Rolf Harris, a beloved performer on British television whose career was cut short by convictions for molesting underage girls, has passed away at the age of 93.
According to a report from October 2022, Harris had neck cancer and was hardly able to talk. A registrar at Maidenhead Town Hall, close to his family’s home in the Berkshire village of Bray, verified his death.
Harris’s family lawyer said: “This is to confirm that Rolf Harris recently died peacefully surrounded by family and friends and has now been laid to rest. They ask that you respect their privacy. No further comment will be made.”
In recent weeks, rumors about Harris’s health have grown, and it is yet unknown when he passed away. Bindi Harris, his daughter, and Alwen Hughes, his wife who has long battled Alzheimer’s, survive him.
When Harris was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison in 2014 for 12 indecent attacks on four young women and girls between 1968 and 1986 (one conviction was later overturned), Harris’s reputation was irreparably ruined. “Your reputation now lies in ruins, you have been stripped of your honors, but you have no one to blame but yourself,” Mr. Justice Sweeney remarked in sentencing Harris.
In 2017, Harris received a parole discharge. Three other counts against him were dropped earlier that year, and the jury was deadlocked on four more. The jury was again unable to agree on a verdict in a later trial, which resulted in the dismissal of all four charges.
Harris arrived from his native Australia in 1952 and had a successful career in Britain up to his arrest in 2013. The following year, he made his debut on the BBC, and starting in the late 1960s, he gained fame with his own programmes for kids and adults. In 1968, he was named MBE, in 1977, OBE, and in 2006, CBE. Exactly one year prior to his arrest, in 2012, he was named an Officer of the Order of Australia.
He also had great success with novelty tunes like “Tie Me Kangaroo Down,” “Sport,” “Two Little Boys,” and an unlikely cover of “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin. In 2010, he made an appearance at Glastonbury.
He rose to fame in Britain as a result of his work on television, and in 2005 he received a contract to paint the Queen’s official portrait.