Originally from Bergenfield New Jersey, Harry Basil was into movies at a young age. Turning his back yard into a film studio shooting dozens of super 8 action and horror films. By the age of 17 Harry had won the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Film Award; presented to him by legendary director Otto Preminger.
Harry Basil: Comedian
Harry moved out to Hollywood and created a stand-up comedy act at the world famous Comedy Store. He quickly made a name for himself in the comedy circuit; headlining in Las Vegas and other major venues around the country. He was in big demand as an opening act; for such stars as Gloria Estafan, Liza Minelli, The Beach Boys, the Pointer Sisters, Chuck Berry and Rodney Dangerfield.
Harry received a lot of “Respect” from the man who “gets none”; when Rodney featured Harry in two of his HBO specials. Harry’s love for the movies really paid off when he co-wrote and co-produced three of Rodney Dangerfield’s movies; “Ladybugs” for Paramount Pictures, “Meet Wally Sparks” for Trimark, and “My Five Wives” co-starring Andrew Dice Clay and SNL’s Molly Shannon, for Artisan. In all three films Harry worked closely with legendary Director Sidney Furie through every aspect of the film making process.
In 2001 he made his feature directing debut with, “The 4th Tenor”; a romantic opera comedy, starring Rodney Dangerfield and Robert Davi released by Warner Bros. He followed that in 2002 with, “Back by Midnight”, a prison comedy starring Randy Quaid, Kirstie Alley, Harland Williams, Dangerfield; and a whole cast of colourful comedians.
Harry Basil & Warner Bros.
In 2004 Warner Brothers and Franchise Pictures hired Harry; to write and direct the family comedy “Funky Monkey” (aka “Hairy Tale”) The film stars Matthew Modine, Jeffery Tambor, Roma Downey, Tommy Davidson, and a Chimpanzee skilled in karate. Harry directed “CLOUD 9” a sexy beach volley ball comedy written and produced by Al Ruddy; Oscar winning producer of the Godfather and Million Dollar Baby. The film stars, Burt Reynolds, D.L. Hugley and Gabrielle Reese.
Harry is also an Executive producer and co-writer of “Funny Money”; a wild farce starring Chevy Chase, Penelope Ann Miller, Armand Assante, Chris Mc Donald and Robert Loggia. The film made its world premiere at the 2006 “Aspen Comedy Arts Festival”. Harry made the jump to the horror genre directing, “Soul’s Midnight”, a gothic vampire tale starring Armand Assante; produced by Oscar winning producer Gray Frederickson, (“Godfather 2”, “Apocalypse” Now).
Award Winning Comedy
He followed that with the award winning teen supernatural thriller, “Fingerprints”. The film stars a hot young cast, Leah Pipes, (Sororitey Row) Kristen Cavalari (Laguna Beach) Josh Henderson (Desperate Housewives, Dallas) Andrew Lawrence, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Sally Kirkland. Harry is currently an executive producer and show runner on “The Jadagrace Show” and recently wrapped producing “Sleeping Around”; a sexy comedy starring Jessie Bradford (Bring it on, Swim Fan) Michael McKean (Best In Show, A Mighty Wind) Tammin Sursock (Pretty Little Liars) Bryan Callen (The Hangover) Wendi McLendon Covey (Bridesmaids)
Harry Basil Comedy Actor
Acting is also another of Harry’s achievements. Since moving to Hollywood Harry has appeared in several films and television shows. He landed a feature role in Francis Ford Coppola’s romantic comedy “Peggy Sue Got Married”; starring Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage. Harry was cast as a member of Nicolas Cage’s singing group alongside fellow comedian Jim Carrey. He also appeared opposite Demi More in the sci-fi cult film, “The Seventh Sign”; and wrote himself small parts in “Ladybugs” and “Meet Wally Sparks”.
In 1988, after only several years in the business, then NBC chief Brandon Tartikoff signed Harry to a network development deal. Out of that came several TV pilots, one a spin off from the hit series “Family Ties”.
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Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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