- Woodrow Tracy Harrelson
July 23, 1961 (age 59)
- Nancy Simon (1985–1986) Laura Louie (2008–present)
- Charles Harrelson, Diane Lou Oswald
Woodrow Tracy "Woody" Harrelson (born July 23, 1961) is an American actor, activist and playwright. He is a two-time Academy Award nominee and has won one Emmy Award out of seven nominations.
His breakout role came in 1985, joining the television sitcom Cheers as bartender Woody Boyd, for which he earned five Emmy Award nominations (one win). Some notable film characters include basketball hustler Billy Hoyle in White Men Can't Jump, one-handed bowler Roy Munson in Kingpin, Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games film series, Tallahassee in Zombieland, serial killer Mickey Knox in Natural Born Killers, magazine publisher Larry Flynt in The People vs. Larry Flynt, and country singer Dusty in A Prairie Home Companion.
For The People vs. Larry Flynt and The Messenger, Harrelson earned Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively. In 2014, he starred as Detective Martin Hart in the HBO crime drama True Detective with Matthew McConaughey, which earned him and McConaughey nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Harrelson was born in Midland, Texas, the son of Diane Lou (née Oswald) and Charles Voyde Harrelson, who divorced in 1964; he has two brothers, Jordan and Brett. Charles Voyde Harrelson, who was a hitman, was arrested in 1979 for killing Federal Judge John H. Wood, Jr. in San Antonio, Texas. His father was convicted and eventually died during his life sentence in the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility.
In 1973, Harrelson moved to his mother's native city, Lebanon, Ohio, where he was raised. He attended Lebanon High School, working through much of high school as a woodcarver at Kings Island amusement park.
He attended Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana, where he joined the Sigma Chi fraternity. He received a Bachelor of Arts in theater and English in 1983. He told Playboy in October 2009: "I was getting into theology and studying the roots of the Bible, but then I started to discover the man-made nature of it. I started seeing things that made me ask, 'Is God really speaking through this instrument?' My eyes opened to the reality of the Bible being just a document to control people. At the time I was a real mama's boy and deeply mesmerized by the church."
Harrelson is widely known for his work on the NBC sitcom Cheers. He played bartender Woody Boyd, who replaced Coach (played by Nicholas Colasanto, who died in February 1985). He joined the cast in 1985 for season four and lasted eight seasons (1985–1993) on the show. For this role, Harrelson was nominated for five Emmy Awards, winning once in 1989. His character, Woody Boyd, was from Hanover, Indiana, where Harrelson attended college. In 1999, Harrelson guest-starred in the Cheers spin-off success Frasier, in which he reprised the role of "Woody Boyd". He was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for this performance. He appeared in several 2001 episodes of Will & Grace as Grace's new boyfriend Nathan.
On the November 12, 2009 episode of the Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, Harrelson was interviewed by Stephen Colbert, to promote his movie The Messenger. In response to Colbert's questioning of his support for the troops, Harrelson agreed to let Colbert shave his head on camera. Harrelson returned to television in 2014, starring along with Matthew McConaughey in the first season of the HBO crime series True Detective, where he plays Marty Hart, a Louisiana cop investigating murders that took place over a timespan of 17 years.
While still working on Cheers, Harrelson reawakened his film career. His first movie had been Wildcats, a football comedy in 1986 with Goldie Hawn. He reunited and became friends with Wesley Snipes and starred with him in the box-office hit White Men Can't Jump and the box office bomb Money Train.
In 1993, he had a starring role opposite Robert Redford and Demi Moore in the drama Indecent Proposal, which was a box office success, earning a worldwide total of over $265,000,000. He then played Mickey Knox in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers and Dr. Michael Raynolds in the Michael Cimino film The Sunchaser. In 1996, he starred in the comedy Kingpin.
Harrelson's career gained momentum when he starred in the Miloš Forman film The People vs. Larry Flynt, in which he played Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine. The film was a success and Harrelson's performance was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for Best Actor. After that, Harrelson was cast in more serious film roles. He starred in the 1997 war film Welcome to Sarajevo and in 1997 had a featured role as Sergeant Schumann in Wag the Dog. In 1998, Harrelson starred in the thriller Palmetto and played Sergeant Keck in The Thin Red Line, a war film nominated for seven Academy Awards in 1999.
