Not a Saudi prince, but it was the Irish actor who played Dumbledore that forgot he had left his Rolls-Royce Phantom in a New York parking garage for 25 years, racking up a shocking $90,000+ in parking charges!


The late Richard Harris, one of Britain’s leading actors in the ‘60s, known in pop-culture for his portrayal of Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter film adaptations, has had a reputation for flamboyance, excess drink, and the occasional brawl. Harris, perhaps more famously, is also known as the man who was so rich he forgot he owned a Rolls-Royce. More accurately, the man who got so drunk, he forgot he had parked a Rolls-Royce in a New York parking garage and then forgot about it for 25 years.

The World War II flick was one of the most popular British movies of 1966.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom 5 in question was given to the Irish actor as a gift for promotional appearances for the 1966 movie, ‘The Heroes of Telemark’. As the story goes, the actor parked the car in New York parking garage and then went on a bender that was so extreme, he flew back to England having forgotten all about the car. There are a few different versions of what happened next, but we leave it up to you to decide what’s more plausible.

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Image – Yahoo

One version says that Harris only vaguely remembered the car when he came across a picture of himself with it in 1999. With no memory of having bought the car, he reportedly asked his two ex-wives about it, but to no avail. Harris’ accountant was able to shed more light on the matter, revealing that the Rolls-Royce had been parked in a garage in New York for 25 years, racking up a bill of over $90,000. Harris, by this account, then had the car transported back to England, had it restored and then had it auctioned before his death in 2002.

Imaged used for representation only.

The second version claims that the car only came to light after Harris passed on, with his widow having received a shocking parking bill, somewhere in the ballpark of $350,000+. The accounts seem to differ on the parking charges: some claim $400/week, some $400/month, so the final figure is up for debate. Harris’ widow, his first wife and Elizabeth Rees-Williams then had it auctioned for about $180,000 to help clear the parking bills and settle his sizable estate.

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Richard Harris with his second wife Ann.

Whatever version you believe, the actor’s drunken tales are legendary so at least there’s no doubts about that part. Harris is said to have once left his home in London to buy a newspaper, returning two weeks later after a drinking binge in Dublin. All we can say is we’re glad Harris chose to park the Rolls-Royce before getting a drink, even if he did end up forgetting about it for the better part of two decades.

Image – Post Classic
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From crafting advertising copy to road testing the latest cars for leading automobile publications, Simran's passions haven taken him all over the world, over the last decade-and-a-half. He's now besotted with the irresistible charm of older cars, and can often be found polishing them to shiny perfection.