, he will host the Tony Awards for the fourth time.

Most know him as enthusiastic womanizer Barney Stinson on the TV series How I Met Your Mother. (Those who haven’t seen the series have surely seen the large number of Internet memes it has spawned.) The role earned him two People’s Choice Awards . Harris won his first People’s Choice Award twenty years ago for his portrayal of the brilliant 16-year-old surgeon in Doogie Howser, MD. Both roles also netted Golden Globe nominations.

He has already hosted the Tony Awards three times. He’s hosted the Emmys once and actually won two Emmys for his appearance in Glee. The episode was directed by Joss Whedon who also directed Harris in musical web miniseries Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Harris played Dr. Horrible himself, a funny but tragic super villain—really, more of an antihero.

No stranger to Broadway, Harris has acted in straight plays and musicals including Rent and Cabaret. He appears to have a penchant for Stephen Sondheim as he sang in Sweeney Todd, Assassins, and Company. He directed a version of Rent in 2010 at the Hollywood Bowl.

Harris has appeared in dozens of television shows and films. When he was only 15, the New Mexico native starred opposite Whoopi Goldberg in the movie Clara’s Heart. Up next Harris will be seen in the family filmsThe Smurfs 2 and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Notice a lot of children’s fare? He and his partner David Burtka, a fellow Broadway alum, have two-year-old twins. Harris is openly gay and, according to Time, is changing the public’s perception about gay men.

On top of all that, Harris is a magic aficionado. Will he perform tricks at this Sunday’s Tonys? At the Emmys? One headline jokingly said “Neil Patrick Harris to host every awards show ever.” But would anyone be upset if this happened?


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