How Gregory Harrison Overcame Addiction and Found Happiness

How Gregory Harrison Overcame Addiction and Found Happiness

Who is Gregory Harrison?

American actor, producer and director Gregory Neale Harrison was born on Santa Catalina Island, California USA, on 31 May 1950, making Gemini his zodiac sign. He’s appeared in over 110 movies and TV series, but is perhaps still known best for playing Dr. George Alonzo ‘Gonzo’ Gates in 142 episodes of the popular drama “Trapper, John M. D.”, which starred Brian Stokes Mitchell and Pernell Roberts, and was created by Don Brinkley. It follows a Korean War veteran who’s today working at a major city hospital, the series aired from 1979 through 1986 and was nominated for six Primetime Emmys.

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Education and early life

Gregory was raised in Avalon alongside his younger brother Christopher and older sister Kathleen, by their mother Donna Lee who was a dancer and father Ed Harrison who was a poet and ship’s captain; the two divorced when Gregory was 14.

He studied at a local high school and became passionate about acting after having been persuaded by his drama teacher to star in a school play; Gregory was also an avid soccer player, and enjoyed singing, dancing and playing the guitar.

He matriculated in 1958 and then joined the US Army, serving two years as a medic in the Vietnam War.

Roles in movies

Gregory’s debut film role was playing Student in the 1973 romantic comedy “The Harrad Experiment”, and some of his following roles were in the 1975 horror thriller “Trilogy of Terror”, the 1975 drama “Jim, the World’s Greatest” and the 1977 drama “Fraternity Row”. What marked the ‘70s for him was perhaps playing Captain Bob Lewis in the historical adventure “Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb”, which starred Kim Darby and Billy Crystal, and follows the US decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan, ending World War 2.

Gregory started off the ‘80s with roles in the 1981 drama “For Ladies Only”, the 1983 drama “The Fighter” and the 1983 romantic drama “The Hasty Heart”. The year 1984 saw him portray the lead character Carl Winters in the horror thriller “Razorback”, which also starred Arkie Whiteley and was directed by Russell Mulcahy. It follows a wild boar which is terrorizing a town in the Australian outback, and the film won three of its eight award nominations. Some of Gregory’s roles in the remainder of the decade were in the 1986 romantic drama “Picnic”, the 1987 romantic action “North Shore” and the 1990 thriller “Angel of Death”.

In 1996, he starred as Brandon Theis in the popular romantic drama “It’s My Party”, which also starred Margaret Cho and Eric Roberts, and was written and directed by Randal Kleiser. It follows Nick ‘Eric’ Roberts who’s about to die from AIDS and has made arrangements for his death, and the film was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film. The remainder of the ‘90s saw Gregory appear in the 1997 crime drama “When Secrets Kill”, the 1998 drama “Running Wild”, and the 1999 romantic action comedy “First Daughter”.

He had only a couple of film roles in the 2000s – what marked the decade for him was probably playing Whitmore in the 2009 action crime thriller “Malone”, which starred Ving Rhames and Thomas Jane, and was directed by Russell Mulcahy; it follows the life of private investigator Malone.

Gregory’s also known for playing Mr. Thompson in the 2012 romantic mystery “Undercover Bridesmaid”, which starred Brooke Burns and was directed by Matthew Diamond. It follows a bodyguard as he’s protecting a tycoon’s daughter from being assassinated.

Gregory’s three most recent movie roles have been in the 2021 mystery comedy “Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Vows We Have Made”, the 2021 family comedy “The Nine Kittens of Christmas” and the 2023 comedy “Jimmy and Carolyn”.

Roles in TV series

Gregory’s debut TV series role was playing First Lieutenant in the 1975 episode “The New Original Wonder Woman” of the action fantasy adventure “Wonder Woman”, and he was then cast to appear in an episode or two of several series, including the crime mystery “Barnaby Jones” and the war comedy “M*A*S*H”.

