“Legen – wait for it – dary!” No phrase summarizes the career of Neil Patrick Harris better than one of the catchphrases of his television persona Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM). Harris, or as fans call him, NPH, first shot to stardom in the 1989-1993 television series Doogie Howser, M.D., starring as the title character, a genius teenage doctor. After Doogie Howser ended, he continued acting in television and films, but also focused on theater work, appearing on Broadway as Lee Harvey Oswald/The Balladeer in Assassins, as well as in Proof and Cabaret. Harris returned to prominence in 2004 in his cameo role as a lecherous, drug-addled version of himself in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. The following year, he began appearing in HIMYM as Barney, the suit-wearing womanizer of the group of friends. For many people, Harris’ performance as Barney is their main reason for watching the show.
In November 2006, Harris announced he was gay. The announcement did not hurt his career, the show’s popularity or his fan base. Instead, he proved that he could be an openly gay man and still play a straight man. Women love him and men want to be him.
Harris can be seen in HIMYM on Monday nights at 8 PM on CBS. He is also appearing in the recently released film Beastly and is filming A Very Merry Harold & Kumar Christmas. Harris, who was named to Time magazine’s 100 Influential People list, hosted the 65th Annual Tony Awards on June 12. 2011. His second time hosting the event was a roaring success.