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On the 1990s show 'Doogie Howser, M.D.,' Neil Patrick Harris played Dr. Doogie Howser, a boy genius. His character had a girlfriend, went to parties and hung out with his best friend, all on top of finishing Princeton at age 10. At 14, he became the youngest registered doctor in the country.
Harris currently stars in the CBS sitcom 'How I Met Your Mother,' which will end its nine season run in May 2014. The actor lives in Los Angeles with his life partner David Burtka. The two have been together since about 2004 and welcomed a twin son and daughter via a surrogate in October 2010.
Harris was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and began his acting career when he was 3, playing Toto the dog in a school production of 'The Wizard of Oz.' He made his on-screen debut in 1988, appearing in the movies 'Purple People Eater' and 'Clara's Heart,' which starred Whoopi Goldberg and earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
His breakout role came in 1989, when he began playing the title role in the drama series 'Doogie Howser.' The show ran for four seasons and ended in 1993. It was co-created by Steven Bochco and David E. Kelley of 'Ally McBeal' fame.
Harris' character, a teenage prodigy working as a medical doctor, typically ended every episode by typing and narrating a retrospective diary entry on his computer - a gimmick also seen on the 1990s HBO series 'Sex and the City,' which starred Sarah Jessica Parker as New York newspaper sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw. It was also spoofed on the FOX animated show 'The Simpsons.'
Harris went on to voice the character of Max in the FOX animated series 'Capitol Critters,' which was co-created by Bochco. Harris also voiced Peter Parker in an MTV animated 'Spider-Man' series that aired for one season in 2003.
Throughout the 1990s, Harris starred in several television movies and shows, including in an episode of the sitcom 'Will and Grace.' He appeared opposite 'Monk' star Tony Shaloub on the short-lived sitcom 'Stark Raving Mad,' which debuted in 1999 and aired one season.
Harris later played himself in the 2004 comedy film 'Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.' He also starred in its 2008 sequel, 'Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay,' and will appear in a third film, 'A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas,' which is set for release on November 4.
Harris, known for his sense of humor, also worked with 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' star Mike Nelson on a snarky audio commentary of the 1971 musical film 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' for his online series RiffTrax.
But it is perhaps in 'How I Met Your Mother' that he showcases his comedic skills best. Harris plays party-loving Barney Stinson, known for the catchphrase, 'Legendary.' Harris has starred in the show, which depicts a group of zany friends, since it debuted in 2005. It begins its seventh season on Sept. 19, 2011. The series has earned the actor four Emmy nominations.
Harris has won two Emmys in the past. In 2010, he received one for a guest performance on the FOX musical comedy series 'Glee' and shared another Emmy with the producers of the 2009 Tony Awards, which he hosted and which won the award for Outstanding Special Class Programs. Harris also hosted the 2011 Tony Awards as well as the 2009 Emmys.
Harris made his Broadway debut in 2000 in the play 'Proof.' Before that, he starred in a Los Angeles production and tour of the musical 'Rent.' He directed a Hollywood Bowl production of 'Rent' in 2010.
Harris has also appeared in the Broadway revivals of the musicals 'Cabaret' and Stephen Sondheim's 'Assassins,' which saw him playing the dual role of the Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald. In April 2011, he starred alongside Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer and Christina Hendricks in the New York Philharmonic's production of the Sondheim musical 'Company.'
Harris continues to make movies and appears in films such as the upcoming 'Muppets' movie, set for release on Nov. 23, 2011, and 'Beastly,' a 2011 adaptation of 'Beauty and the Beast.' It features Vanessa Hudgens, who starred in the Hollywood production of 'Rent' that Harris had helmed.
Harris lives in Los Angeles with his partner, actor David Burtka, and their twins, son Gideon Scott and daughter Harper Grace, who were born to a surrogate mother in October 2010.
( Photo / 20th Century Fox Television/Fox Television / Eric McCandeless)