Harry Connick Jr.

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Harry Connick Jr.
Harry Connick, Jr. 2014.jpg
Connick in 2014
Background information
Birth name Joseph Harry Fowler Connick Jr.
Born (1967-09-11) September 11, 1967 (age 51)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Genres Swing, traditional pop, big band, jazz-funk
Occupation(s) Singer, pianist, composer/arranger, actor, television music competition judge
Instruments Vocals, piano, organ
Years active 1977–present
Website No URL found. Please specify a URL here or add one to Wikidata.

Joseph Harry Fowler Connick Jr.[1] (born September 11, 1967)[1] is an American singer, musician, and actor. He has sold over 28 million albums worldwide.[2] Connick is ranked among the top 60 best-selling male artists in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America, with 16 million in certified sales.[3] He has had seven top 20 US albums, and ten number-one US jazz albums, earning more number-one albums than any other artist in US jazz chart history.[4]

Connick's best-selling album in the United States is his 1993 Christmas album When My Heart Finds Christmas. His highest-charting album is his 2004 release Only You, which reached No. 5 in the U.S. and No. 6 in Britain. He has won three Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards. He played Grace's husband, Leo Markus, on the TV sitcom Will & Grace from 2002 to 2006.

Connick began his acting career as a tail gunner in the World War II film Memphis Belle in 1990. He played a serial killer in Copycat in 1995, before being cast as a jet fighter pilot in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day. Connick's first role as a leading man was in 1998's Hope Floats with Sandra Bullock. His first thriller film since Copycat came in 2003 in the film Basic with John Travolta. Additionally, he played the violent ex-husband in Bug, before two romantic comedies, 2007's P.S. I Love You, and the leading man in New in Town with Renée Zellweger in 2009. In 2011, he appeared in the family film Dolphin Tale as Dr. Clay Haskett and in the 2014 sequel, Dolphin Tale 2.

Early life

Harry Connick Jr. was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.[5] His mother, Anita Frances (née Levy; later Livingston;[6] May 22, 1926 – July 1981), was a lawyer and judge in New Orleans and, later, a Louisiana Supreme Court justice. His father, Joseph Harry Fowler Connick Sr., was the district attorney of Orleans Parish from 1973 to 2003.[7][8] His parents also owned a record store. Connick's father is a Catholic of Irish, English, and German ancestry.[9][10] Connick's mother, who died from ovarian cancer, was Jewish (her parents had immigrated from Minsk and Vienna, respectively).[11][12][13] Connick has a sister, Suzanna; the siblings were raised in the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans.[14] Connick is a first cousin of both Jefferson Parish District Attorney, Paul Connick, and State Representative Patrick Connick (of Harvey, Jefferson Parish).[15]

Connick's musical talents soon came to the fore when he started learning the keyboards at age three, playing publicly at age five, and recording with a local jazz band at ten.[14] When Connick was nine years old, he performed the Piano Concerto No. 3 Opus 37 of Beethoven with the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra (now the Louisiana Philharmonic), and later played a duet with Eubie Blake at the Royal Orleans Esplanade Lounge in New Orleans. The song was "I'm Just Wild About Harry". This was recorded for a Japanese documentary called Jazz Around the World.[14][16][17] The clip was also shown in a Bravo special, called Worlds of Harry Connick, Junior. in 1999. His musical talents were developed at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and under the tutelage of Ellis Marsalis Jr., and James Booker.

Connick attended Jesuit High School, Isidore Newman School, Lakeview School, and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, all in New Orleans. Following an unsuccessful attempt to study jazz academically, and having given recitals in the classical and jazz piano programs at Loyola University, Connick moved to the 92nd Street YMHA in New York City to study at Hunter College and the Manhattan School of Music, where a Columbia Records executive Sr. V.P. of A&R, Dr. George Butler, persuaded him to sign with that label. His first record for the label, Harry Connick Jr., was a mainly instrumental album of standards. He soon acquired a reputation in jazz because of extended stays at high-profile New York venues. His next album, 20, featured his vocals and added to this reputation.


