He was a local character that fascinated TV audiences around the world. Two years after his death we're learning from a new book how Phil Harris became the crusty Captain of the Cornelia Marie on Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch.
Captain Phil Harris and his sons, Josh and Jake Harris, starred in the crab-fishing reality series "Deadliest Catch," until his untimely death in 2010. The Bothell native suffered a massive stroke and later died at an Anchorage hospital.
Now, the show goes on without Captain Harris. Josh isn't part of the current season, but he still has hopes of fulfilling his father's life dream by buying out to the co-owner of his boat.
"We need to continue to make my old man proud," Josh told KIRO Radio's Ron & Don in 2010. "I'm going to make sure to maintain the boat and keep it fishing - because that's what he worked his whole life for."
But Josh says it will take a million dollars or more to make that happen. It may be why he and his brother have written a book about their father. It's simply called "Captain Phil Harris" and it came out last week.
In the book, the Harris brothers write how their dad would sometimes get checks as big as $80,000 and then go out and blow it in just a few nights: renting penthouse suites, loading up on cocaine, and going through women one after another. According to The Daily Mail there was even one instance when Phil was so drunk and high that he rode his Harley Davidson right into the front room of their family home.
According to the book, Phil wrecked cars, and a couple of marriages, but Josh says deep down, his dad had a heart of gold, and his death was tough to take.
"It was a real hard hit on everybody. My father touched a lot of people. He was an awesome, awesome guy. He'd give his shirt off the back to any stranger."
The ninth season of the Deadliest Catch airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel. The book "Captain Phil Harris" is at Amazon and other bookstores.
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