In 1977 and 1978, Gregory starred in the science fiction adventure “Logan’s Run”, which also starred Donald Moffat and Heather Menzies-Urich, and follows a rebellious law enforcement agent living in a futuristic society; the series was nominated for an Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Saturn Award for Best DVD/Blu-Ray TV Release.

Gregory’s following role was voicing Joseph in the 1986 episode “The Nativity” of the short animated action “The Greatest Adventures: Stories from the Bible”, and the same year saw him star in the comedy mini-series “Fresno”.

In 1990 and 1991, he portrayed the lead character Jack Taylor in all the 22 episodes of the comedy “The Family Man”, which also starred Scott Weinger and John Buchanan, and was created by Michael Warren and William Bickley. It follows the life of a widowed fire chief, and the series was nominated for three awards. Some of Gregory’s other notable performances in the ‘90s were playing supporting characters in the drama “Sisters”, another drama “New York News” and the mystery adventure “Dark Skies”.

In 2005 and 2006, he played the supporting character Russell Brewster in the mystery “Reunion”, which follows six friends who’ve met at their 20th high school reunion, while one of them has just been murdered; Gregory could then have been seen appearing in an episode of the comedy “Rodney”, the romantic comedy mini-series “Maneater”, and the comedy “Drop Dead Diva”.

He had only a couple of TV series roles in the 2010s, including in the crime drama “Reckless”, the crime mystery “Rizzoli & Isles” and the comedy “American Housewife”, and since 2020, he’s been playing Professor Gregory Chase in the soap opera “General Hospital”, which has been airing since 1963 and over 8,000 episodes.

Other credits

Some of Gregory’s most recent producing work has been the 1988 western film “Red River”, the 1993 science fiction horror movie “The Tower” and all the 10 episodes of the 2014 comedy series “Two Guys One Truck”.

Some of his recent talk-show appearances have been in “Ken Boxer Live”, “Home & Family” and “The Hollywood Moment”.

Awards and nominations

Gregory’s been nominated for three awards: a 1988 CableACE Award for Theatrical Special, for his performance in “Picnic”, a 1991 Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Villain: Prime Time for “Falcon Crest” and a 2021 Soap Hub Award for Favorite General Hospital Actor.

Love life and marriage

Gregory and his wife Betty Lee ‘Randi’ Oakes married in 1980, prefer to keep their marriage away from media, but some details about it are still known. Randi was an actress, and appeared in 20 movies and TV series prior to her retirement in 1985; she’s probably remembered best for playing Officer Bonnie Clark in 68 episodes of the crime mystery series “CHiPs” from 1977 through 1983.

Randi gave birth to their first daughter Emma Lee Harrison on 10 December 1985, and their second daughter Lily Anne Harrison followed on 6 February 1989; in 1991, she gave birth to their third daughter Kate Harrison, and Randi and Gregory also have an adoptive son Quinn Edgar Harrison. Lily’s today an actress with 11 credits to her name.

There are no other women whom Gregory’s dated that we know about; he’s married to Betty Lee ‘Randi’ Oakes as of May 2023, and they have four children together.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Gregory developed a cocaine addiction in the ‘80s, but has been clean since he completed a rehab program at the Betty Ford Center.

He and his family are today living in Eugene, Oregon to where they moved from Gold Beach, Oregon in 2007.

Gregory’s acting mentor was the late American actor Pernell Roberts.

He’s a philanthropist, and is a founding member of the non-profit environmental organization Surfrider Foundation.

Gregory saw snow for the first time when he was 19.

He worked as a doorman at a nightclub, prior to gaining recognition in the film industry.

Gregory and the late American film producer Franklin R. Levy founded the Catalina Production Group in 1980, and they produced close to 20 movies and various stage plays in the ‘80s.

He was interested in various activities while growing up, including swimming, fishing and surfing.

Height, eyes and wealth

Gregory’s age is 73. He has brown eyes and grey hair, is 5ft 11ins (1.8m) tall and weighs around 170lbs (76kgs).

Gregory’s net worth’s been estimated at over $3 million, as of May 2023.

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