When Harry Met Sally..., chart and movie success

With Connick's reputation growing, director Rob Reiner asked him to provide a soundtrack for his 1989 romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally..., starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. The soundtrack consisted of several standards, including "It Had to Be You", "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore", and achieved double-platinum status in the United States. He won his first Grammy Award for Best Jazz Male Vocal Performance for his work on the soundtrack.

Connick made his screen debut in Memphis Belle (1990), about a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber crew in World War II. In that year he began a two-year world tour. In addition he released two albums in July 1990: the instrumental jazz trio album Lofty's Roach Souffle and a big-band album of mostly original songs titled We Are in Love, which also went double platinum. We Are in Love earned him his second consecutive Grammy for Best Jazz Male Vocal.

"Promise Me You'll Remember", his contribution to the Godfather III soundtrack, was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 1991. In a year of recognition, he was also nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Performance in a Variety Special for his PBS special Swingin' Out Live, which was also released as a video. In October 1991 he released his third consecutive multi-platinum album, Blue Light, Red Light, on which he wrote and arranged the songs. Also in October 1991 he starred in Little Man Tate, directed by Jodie Foster, playing the friend of a child prodigy who goes to college.

In November 1992, Connick released 25, a solo piano collection of standards that again went platinum. He also re-released the album Eleven. Connick contributed "A Wink and a Smile" to the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack, released in 1993. His multi-platinum album of holiday songs, When My Heart Finds Christmas, was the best-selling Christmas album in 1993.

Mid–1990s: funk

In 1994, Connick decided to branch out. He released She, an album of New Orleans funk that also went platinum. In addition, he released a song called "(I Could Only) Whisper Your Name" for the soundtrack of The Mask, starring Jim Carrey, which is his most successful single in the United States to date.[citation needed]

Connick took his funk music on a tour of the United Kingdom in 1994, an effort that did not please some of his fans, who were expecting a jazz crooner. Connick also took his funk music to the People's Republic of China in 1995, playing at the Shanghai Center Theatre. The performance was televised live in China for what became known as the Shanghai Gumbo special. In his third film Copycat, Connick played a serial killer. Released in 1995, Copycat also starred Holly Hunter and Sigourney Weaver. The following year, he released his second funk album, Star Turtle, which did not sell as well as previous albums, although it did reach No. 38 on the charts. However, he appeared in the most successful movie of 1996,[18] Independence Day, with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum.

Late 1990s: jazz and Hope Floats

For his 1997 release To See You, Connick recorded original love songs, touring the United States and Europe with a full symphony orchestra backing him and his piano in each city. As part of his tour, he played at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, with his final concert of that tour in Paris being recorded for a Valentine's Day special on PBS in 1998. He also continued his film career, starring in Excess Baggage opposite Alicia Silverstone and Benicio del Toro in 1997.

In May 1998, he had his first leading role in director Forest Whitaker's Hope Floats, with Sandra Bullock as his female lead. He released Come By Me, his first album of big band music in eight years in 1999, and embarked on a world tour visiting the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia. In addition, he provided the voice of Dean McCoppin in the animated film The Iron Giant.

2000–02: Broadway debut, musicals, Will & Grace

Connick wrote the score for Susan Stroman's Broadway musical Thou Shalt Not, based on Émile Zola's novel Thérèse Raquin, in 2000; it premiered in 2001. His music and lyrics earned a Tony Award nomination. He was also the narrator of the film My Dog Skip, released in that year.

In March 2001, Connick starred in a television production of South Pacific with Glenn Close, televised on the ABC network. He also starred in his twelfth movie, Mickey, featuring a screenplay by John Grisham that same year. In October 2001, he again released two albums: Songs I Heard, featuring big band re-workings of children's show themes, and 30, featuring Connick on piano with guest appearances by several other musical artists. Songs I Heard won Connick another Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Album and he toured performing songs from the album, holding matinees at which each parent had to be accompanied by a child.

In 2002, he received a U.S. Patent 6,348,648 for a "system and method for coordinating music display among players in an orchestra."[19] Connick appeared as Grace Adler's boyfriend (and later husband) Leo Markus on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace from 2002 to 2006.

