Harry Connick Jr

New Orleans' child jazz prodigy moved on to Big Band crooning and acting stardom.

Harry grew up in New Orleans, the son of two lawyers who owned a record store and encouraged his interest in music from an early age.

Beginning on keyboards at the age of three, he first performed publicly at six and recorded with a local jazz band at 10. He went on to attend the New Orleans Centre for the Creative Arts and studied with Ellis Marsalis and James Booker.

Harry moved to New York aged 18, to study at Hunter College and later at the Manhattan School of Music, where a meeting with an executive from Columbia Records secured his 1987 self-titled album debut. This set of mostly unaccompanied standards was widely praised by jazz critics and reinforced by an extended live appearance at the famous New York hotel, the Algonquin's Oak Room. His second album in 1988 was the first to feature him on vocals.

His fame became more widespread with the multi-platinum selling soundtrack to the hit film ‘When Harry Met Sally’, on which he recorded ‘It Had to Be You’, ‘Let's Call the Whole Thing Off’ and ‘Don't Get Around Much Anymore’ with a big-band backing. A world tour followed and Harry capitalised on his celebrity by branching out into acting, playing a tail gunner in the war epic ‘Memphis Belle’.

Harry also released two albums simultaneously in 1988 – ‘We Are in Love’ was similar to the style of the ‘When Harry Met Sally’ album, while ‘Lofty's Roach Soufflé’ was instrumental, securing his status with both mainstream and jazz audiences alike.

The early 90s saw his popularity wane slightly, although he continued to tour and release albums, as well as furthering his acting career. He married actress and model Jill Goodacre in July 1994, with whom he now has three daughters.

In 1995, he had a starring role as a serial killer in ‘Copycat’ opposite Holly Hunter, and he had a small role in the 1996 blockbuster ‘Independence Day’.

Several less well known film projects followed, until his role as Grace Adler’s husband Leo, in the smash TV hit ‘Will and Grace’, saw a welcome return to prominence for this talented actor and musician, with a staggering 30 albums to his credit.