Neil Patrick Harris (born June 15, 1973) is an American actor and singer, known primarily for his comedy roles on television and his dramatic and musical stage roles. His best-known roles are the title character on Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989–93), and Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother (2005–14), for which he was nominated for four Emmy Awards.
He is also known for his role as the title character in Joss Whedon's musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008) and a fictional version of himself in the Harold & Kumar film series (2004–11). He appeared in the films Starship Troopers (1997), Beastly (2011), The Smurfs (2011), The Smurfs 2 (2013), A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014), and Gone Girl (2014).
Harris was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2010. He has hosted the Tony Awards on Broadway in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013, for which he won several special class Emmy Awards. He also hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2009 and 2013, and hosted the 87th Academy Awards in 2015, thus making him the first openly gay man to host the Academy Awards. In 2014, he starred in the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, for which he won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical.
Harris began his career as a child actor and was discovered by playwright Mark Medoff at a drama camp in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Medoff later cast him in the 1988 drama film Clara's Heart, starring Whoopi Goldberg based on the novel of the same name by Joseph Olshan. Clara's Heart earned Harris a Golden Globe nomination. The same year, he starred in Purple People Eater, a children's fantasy.
Harris' first film role as an adult was 1995's Animal Room, although he portrayed a teenager. His subsequent film work has included supporting roles in The Next Best Thing, Undercover Brother, and Starship Troopers. Harris plays a fictionalized, hyper-womanising, lewd version of himself, in many ways a polar-opposite to his actual self, in the Harold and Kumar stoner comedy films Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.
In 2010, Harris provided voice acting for the role of the adult Dick Grayson (Nightwing) in the animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood and the beagle Lou in the film Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. The same year, he played the lead in the indie comedy The Best and the Brightest. On March 7, 2010, he made a surprise appearance at the 82nd Academy Awards, delivering the opening musical number. He starred in the films The Smurfs (2011) and The Smurfs 2 (2013).
In 2014, Harris showed a more serious side in Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher. Harris co-starred in the film as Desi Collings, the wealthy and obsessed ex-boyfriend of Amy Dunne, played by Rosamund Pike. Harris has said: "I was pinching myself at the opportunity" to work with Fincher, he received general praise from critics for his performance, as did the film.
On February 22, 2015, Harris hosted the 87th Academy Awards; it was his first time hosting the ceremony, and the first time an openly gay man hosted the Academy Awards.