2003–05: Connick on Piano and Only You

In July 2003, Connick released his first instrumental album in fifteen years, Other Hours Connick on Piano Volume 1. It was released on Branford Marsalis' new label Marsalis Music and led to a short tour of nightclubs and small theaters. Connick appeared in the film Basic. In October 2003, he released his second Christmas album, Harry for the Holidays, which went gold and reached No. 12 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. He also had a television special on NBC featuring Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane, Marc Anthony and Kim Burrell. Only You, his seventeenth album for Columbia Records, was released in February 2004. A collection of 1950s and 1960s ballads, Only You, went top ten on both sides of the Atlantic and was certified gold in the United States in March 2004. The Only You tour with big band went on in America, Australia and a short trip to Asia. Harry for the Holidays was certified platinum in November 2004. A music DVD Harry Connick Jr.‍—‌"Only You" in Concert was released in March 2004, after it had first aired as a Great Performances special on PBS. The special won him an Emmy for Outstanding Music Direction. The DVD received a Gold & Platinum Music Video‍—‌Long Form awards from the RIAA in November 2005.

An animated holiday special, The Happy Elf, aired on NBC in December 2005, with Connick as the composer, the narrator, and one of the executive producers. Shortly after, it was released on DVD. The holiday special was based on his original song The Happy Elf, from his 2003 album Harry for the Holidays. Another album from Marsalis Music was recorded in 2005, Occasion : Connick on Piano, Volume 2, a duo album with Harry Connick Jr. on piano together with Branford Marsalis on saxophone. A music DVD, A Duo Occasion, was filmed at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival 2005 in Canada, and released in November 2005.

He appeared in another episode of NBC sitcom Will & Grace in November 2005, and appeared in an additional three episodes in 2006.

2006–08: The Pajama Game, Bug and P.S. I Love You

Harry Connick Junior in concert, Savannah, Georgia, February 27, 2007

Bug, a film directed by William Friedkin, is a psychological thriller filmed in 2005, starring Connick, Ashley Judd, and Michael Shannon. The film was released in 2007. He starred in the Broadway revival of The Pajama Game, produced by the Roundabout Theater Company, along with Michael McKean and Kelli O'Hara, at the American Airlines Theatre in 2006. It ran from February 23 to June 17, 2006, including five benefit performances running from June 13 to 17. The Pajama Game cast recording was nominated for a Grammy, after being released as part of Connick's double disc album Harry on Broadway, Act I.

He hosted The Weather Channel's mini series 100 Biggest Weather Moments which aired in 2007. He was part of the documentary Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037, released in November 2007. He sat in on piano on Bob French's 2007 album Marsalis Music Honors Series: Bob French. He appeared in the film P.S. I Love You, released in December 2007. A third album in the Connick on Piano series, Chanson du Vieux Carré was released in 2007, and Connick received two Grammy nominations for the track "Ash Wednesday", for the Grammy awards in 2008. Chanson du Vieux Carré was released simultaneously with the album Oh, My NOLA. Connick toured North America and Europe in 2007, and toured Asia and Australia in 2008, as part of his My New Orleans Tour. Connick did the arrangements for, wrote a couple of songs, and sang a duet on Kelli O'Hara's album that was released in May 2008.[20] He was also the featured singer at the Concert of Hope immediately preceding Pope Benedict XVI's Mass at Yankee Stadium in April 2008. He had the starring role of Dr. Dennis Slamon in the 2008 Lifetime TV film Living Proof. His third Christmas album, What a Night!, was released in November 2008.

Harry has a vast knowledge of musical genres and vocalist, even Gospel music. One of his favorite Gospel artists is Stella Award winner and Grammy nominated artist, Kim Burrell of Houston, TX. "And when Harry Connick Jr. assembled a symphony orchestra for Pope Benedict XVI's appearance at Yankee Stadium in 2008, he wanted Burrell on vocals"[21]

2009–11: New in Town, Your Songs

Harry Connick Junior and Renée Zellweger at the Rachael Ray show, January 30, 2009

The film New in Town starring Connick and Renée Zellweger, began filming in January 2008, and was released in January 2009. Connick's album Your Songs was released on CD, September 22, 2009. In contrast to Connick's previous albums, this album is a collaboration with a record company producer, the multiple Grammy Award winning music executive Clive Davis.[2]

Connick starred in the Broadway revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, which opened at the St. James Theatre in November 2011 in previews.[22]

American Idol (Season 9)

Connick appeared on May 4, 2010 episode of American Idol season 9, where he acted as a mentor for the top 5 finalists. He appeared again the next night on 5 May to perform "And I Love Her".

