The popular actor who plays the doomed Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the film "Gladiator" is Richard Harris. The actions of Marcus Aurelius (Harris) require him as the old and wise emperor of Rome to appoint Maximus Decimus Meridius, aka Maximus (Russell Crowe), whom he loves as a son, to be his successor, with the ultimate aim of returning Rome to a republican form of government. Aurelius is callously murdered by his son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) before his wish can be fulfilled.

Set mostly in Rome, the story is of a once-powerful general (Maximus). He will become a common gladiator. The emperor's son (Commodus) is enraged when he is passed over as heir in favor of his father's favorite general. He kills his father and arranges the murder of the general's family. The general is sold into slavery and will be trained as a gladiator. His subsequent popularity in the arena threatens the throne held by Commodus. Rome as an empire is not being ruled with any relative peace and stability. It was different under Marcus Aurelius.

Richard St John Harris, aka Richard Harris (1930 - 2002), was born in Limerick, Ireland. He was one of nine kids in the family. He went to college and attended Crescent College, a Jesuit school. He became an excellent rugby player and also had a keen passion for literature. He got hooked on acting and learned his craft at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). His active career ran 1956 –2002. He made at least 70 films and died at age 72.

More Info: