- Joined the Liverpool Repertory Theatre at age 16 and toured in road companies for nine years until making his West End stage debut in Getting George Married in 1930, the same year as his first big-screen appearance in The Great Game.
- Served as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force during World War II.
- Hollywood success came with back-to-back features Anna and the King of Siam (1946) and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947).
- Had an affair with struggling actress Carole Landis while still married to Lilli Palmer; he found Landis's body after she took an overdose of pills in 1948.
- Loathed the nickname "Sexy Rexy" given to him by gossip columnist Walter Winchell.
- Reached the height of his stage career with his 1956 Tony Award-winning role of Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady; he also won an Oscar for the film version in 1964.
- Was fired during preproduction of the musical flop Doctor Dolittle due to his poor behavior, but was ultimately rehired after he promised to change his conduct.
- Was made a Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 81.
- 1968, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
- 1966, BAFTA Film Awards — Best British Actor: Nominee
- 1984, Tony — Actor (Play): Nominee
- 1964, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Winner
- 1966, Golden Globe — Henrietta Award (World Film Favorites): Winner
- 1949, Tony — Actor (Dramatic): Winner
- 1965, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Winner
- 1969, Tony — Special Award: Winner
- 1957, Tony — Actor (Musical): Winner
- 1963, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
- 1966, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
- 1964, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
- Edith Carey Harrison — Mother
- Elizabeth Rees-Williams — Ex-wife
- Collette Thomas — Ex-wife
- Rachel Roberts — Ex-wife
- Carey Harrison — Son
- Lilli Palmer — Ex-wife
- Noel Harrison — Son
- Carole Landis — Ex-significant Other
- William Reginald Harrison — Father
- Mercia Tinker — Wife
- Sylvia Sackville — Sister
- Kay Kendall — Wife (deceased)
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