2012–present: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Every Man Should Know

On January 6, 2012, NBC president Robert Greenblatt announced at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that Harry Connick Junior had been cast in a four-episode arc of NBC's long-running legal drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as new Executive ADA, David Haden, a dedicated, straight-shooting prosecutor who is assigned a case with Detective Benson (Mariska Hargitay).

Every Man Should Know

On June 11, 2013, Connick released a new album of all original music titled Every Man Should Know. Connick debuted the title track live on May 2, 2013 episode of American Idol and appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show the following week to discuss his new project. A 2013 US summer tour was announced in support of the album.

American Idol (Season 12)

Connick returned to American Idol to mentor the top four of season 12. He performed "Every Man Should Know" on the results show the following night.[23]

American Idol (Season 13)

On September 3, 2013, the officials of American Idol officially announced that Connick would be a part of the judging panel for season 13 alongside former judge Jennifer Lopez and returning judge Keith Urban.[24]

Angels Sing

Angels Sing, a family Christmas movie released by Lionsgate, afforded Connick an onscreen collaboration with fellow music legend Willie Nelson. The two wrote a special song exclusively for the movie. Shot in Austin, TX, Angels Sing features actor/musicians Connie Britton, Lyle Lovett, and Kris Kristofferson and is directed by Tim McCanlies, who previously worked with Connick in The Iron Giant.[25]

New tour announced

  • On April 7, 2015 he announced plans for a U.S. Summer Tour to begin July 9 in San Diego, CA & run through August 7 in Highland Park, IL.[26][27]

Touring Big Band members

The following musicians have toured as the Harry Connick Jr. Big Band since its inception in 1990:[28]

Connick and New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina

Connick at the New Orleans Jazz Fest 2007

Connick, a New Orleans native, is a founder of the Krewe of Orpheus, a music-based New Orleans krewe, taking its name from Orpheus of classical mythology. The Krewe of Orpheus parades on St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street in New Orleans on Lundi Gras (Fat Monday)‍—‌the day before Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).

On September 2, 2005, Harry Connick Jr. helped to organize, and appeared in, the NBC-sponsored live telethon concert, A Concert for Hurricane Relief, for relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He spent several days touring the city to draw attention to the plight of citizens stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and other places. At the concert he paired with host Matt Lauer, and entertainers including Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Kanye West, Mike Myers, and John Goodman.

On September 6, 2005, Connick was made honorary chair of Habitat for Humanity's Operation Home Delivery, a long-term rebuilding plan for families victimized by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast. His actions in New Orleans earned him a Jefferson Award for Public Service.

Connick's album Oh, My NOLA, and Chanson du Vieux Carré were released in 2007, with a following tour called the My New Orleans Tour.

Musicians' Village

Musicians' Village in New Orleans, August 20, 2007

Connick and Branford Marsalis devised an initiative to help restore New Orleans' musical heritage. Habitat for Humanity and New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, working with Connick and Marsalis announced December 6, 2005, plans for a Musicians' Village in New Orleans. The Musicians' Village includes Habitat-constructed homes, with an Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, as the area's centerpiece. The Habitat-built homes provide musicians, and anyone else who qualifies, the opportunity to buy decent, affordable housing.

