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Old 04-29-2013, 05:07 PM   #1
Shiny Beige
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Default they wrote a book!

I guess Josh and Jake wrote a book about their father ...

Deadliest Catch star Captain Phil Harris insisted the cameras rolled as he lay dying, his sons reveal in a new book.

For seven years the crab fisherman’s public life of peril and brutality on the Bering Sea consistently drew audiences of 3million.

Now, in an excoriating expose of their father Josh, 38, and Jake Harris, 27, show the private reality of a man who could be ‘as explosive as the seas he sailed on.’

A faithless husband and feckless father, riddled with addictions, Harris is shown to be a man unable to conquer his own demons and exploited at the very end.
The crew continued to film as Harris underwent emergency brain surgery during which his skull was removed leaving part of his head concave: they were present as he went into cardiac arrest and had his chest split open as doctors carried out heart massage.

Only after, in the editing suite, were the scenes deemed too gruesome for air cut out.
Eight and a half million viewers tuned into watch when Harris’s death aired, looking back Discovery producer Thom Beers admits: ‘I can’t deny there was a degree of exploitation.’

But they were never going to let the Deadliest Catch just slip away. It had proved the unexpected hit of the Discovery Channel when it first aired in 2005, drawing an audience of 4 million without any promotion.
The episode showing Harris’s death was the third highest rated airing of any show in the network’s history.
It had been a lucky spot having only ever been intended as a twelve-minute segment in a two-hour special, ‘Extreme Alaska.'
And the phenomenal success was down to Harris – a different breed of man, according to show producer Beers.
He was a man with the deadliest job in the world and the deadliest lifestyle. In short, a man who lived high on borrowed time.
Harris suffered a massive stroke while offloading crab in port at Saint Paul Island, Alaska, on 29 January 2010.
He survived another month before dying in hospital of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 53.
Both Josh and Jake Harris fished with their father on the ‘Cornelia Marie.’
It was Josh who discovered his father following his stroke aboard the boat that made him famous.
The once powerful man was contorted and twisted on the floor of his cabin, trapped under a hundred pound bench that had been bolted to the wall by the side of his bed.
His last act of strength had been to rip that bench from its place. The man who had prided himself on his physical prowess after a lifetime spent at sea, in conditions few could endure, was paralysed down his left side.
As he was strapped to a backboard and winched form his boat to the hospital bed that would prove his deathbed, producer Thom Beer now admits he faced a moral and professional dilemma.

His film crew had spent several years with Harris, chronicling his exploits for the Deadliest Catch.
The millions of followers would want to be with the man they had come to know and even admire.
But, as Beers reflects: ‘We weren’t just interlopers who were going to walk in and say, “Hey you’re dying. Can we film it?”’
In the end it was Harris himself who took control, the last time he would do so. While the producers spoke with his sons and agonised over what to do and the star of the hit show lay dying, Harris gestured for paper and pen.
He couldn’t speak but he could write and so he did: ‘You’ve got to finish the story,’ he wrote. ‘It needs an ending.’

That ending was his own. As medics performed surgery the prolonged Harris's life by a few weeks, Beers recalls: 'Our cameras were there when they opened up his skull. Oh my God, it was so tough.'
Harris’s story began five decades earlier. He was raised by his father, Grant a stoic fisherman from Seattle, after his mother died of skin cancer. She was just 27, her son only eight.
As Harris’s own son, Jake, reflects: ‘My grandpa didn’t know how to raise a kid. So he raised a worker.’
Harris was working on his father’s boat while his peers played ball and were cossetted at home.
Grant Harris tried to be a good father according to his grandsons Josh and Jake.

But with his wife dead and the need to hold down several jobs to provide for his son, Harris had plenty of opportunity to run wild. And he did.
Harris was voted Least Likely to Succeed on graduation from High School and seemed determined to fulfil that destiny for much of his early teens.
He left home at 15. He tore around town on his motorbike, got into trouble with the law, drank, smoked, partied and finally, for want of anything else to do, returned to the only the thing her knew, working for free on board a crabber.
His job was to clean bait and his nickname was ‘Dirt’ because of his lack of personal hygiene.
Still, Harris proved himself a worthy crew member and with status and catches came money. With money came vices or at least, for Harris, the funds to indulge them.
Much of this biography reads more like that of a rock star than a fisherman from Bothell, WA. At times it is all more redolent of Rolling Stone, Keith Harris than crabber Captain Phil.
According to Josh: ‘My dad once told me that when he was a young crab fisherman, he’d get a big fat pay check, buy huge amounts of cocaine…rent the penthouse of a nice hotel, and rotate the girls in and out.
‘That’s how he lived his life for a long time. He’d get a check for $80,000 but after three weeks it was gone.’
He admits: ‘Pharmaceutical quality Peruvian flake cocaine and high-grade strains of cannabis were the way Phil rolled.’

Harris was a prodigious gambler who could go through $300 of chips in three seconds. He fell madly in love with first wife Mary – an unhappily married, mother of two working as a dancer in a grotty club when they met – but neither she nor the birth of their own children could keep him on the straight and narrow.
Though he went for periods relatively sober and apparently faithful to Mary, their nine year marriage was characterised by a cruel mutual infidelity – a tit for tat game in which there could be no true winner.
Drunk and high he once rode his Harley Davidson straight into the front room of the couple’s home. He crashed cars and he wrecked marriages – his own and those of others.

This was a man who could ‘pound down a gallon of vodka without taking a breath,’ before breakfast.
Years at sea in the company of Russian sailors had given him an insatiable taste for Stolichnaya vodka.
In 1991 after nine years of marriage and 14 years together Mary and Harris divorced. He fought for custody of their sons and, remarkably, won.
Two years later he remarried. Jake and Josh make no secret of the contempt in which they held their stepmother, Teresa.
In a shocking section of the book Josh describes her as ‘an evil creature,’ and admits that he and his brother referred to her as ‘Satan.’
They claim that she beat them and drove their father to depression. The couple divorced in 2003 after ten years of marriage and when Teresa died of a heart attack in 2011 Josh state: ‘I didn’t feel bad. She was one of the meanest people I ever met.’
Shortly before his death Harris asked his first wife, Mary, to marry him again. She turned him down, telling him he was a much better friend than a husband.
Truth be known the man who emerges from the pages of this book seems a much easier person to watch than to know.
He was wore his vices like virtues and remained an unreformed, unapologetic addict and wild man to the end.
CAPTAIN PHIL HARRIS: The Legendary Crab Fisherman, Our Hero, Our Dad ($25.00) by Josh Harris and Jake Harris with Steve Springer and Blake Chavez is published by Simon & Schuster
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