Woody Harrelson celebrates his 59th birthday on July 23, 2020. The three-time Oscar nominated actor has earned acclaim for both his comedic and dramatic work over the span of a 30-year career.
Harrelson started on the Broadway stage as an understudy in the hit Neil Simon play “Biloxi Blues.” Just months after that play opened Harrelson would become a household name when he started playing the role of Woody Boyd in the fourth season of the highly successful sitcom “Cheers.” Harrelson faced a daunting assignment when he joined the show since he was replacing the popular Nicholas Colasanto who played Coach on the first three seasons but sadly passed away during the show’s run. Harrelson clicked with the cast and audience and went on to receive five Emmy nominations for “Cheers” and won the 1989 Best Comedy Supporting Actor award for his role as the naïve bartender Woody Boyd.
That success on “Cheers” launched Harrelson into a lengthy film career even before the show ended its 11-year run. That included his Academy Awards nominations for “The People vs. Larry Flynt” (Best Actor in 1996) and “The Messenger” (Best Supporting Actor in 2009) and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Best Supporting Actor in 2017).
His movie choices have included popular hits such as “White Men Can’t Jump,” “Indecent Proposal,” “Kingpin,” “Zombieland,” and “The Hunger Games” franchise plus critical smashes like “The Thin Red Line,” “North Country,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “Seven Psychopaths.”
He also returned to television in recent years earning two more Emmy nominations for his role in the TV movie Game Change (which chronicled the 2008 presidential race and the choice of Sarah Palin to run as Vice President) and one for his role in the mini-series “True Detective,” which became a national obsession in 2014 for HBO. He also received an additional Emmy nomination for a guest appearance he made on “Frasier” where he recreated his role from “Cheers.”
In celebration of Harrelson’s birthday, tour our photo gallery featuring his top 15 greatest film performances ranked from worst to best.
– Original text and gallery published in January 2018.