About

I was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas to Bob and Marcia Harriell who were also born and raised in Arkansas as were my grand parents and great grand parents until you get back to the great greats who came through Tennessee from Virginia until you get back to clan Stewart (at least on my mom’s side) somewhere in Scotland.

As luck would have it, both my Mom and Dad are pretty open, adventurous, well-rounded people and they exposed me to as much art, theatre and football (Go Hogs!) as possible. The first time I remember thinking that acting might be for me was when I was five years old. My neighbor was performing in some big musical theatre thing at the university, and after the performance I was invited backstage to meet all the performers. I walked into the dressing room (this was the 70’s mind you) and found myself up to my eyeballs in naked women, and when they saw me they just smiled. I thought to myself: I could do this job.

My first big break came in the second grade when I was cast as Santa Claus in “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’. It was a hit for all two performances and immediately made me the front-runner for the lead role the following year…Frosty the Snowman. My Frosty garnered very high marks until closing night, when I fell off the stage into a pit of kindergardeners–prompting my father to say, “Well, I guess Frosty melted”. Needless to say the laughter still haunts me.

I spent the next seven years perfecting my role as cool, tough pre-teen and teenager, playing sports, riding motorcycles and chasing girls (we start young in Arkansas). I had a lot of fun and some success playing football and baseball, but I could never quite shake the thrill of the theatre. So, when I got to the tenth grade I decided my hiatus was over and went to try out for the school production of “Grease”. But as I approached the theatre, I started to hear the sound of the crowd laughing at Frosty again, and I chickened out. After I saw the production and how great everyone was, I became totally disgusted with myself and swore never to chicken out of anything again.

So the following year, much to my coaches’ dismay, I tried out for not one, but two of the school plays and was cast as Vinny the lovable nerd in “The Odd Couple” and as Baby John in “West Side Story”. I was totally bitten by the bug. In between shows I still acted like I was cool and tough with my football, drinking and high-speed car chases…I even got into a few fights (won one and lost one…started neither), but there was something about this acting thing.

During my senior year I had several more roles, most notably Krapp in Samuel Beckett’s tour de force “Krapp’s Last Tape” — a one person show about an old man who wasted his life in pursuit of a grandiose “vision” he thought would change the world…17 going on 70…typecasting, baby. For my work I won an acting scholarship to the University of Arkansas (I think it was like $50) and decided to go for it.

But life happens, and right before I was to start my first semester my heart was broken and I didn’t know what to do. So I cried, got into a few more fights, drank a lot of beer and when my oldest friend moved to Colorado and asked me to come out I thought, “Yeah, I need to find myself…maybe I’m in Colorado”.

Well I wasn’t. And I wasn’t in Hawaii or Arizona or St. Louis or France or any of the places I searched, for that matter. So I gave up my tie-dye shirt and backpack and decided to go back to the theatre. I attended conservatory in the mid-west and got my first professional paying gig during the winter break of my first year. I was cast as the Hustler in “Six Degrees of Separation”, where I trotted around the stage buck naked (but for a lone pair of grey socks) in front of about 40,000 people. They even sold special seats far house left for the bird’s eye view. Not quite what I had in mind when I was five and enjoying all the naked women, but ah yes, a life in the theatre.

During my junior year when I was in rehearsal for “The HOT L Baltimore”, I walked into the green room to put my juice shake concoction of the day into the fridge when I felt the room go silent. I slowly turned around to see the entire cast of ‘Once On This Island” staring at me. My eyes immediately focused on this curly haired big-eyed thing, in the midst of the rest of the cast, and stared at her for what must have been five hours. Luckily, she stared back. I dropped out of college (for the 2nd time), moved to NY, married the love of my life and lived happily in Hell’s Kitchen for a number of years.

Then one day we decided that, just to shake things up a bit, we should pack our lives in a truck and drive 3000 miles West…with three cats. We have been in Hollywood for a couple of years living life, drinking good wine and pursuing our dreams. It has a been a quite an adventure to say the least.