In 2012, Connick and Marsalis received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[29]

Personal life

On April 16, 1994, Connick married former Victoria's Secret model Jill Goodacre, originally from Texas, at the St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans. Jill is the daughter of sculptor Glenna Goodacre, originally from Lubbock, and now Santa Fe, New Mexico. The song "Jill", on the album Blue Light, Red Light (1991) is about her. They have three daughters: Georgia Tatum (born April 17, 1996), Sarah Kate (September 12, 1997), and Charlotte (born June 26, 2002). The family currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana, and New York City. Connick is a practicing Roman Catholic.[30][31][32][33]

Connick is a supporter of hometown NFL franchise New Orleans Saints. He was caught on camera at the Super Bowl XLIV, which the Saints won, in Miami by the TV crew of The Ellen DeGeneres Show during the post-game celebrations. Ellen's mother Betty was on the sidelines watching the festivities when she spotted Connick in the stands sporting a Drew Brees jersey.[34][35]


In December 1992, he was charged with bringing a gun to the security checkpoint in an airport.[36] Connick was arrested by the Port Authority Police in 1992 and charged with having a 9 mm pistol in his possession at JFK International Airport. After spending a day in jail, he agreed to make a public-service television commercial warning against breaking gun laws. The court agreed to drop all charges if Connick stayed out of trouble for six months.[37][38]



Year Title Role Notes
1990 Memphis Belle Sgt. Clay Busby
1991 Little Man Tate Eddie
1995 Copycat Daryll Lee Cullum
1996 Independence Day Captain Jimmy Wilder
1997 Excess Baggage Greg Kistler
1998 Hope Floats Justin Matisse
1999 The Iron Giant Dean McCoppin Voice only
Wayward Son Jesse Banks Rhodes
2000 My Dog Skip Narrator
2001 South Pacific Lt. Joseph Cable
The Simian Line Rick
Life Without Dick Daniel Gallagher
2003 Basic Pete Vilmer
2004 Mickey Glen Ryan (Tripp Spence)
2005 The Happy Elf Lil' Farley (narrator)
2007 Bug Jerry Goss
P.S. I Love You Daniel Connelly
2008 Living Proof Dr. Dennis Slamon
2009 New in Town Ted Mitchell
2011 Dolphin Tale Clay Haskett
2013 Angels Sing Michael Walker
2014 Dolphin Tale 2 Clay Haskett
Year Title Role Notes
1992 Super Bowl XXVI Himself Performed "The Star Spangled Banner"
Cheers Russell Boyd Episode: "Diminished Rebecca with a Suspended Clif"
1994 Ghostwriter Himself Episode: "What's Up with Alex?: Part 1"
1997 Action League Now! Big Baby (voice) Episode: "Rock-A-Big-Baby"
2001 Evening at Pops Himself
2002–2006 Will & Grace Leo Markus 23 episodes
2008 This Old House Himself Episode: "New Orleans Project: Part 1"
2009 Hey Hey It's Saturday: The Reunion Himself – guest judge
Australian Idol Himself – guest judge
2010 American Idol Himself – guest judge
2012 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Executive A.D.A. David Haden Episodes: "Official Story", "Father's Shadow", "Hunting Ground", and "Justice Denied"
2013 American Idol Himself – guest judge
2014–2016 American Idol Himself – judge Season 13 with Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban
American Idol Himself – judge Season 14 with Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban
American Idol Himself – judge Season 15 with Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban
Non-fictional appearances
Year Title Role Notes
1990 Carly in Concert: My Romance Guest artist
1993 The Harry Connick Jr. Christmas Special Himself CBS special
1998 Harry Connick Jr.: Romance in Paris Himself PBS special
1999 The Worlds of Harry Connick Jr. Himself
2003 Harry for the Holidays Himself NBC special
2004 Only You: In Concert Himself PBS special
2007 100 Biggest Weather Moments Host
Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037 Himself
2010 Daytona 500 Himself Performed "The Star-Spangled Banner"
2013 World Series Himself Performed "The Star-Spangled Banner"
2015 Repeat After Me Himself 1 episode



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Further reading

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Bill Conti
for 75th Annual Academy Awards
Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction
for Only You: In Concert
Succeeded by
Michael Kosarin
for A Christmas Carol
Preceded by
Harry Connick Jr.
for When Harry Met Sally...
Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male
for We Are In Love
Succeeded by
Take 6
for He Is Christmas
Preceded by
Bobby McFerrin
for Brothers
Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male
for When Harry Met Sally...
Succeeded by
Harry Connick Jr.
for We Are In Love