Friday, Sep. 16, 2011

Neil Patrick Harris: From Doogie Howser to Barney Stinson

When it comes to squeaky-clean characters, it's hard to top Doogie Howser. For four years in the early '90s, Neil Patrick Harris played the teenage prodigy doctor who aced the SATs at 9, graduated from Princeton at 10 (yet somehow took four full years to finish medical school) and became a doctor at 14. On Doogie Howser, M.D., Harris depicted the struggles of being a medical resident and a teenager who lives with his parents, closing each episode by typing pithy diary entries on an early model computer. After the show ended, Harris made a cameo as a crass, sex-crazed version of himself on a drug binge in the 2004 hit film Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, driving a stake through his innocent teenage image. When How I Met Your Mother debuted on CBS in 2005, Harris perfectly embodied Barney Stinson, a womanizing yuppie who — with his catchphrase "Suit up!" — managed to smooth-talk nearly every gal in the bar. Barney became such a popular character and Harris was so convincing as a womanizer that many were surprised when the actor announced he was gay in 2006.