Neil Patrick Harris is having a great month! He killed it as host at the Tony Awards, he's been confirmed for his first appearance San Diego Comic Con (if you're attending don't mis the HIMYM panel) and today is his landmark 40th birthday. To celebrate, we have guest blogger Alex Smith of Cantmiss.tv praising the illustrious career of Neil. [mild spoiler warning for various NPH projects below]
And if you’re interested in a little NPH viewing marathon, our guest has summarized where you can watch NPH in movies and shows all week long, on TV and online below! Welcome Alex!
Neil Patrick Harris, being only human after all, is turning 40 today! We thought we’d celebrate by
watching as many of his shows, movies and appearances as we could possibly find (we’ve shared them with you below), but first, let’s take a look back at the fabulous life and career of an actor who’s been charming us since he was 16!
Neil Patrick Harris found success in acting early in life, having been cast in his first film, Clara's Heart in 1988 alongside Whoopi Goldberg. By the next year, NPH was spending lots of time in the television spotlight as well, portraying child prodigy Doogie Howser on Doogie Howser, M.D., which ran for four seasons and completed production in 1993. At the conclusion of the show's run, Neil Patrick Harris made guest starring roles on several popular television shows such as Murder She Wrote alongside longtime actress Angela Lansbury.
Neil Patrick Harris also enjoyed film success post-Doogie Howser, with roles in successful films as Undercover Brother, Starship Troopers, and the Harold and Kumar series.
His big breakthrough as an adult actor came when he was casted as the hilariously self-centered womanizer Barney Stinson on CBS' How I Met Your Mother. The show has been one of the most successful sitcoms on the air since 2005, and Harris' work on the show has garnered him multiple Emmy nominations as well as a significant cult following for both himself and Barney.
A surprisingly central figure in Neil Patrick Harris' career has been our man, director Joss Whedon. Whedon is of course best known for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but Neil Patrick Harris and Whedon have worked together on multiple projects over the years, most notably on the Fox Network's hit television series Glee. On the Glee episode titled “Dream On”, Whedon used Neil Patrick Harris to portray the character of Bryan Ryan, an old rival to glee club organizer and director Will Schuester. Whedon has even been quoted as joking "I am so tired of that guy. Why do they always make me direct Neil?"
Joss Whedon and Neil Patrick Harris had previously worked together (prior to the Glee episode) on Whedon's Internet-based project, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Joss Whedon tapped other parts of the talent pool he obtained during his Buffy days as well and cast actor Nathan Fillion with Neil Patrick Harris in the show, which was produced during the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America Strike.
Neil Patrick Harris is a cultural phenomenon not only because he is constantly in the public eye as a celebrity, but also because he has prominently come out as an openly gay actor. It turns out his real life persona is distinctively different from the role of Barney Stinson, the womanizer; in reality, NPH is a happy family man with longtime partner David Burtka, with whom he has two children through a surrogate.
Neil Patrick Harris doesn't take his celebrity or himself too seriously, as he proved recently with his appearance in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. In the film, his coming out as an opening gay man is jokingly portrayed as nothing more than a front for his Barney Stinson-ish womanizing, a ploy that allows him to get close to women without his romantic intentions being suspected. His partner, David Burtka, even gets in on the fun during the film, portraying Neil Patrick Harris' top secret drug dealer.
Happy 40th Birthday Neil!
Author Bio: Alex Smith is an experienced watcher of television and an entertainment writer. Like any red blooded American teenager in the late 90’s, he enjoyed countless hours of Buffy’s vampire slaying, and it was during this time that he became introduced to the generally awesome Neil Patrick Harris, who would later steal hours of his life thanks to How I Met Your Mother. He would like to thank the kind people at Buffyfest for allowing him to further explore this weird admiration in public. [Graphics courtesy of Cantmiss.tv).