Harrelson made other films such as The Hi-Lo Country and portrayed Ray Pekurny in the comedy EDtv. Also in 1999, he appeared as boxer Vince Boudreau in the Ron Shelton film Play It to the Bone. Harrelson did not appear in films again until 2003, when he co-starred as Galaxia in the comedy film Anger Management.
He appeared in the action film After the Sunset and the Spike Lee film She Hate Me. In 2005, Harrelson was in The Big White and North Country. Also in 2005 he appeared as Kelly Ryan, husband of a contest-obsessed woman in the film The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. Harrelson made two films in 2006, the animated film version of Free Jimmy and also A Scanner Darkly. In 2007 he played Carter Page III, gay escort of privileged Washington D.C. women, in the film The Walker.
In the Oscar-winning 2007 crime thriller No Country for Old Men, Harrelson had a key role as Carson Wells, a bounty hunter. The film won Best Picture and Best Director for Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. Harrelson also won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Cast, along with Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin and Kelly Macdonald.
Also in a movie released in 2007, Battle in Seattle, Harrelson played another key role of a Seattle police officer whose pregnant wife loses her baby during the World Trade Organization protests in 1999. In 2008, Harrelson appeared in several films, among them the Will Ferrell basketball comedy Semi-Pro and the Will Smith stark drama Seven Pounds. as a blind vegan meat salesman named Ezra turner.
In 2009, Harrelson received significant praise for his performance as Captain Tony Stone in The Messenger. In what many critics considered to be his best role, Harrelson was nominated for a Satellite Award, an Independent Spirit Award, a Golden Globe Award a Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Harrelson has also won the Best Supporting Actor award in the 2009 National Board of Review award ceremonies and received accolades from various critics' societies.
In 2009, he co-starred in the horror comedy Zombieland, followed by Roland Emmerich's 2012 where he played Charlie Frost, a man who warns of the end of the world. In 2010 he starred as a bartender and mentor in the futuristic western martial arts film Bunraku. In 2011, he starred as Tommy in the movie Friends with Benefits. He played Haymitch Abernathy in 2012's The Hunger Games, and reprised the role in all three subsequent films in the series.
In 2015, Woody Harrelson and daughter Zoe starred in a 7-minute short film for U2's 'Song for Someone.’ He will also feature as a character named "The Colonel" in War for the Planet of the Apes, scheduled for a 2017 release.
In 2016, it was confirmed that Harrelson would join Brie Larson in The Glass Castle. The script is an adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ memoir. It tells of a successful young woman who was raised by dysfunctional and nonconformist parents. Her world gets turned upside down when they move to New York to be near her. Naomi Watts is currently in negotiations to join as Larson's eccentric mother. Harrelson is already on board as Larson's alcoholic father. The comedic drama will be directed by Short Term 12 director, Destin Daniel Cretton. The project is looking to begin production in Montreal around June 2016. Gil Netter is producing.
In 1999, Harrelson directed his own play, Furthest from the Sun, at the Theatre de la Jeune Lune in Minneapolis. He followed next in Roundabout's Broadway revival of the N. Richard Nash play The Rainmaker in 2000, Sam Shepard's The Late Henry Moss in 2001, John Kolvenbach's On an Average Day opposite Kyle MacLachlan in London's West End in the fall of 2002, and in the summer of 2003, Harrelson directed the Toronto premiere of Kenneth Lonergan's This is Our Youth at the Berkley Street Theater.
In the winter of 2005-06 Harrelson returned to London's West End, starring in Tennessee Williams' Night of the Iguana at the Lyric Theater. Harrelson directed Bullet for Adolf (a play written by himself in collaboration with Frankie Hyman) at the esteemed Hart House Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, which ran from April 21 to May 7, 2011. Bullet for Adolf opened Off-Broadway (New world Stages) with previews beginning July 19, 2012 and closed on September 30, 2012, canceling its announced extension through October 21. The play was panned by New York critics.
In 1985, Harrelson married Nancy Simon, daughter of playwright Neil Simon in Tijuana. The two intended to divorce the following day, but the storefront marriage/divorce parlor was closed when they had returned to it, and the two remained married for ten months.
On December 28, 2008, Harrelson married Laura Louie, his girlfriend since 1987. The couple have three daughters, Deni (born 1993), Zoe (born 1996), and Makani (born 2006). When announcing Makani's birth, the couple referred to the three as their "goddess trilogy".
Louie is Harrelson's former assistant and a co-founder of Yoganics, an organic food delivery service.