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Tuesday, 5 November, 2002, 12:48 GMT
Crowe pays poetic tribute to Harris
Russell Crowe
Crowe flew 5,500 miles to pay his respects
Russell Crowe has attended the wake of fellow actor Richard Harris, and remembered him by reciting the Irish ode that was cut from his Bafta speech.

The star joined Harris's family and friends in a plush London hotel following the Irish screen veteran's funeral at Thomas Moore Catholic church in Chelsea.

He raised a pint of Guinness to the friend he met on the set of Gladiator after reciting Sanctity by Patrick Kavanagh.

The poem sparked a headline-hitting quarrel between Crowe and BBC TV director Malcolm Gerrie, who took the decision to edit it from coverage of February's award ceremony.

Harris's sons Damian, Jared and Jamie paid their own unique tributes at the wake, getting up on the bar at London's Goring Hotel in turn to remember their father.

Farewell

Crowe flew 5,500 miles from filming in Mexico to say farewell to Harris.

The two became friends on the set of Gladiator, in which Crowe starred as enslaved Roman general Maximus and Harris played emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Richard Harris
Harris played 2,000-year-old Dumbledore

Just before his death last month from lymphatic cancer at the age of 72, Harris wrote to Crowe: "Top bloke, loves his rugby, doesn't give a stuff, brilliant actor, a much loved new friend. He will carry the baton on."

Crowe liked the message so much he put it on his website.

Harris's ashes are due to be taken to his home in the Bahamas and sprinkled there, according to a spokesman for his agent, Steve Kenis.

Hogwarts headmaster

Harris became known to a new generation of film fans in his role as Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in the first Harry Potter film.

He had just finished work on the second Potter film, Chamber of Secrets, when he became ill this summer.

Hodgkin's disease - a form of cancer that affects the lymph glands - was diagnosed when Harris went into hospital with a severe chest infection in August.

He had been expected to be discharged in time to work on the third Potter film, The Prisoner of Azkaban.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Chris Jones
"Harris said that even as a child he was excessively wild"
John Marriot, film critic
"He was one of the greats"

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09 Feb 99 | Medical notes
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