Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson
Woody Harrelson October 2016.jpg
Harrelson at the premiere of LBJ in October 2016
BornWoodrow Tracy Harrelson
(1961-07-23) July 23, 1961 (age 57)
Midland, Texas, U.S.
Alma materHanover College (BA 1983, DHL (hc 2014))
  • Actor
  • playwright
Years active1978–present
Nancy Simon
(m. 1985; div. 1986)

Laura Louie
(m. 2008)
Parent(s)Charles Harrelson
Diane Lou Oswald

Woodrow Tracy Harrelson[1][2] (born July 23, 1961)[3] is an American actor and playwright. His breakout role came in 1985 as bartender Woody Boyd in the television sitcom Cheers, for which he earned five Emmy Award nominations, winning one in 1989. In film, he is best known for his portrayals of basketball hustler Billy Hoyle in White Men Can't Jump (1992), serial killer Mickey Knox in Natural Born Killers (1994), magazine publisher Larry Flynt in The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), Tallahassee in Zombieland (2009), Capt. Tony Stone in The Messenger (2009), Dave Brown in Rampart (2011), Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games film series (2012–2015), magician/mentalist Merritt McKinney in the Now You See Me film series (2013–2016), the Colonel in War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), Sheriff Bill Willoughby in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), and Tobias Beckett in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Harrelson has been nominated for an Academy Award three times; he was nominated for Best Actor for The People vs. Larry Flynt and Best Supporting Actor for The Messenger and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.[4]

Early life

Harrelson was born in 1961 in Midland, Texas, to Diane (née Oswald) and Charles Voyde Harrelson.[3] He and his two brothers, Jordan and Brett Harrelson, were raised in a Presbyterian household.[3][5] His father, Charles Harrelson, was a convicted contract killer, who received a life sentence for the 1979 killing of Federal Judge John H. Wood Jr. in San Antonio, Texas;[6] Harrelson has stated that his father was rarely around growing up.[5] He died in the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility on March 15, 2007.[6] The family was poor, reliant on his mother's secretary wage.[5] In 1973, Harrelson moved to his mother's native city, Lebanon, Ohio,[7] where he attended Lebanon High School.[8] He spent the summer of 1979 working at Kings Island amusement park.[9]

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."[10] While attending Hanover, Harrelson was friends with future Vice President Mike Pence, a fellow Hanover attendee.[11]

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