It’s no secret that Rolf Harris’s life has been an incredibly enriched one. A talented artist, presenter and performer, Rolf Harris has graced our TV screens for decades, continuing to be a much loved and admired personality.
He was born in Perth, Australia and first moved to the UK in 1952. His upbringing in Australia is one he remembers with fondness – his talent for art began very early in his life, as he recalls how other children in his class drew things very simply, while Rolf was already adding features of faces into his own drawings, and properly filled out figures rather than stick figures.
Rolf Harris had a very encouraging primary school teacher, who told him he’d one day be a fine artist, and was also lucky enough to have a superb art teacher at high school. By the time Rolf was 16, he had enough experience and could showcase enough talent to have his own exhibition in Perth, in which all the paintings were sold. Rolf was also a superb swimmer, and became a Backstroke Champion at the age of 16.
When Rolf Harris came to live in London at the age of 22, his intention was to study art at an art school, but actually found it to be a disappointing experience. He happened to meet an Australian artist he had always admired called Hayward Veal, who took him under his wing and became Rolf’s mentor; Rolf says that he learned more from him in two weeks than the art school had taught him in 2 years.
At this point in his life, children’s television on the BBC started to take over his life. Rolf did many TV shows for children, starting with a regular 10 minute cartoon drawing show. Rolf married his Welsh wife in 1958 and they have one daughter called Bindi, who is also now a painter.
Rolf Harris was fairly distracted from what used to be his main interest, art, for several years. He made hundreds of television programmes over the years, and also got involved in music, even getting to number two in the US charts for his song ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport’. As an animal lover, Rolf presented the BBC programme ‘Animal Hospital’ for 10 years. In fact, it was not until he made several programmes for the BBC called ‘Rolf on Art’, that his passion for art became properly renewed once more.
Rolf remains one of the world’s best loved and well known personalities. Part of the reason he has stayed such a prominent figure is because he is clearly a very kind a genuine person. He has enormous talent, he cares deeply for other people and animals, and is an eccentric and lovable personality.