Soon, in 1953, Rolf was employed by 'BBC' to feature in a programme called 'Jigsaw', where he would have to paint cartoons for ten minutes for children viewers.
The next year, he made his appearance on the show 'Whirligig', aired on 'BBC'. Harris created the character, 'Willoughby', who would perform his own animated antics on a drawing canvas, till the moment when he was erased.
Apart from 'BBC', the entertainer also appeared on the British television network, ‘ITV’, becoming the only artist to work for both broadcasting companies, by the year 1955.
In 1956, he worked on illusionist Robert Harbin's show, 'Paper magic', as an illustrator. The same year, he also appeared in the movie television feature film, 'Jim Whittington and His Sealion', as the Demon King.
Three years later, television was launched in Australia, and the TV star decided to go back to his hometown, to build his career there. He introduced a new children's programme and a revue, both of which were telecast on a weekly basis.
In 1959, he recorded his debut song, 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport', under the banner of record company, 'EMI Music'. During the same time, he was also hired by Australian network 'TVW-7', for their programme 'Spotlight'. Rolf also appeared in many movies and TV shows, including 'Full Moon', 'Web of Suspicion', and 'Crash Drive'.
The following year, his track, 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport' became a chart-topper in Australia.
In 1963, Harris collaborated with the music group 'Beatles' on their next project. He was also the anchor at their Christmas concerts held at the 'Finsbury Park Astoria' in London.
In the next few years, he worked as the host on shows like 'Hi There and Hey Presto it's Rolf', 'The Rolf Harris Show', and the 'Eurovision Song Contest'. Also, in 1969, 'Two Little Boys', another song composed and performed by this talented entertainer, reached the number one spot.
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In 1973, Rolf sang at the 'Sydney Opera House', making it his first ever public performance. Towards the end of the decade, he was cast in an Australian movie, 'The Little Convict', made by filmmaker Yoram Gross. During the same time, he also presented the ‘BBC One’ animated TV show, ‘Rolf’s Cartoon Time’.
During 1989-93, Harris hosted the 'ITV' programme, 'Rolf's Cartoon Club', showcasing his talent in art.
From 1994-2004, the TV presenter served as the anchor on the show 'Animal Hospital', which showcased British veterinarians and their life-saving efforts. Around the same time, he also produced a single 'Fine Day', in collaboration with DJ Steve Lima.
During this period, the entertainer showcased artistic works of his personal favourites, on the programme, 'Rolf on Art'. The show included famous paintings by artists like Paul Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Edgar Degas.
In 2004, this talented artist employed 150 painters to duplicate 'The Hay Wain', a painting by John Constable, and this was aired live on the 'BBC' show, 'Rolf on Art: The Big Event'.
The same year, he helped the NGO 'Children in Need', based in Lapland, to produce a Christmas card. He also hosted a show for 'BBC', called 'Star Portraits with Rolf Harris'.
In 2005, this Australian artist revealed his painting of Queen Elizabeth, to mark her 80th birth anniversary. He also collaborated with singer Kate Bush, to provide musical support on her album, 'Aerial', along with lending his voice to songs from the album, 'An Architect's Dream', and 'The Painter's Link'.
Two years later, the celebrated entertainer released 'Rolf Live!' a DVD of his greatest hits. In 2009, he presented a 'Hat Trick Productions' quiz show titled, 'Have I Got News for You'. The following year, he narrated 'Penguin Island', a documentary based on the life of penguins.
In 2010, Harris played at the 40th anniversary of the 'Glastonbury Festival', and also performed at the 'Bestival’ music fair the same year. He followed this with an appearance at the 'Wickham Festival', in UK the next year.
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Rolf featured on 'The Magicians', a show aired in 2011, on 'BBC One', with Lenny Henry as the presenter. He was also a guest for one episode of the show, 'Piers Morgan's Life Stories'.
In 2011, he appeared in the television series, 'The Fruit Cases', in the role of Captain Straw. The following year, he was cast in the British film, 'Run for Your Wife', directed by Ray Cooney and John Luton. He also played at the 'Diamond Jubilee Concert', held near Buckingham Palace, London.
Awards & Achievements
In 1968, the UK government made Harris a 'Member of the Order of the British Empire'. Nine years later, he became an 'Officer of the Order of the British Empire'
The Australian government declared this renowned artiste a 'Member of the Order of Australia' in 1989.
In 2001, he received the 'Centenary Medal', for his outstanding contribution to society and the field of arts.
The government of the United Kingdom gave him the title of 'Commander of the Order of the British Empire', in 2006.
From 2007-10, Harris was awarded honorary doctorates by 'Liverpool Hope University', and 'University of East London'. He also became a member of the 'ARIA Hall of Fame', and a recipient of the 'BAFTA Fellowship', during the same time.
During 2014-15, all these decorations have been revoked, following the artiste's arrest and conviction on charges of sexual assault.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1958, this Australian entertainer got married to Alwen Hughes, and the couple have a daughter, Bindi, named after the Australian town, Bindi Bindi.
Harris was arrested in 2013, as a tactic of the ‘Operation Yewtree’, an investigation run by the UK Police to take sexual offenders to task. Though he was granted bail, he has been arrested on several occasions, the count of allegations against him, growing each time.
On June 30, 2014, Rolf Harris was found guilty of sexual abuse of twelve girls, aged between eight and nineteen. He was sentenced to prison, not just for these accusations, but also for viewing child pornographic images.
On 16 November 2017, his conviction on the one charge that he had indecently assaulted an eight-year-old girl in Portsmouth in 1969 was overturned. But the court dismissed his appeal to challenge the other eleven convictions.