Believe it or not, Neil Patrick Harris is turning 40.
In honor of this milestone on Saturday, we thought it would be fun to put together a guide to where you can spend the whole day watching NPH do what he does best: your very own Neil Patrick Harris Marathon.
Let’s take a look back at Neil’s story – after all, he didn’t just become America’s favorite Tony Awards host overnight!
Born on June 15, 1973 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Neil Patrick Harris found his place in acting early in life. As a child, he participated in numerous school plays and musicals hosted by the schools he attended and was cast in his first film, Clara’s Heart, after being discovered at theater camp in 1987. This role earned him a Golden Globe nomination, and the recognition of Hollywood’s elite players. Later that same year, Neil was cast in the children’s fantasy movie Purple People Eater, where he starred as the movie’s leading man.
The film was a success, and continued to be replayed on children’s cable TV networks after it left theaters.
Soon after his film debut, Harris landed the the part of one of his most iconic and well known roles – Doogie Howser, M.D. The show ran for four highly rated seasons, and catapulted Harris into the spotlight, where as it turned out, he belonged!
After his role as Doogie Howser ended, Harris found himself appearing as a guest star on numerous hit shows of the 90’s including Blossom, Roseanne, The Outer Limits and Murder, She Wrote. He appeared alongside Tony Shalhoub in the short lived sitcom Stark Raving Mad, before entering the world of voiceover work for multiple animated series and films.
In 2005, Neil found his way back in front of the television camera when he landed the role of wealthy playboy Barney Stinson on the hit television show How I Met Your Mother.
Harris quickly became one of the funniest men on television with his hilarious portrayal the super-bachelor Stinson, whose goal in life is to seduce as many women as he can without ever intending to create anything serious with any of them. Fans love how Harris portrays Stinson’s ridiculous personality traits, like his constant need to wear a suit at all times, and his unending desire to be the center of attention, not to mention his adherence to his own (often hypocritical) “bro code” with “rules” he makes up as he goes.
Both Harris and Barney Stinson have gained a cult following since the premier of How I Met Your Mother. Many of his most famous lines from the show, such as recurring jokes about the word “legendary” like “It’s gonna be legend-…wait for it…and I hope you’re not lactose intolerant because the second half of that word is DAIRY!”, can be seen on everything from t-shirts and hoodies to backpacks and pillowcases. Barney also has to be credited with making the word “bro” a seemingly universal and extremely popular term.
In addition to being an incredible actor with immense talent, Harris is also an advocate for equal rights and gay marriage. An openly gay man who has been happily in love with his partner David Burtka since 2004, Harris has spoken candidly about his desire to see samesex marriage legal across the country.
Harris has positioned himself to be a great role model for celebrities and non celebrities alike. He continues to live a normal and healthy life with his partner and their fraternal twins, while apparently never getting caught up in the pressures of Hollywood, and to all outward appearances staying grounded and well-adjusted in the midst of fame. Harris is set to star in three films between now and 2014, and will reprise his role in the upcoming and final season of How I Met Your Mother.
Happy 40th Birthday, Neil Patrick Harris!
Spencer Blohm is a television addict and entertainment writer currently working for DirectTVDeal. He has enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris since the tender age when he was naive enough to actually believe teenagers could be doctors.