Woody Harrelson

On this date in 1961, Woodrick Tracy “Woody” Harrelson was born in Midland, Texas. Harrelson grew up in Lebanon, Ohio, and graduated from Hanover College with a degree in theater arts and English in 1983. Harrelson’s television acting career began in 1985, when he was cast as bartender Woody Boyd on “Cheers.” After “Cheers” ended in 1991, Harrelson focused on his film career, notably appearing in “Indecent Proposal” (1993), “Natural Born Killers” (1994), and “The People vs. Larry Flint” (1996), for which Harrelson was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Actor. More recently, Harrelson appeared in the award-winning “No Country for Old Men” (2007), for which he and the rest of the cast won a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Best Cast. In 2009, Harrelson played an army captain in “The Messenger.”

Harrelson is a vegan, and is very active in the green movement, working for organic living, veganism, and social change. Harrelson is also not shy in expressing his opinions about cannabis legalization, for hemp and marijuana, or his lack of religion. In an October 2009 interview with Playboy magazine, he said, “I like the mellow vibe of herb, its uninhibiting effect. For me, it’s a better drug than any of the others, and since we’re all drug addicts, I don’t think it’s a bad choice . . . Whether your drug is sugar, coffee, sex, exercise or religion—everybody has something.” Though many people consider him to be a pro-cannabis activist, he characterizes himself as a supporter of many causes who doesn’t have time to advocate for them all. In the same interview, Harrelson discussed his personal loss of faith. In 2008, Harrelson married his longtime partner Laura Louie. The couple have three daughters: Deni, born in 1993; Zoe, born in 1996; and Makani, born in 2006. When he is not working in Los Angeles, Harrelson lives with his family in Maui.

“I was getting into theology and studying the roots of the Bible, but then I started to discover the man-made nature of it. I started seeing things that made me ask, ‘Is God really speaking through this instrument? . . . My eyes opened to the reality of the Bible being just a document to control people. At the time I was a real mama’s boy and deeply mesmerized by the church.” 

—Woody Harrelson, interviewed by Playboy Magazine, October 2009

Compiled by Eleanor Wroblewski; Photo by s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

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