The indecent assault conviction against Rolf Harris marks a spectacular fall from grace for the Australian entertainer, whose 60-year career in music, television and the arts had garnered him a legion of fans at home and abroad.
The 84-year-old has been found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault against four girls in the UK between 1968 and 1986.
He will be sentenced on Friday and has been told by the presiding justice to expect to spend time behind bars.
Harris was born in Perth on March 30, 1930, to parents Agnes and Cromwell Harris who were immigrants from Cardiff in Wales.
Harris, who has been living in England for more than five decades but has said he still feels Australian, has topped the charts, earned a place in the ARIA Hall of Fame and collaborated with everyone from The Beatles and Kate Bush to The Wiggles and Baz Luhrmann.
He is perhaps best known for hit song Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport, but it was art rather than music where Harris cut his creative teeth.
He was drawing detailed pictures of people from an early age, and by high school, Harris – who was also a champion swimmer in his youth – was attending weekend art classes for gifted children.
He staged his first solo exhibition when he was 16, and then his self-portrait was hung in the Art Gallery of New South Wales as a contender for the 1947 Archibald Prize. In 1949 one of his landscapes won the Claude Hotchin prize for oil painting.
He gained a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia before switching his focus to education. He again re-evaluated his career after a bout of illness that caused him temporary paralysis, and returned to art.
In 1952, he moved to the United Kingdom, where he landed a job with the BBC, drawing animations for television programs.
He became famous for painting on large canvases with a few broad brushstrokes while asking audiences: "Can you tell what it is yet?"
During the 1960s, after a brief return to Australia, Harris became a popular television personality, presenting British shows including Rolf’s Cartoon Club and Animal Hospital.
He also appealed to adult audiences with The Rolf Harris show from 1967 to 1974. Versions of the show continued into the 1980s.
In 2001 he combined his passion for art and television. The TV series Rolf on Art attracted more than 7.5 million viewers and Star Portraits (2004-2005) was watched by 5.5 million viewers each week.
Controversial racist lyrics in Harris’s first hit song
Harris’s musical career began with singing and playing the piano accordion, around the same time as his television career.
In 1960, Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport went to number one in Australia and was top 10 in Britain and the United States. The song featured the distinctive sound of his famous wobble-board – a flexible piece of hardboard he moved back and forth.
The song attracted controversy due to the use of a racist term in the fourth verse – "let me Abos go loose" and "they’re of no further use" – a reference to Indigenous Australians.
The term was removed from later versions of the song, and Harris expressed regret at their use, saying they were not meant to be offensive and had not been sung since 1960.
Harris also courted major controversy in 2008 after advising Aboriginals to get "off their arse" to "clean up the streets" rather than complaining about poverty.
He also questioned whether Aboriginal children were getting enough discipline.
From didgeridoo to wobble-board: 50 singles in six decades
Known for using unusual instruments like the didgeridoo, Harris created one of his most famous roles in the 1960s with Jake the Peg – a crowd favourite at concerts when Harris performed it wearing his famous third "leg".
His other popular songs include Australian Christmas ditty Six White Boomers – about kangaroos powering Santa’s sleigh – and his rendering of American Civil War song Two Little Boys.
Two Little Boys was Harris’s most successful single. It was the UK Christmas number one song in 1969 and also reached the top spot in Ireland.
He re-recorded the song in 2008 to mark the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I and to raise funds for war veterans and their families.
In total, Harris recorded almost 50 singles and more than 30 albums throughout his career. Along the way he married Alwen Hughes in 1958 and the couple had daughter Bindi in 1964.
Harris recalls ‘chatting’ while painting the Queen
In 2005 the BBC suggested he paint a portrait of Queen Elizabeth for her 80th birthday and Buckingham Palace agreed.
Harris said he was very nervous about painting the monarch at Buckingham Palace.
"As you can imagine, the butterflies in the stomach started to proliferate," he wrote on his website.
"Suppose I can’t get a likeness? But when the Queen arrived she immediately put us all at our ease. There we were, the Queen and I, chatting away like old mates."
The painting received a mixed reception from critics, but Harris said the Queen appeared to like his work, and recalled that she described the portrait as "a very friendly painting".
Led Zeppelin cover a career highlight for Harris
Harris became a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2006, after receiving the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1977 for his services to entertainment and the arts.
In 2012 he became an Officer (AO) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, after having received the Order of Australia (AM) in the 1989 Australia Day awards.
Harris has said a career highlight was his version of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, which reached number seven in the UK and number 10 in Ireland in 1993.
The song was first played on Andrew Denton’s ABC TV show The Money or the Gun. The wobble-board Harris used on the track is on display at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.
"I think it was my version of Stairway to Heaven which changed my whole life by thrusting me back into the awareness of all the university-aged youngsters," Harris told the ABC in 2008, around the time of his ARIA Hall of Fame award.
"They suddenly realised they knew all my songs from their childhood, and what’s more, remembered all the words."
In 1996 Harris recorded a version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and his version of the Divinyls’ I Touch Myself, accompanied by his wobble-board, was released in 2000.
The wobble-board also featured in Baz Luhrmann’s epic 2008 movie Australia. Luhrmann was so impressed by Harris’s efforts on the soundtrack that he and executive music supervisor Anton Monsted had a quirky, bluegrass-style song specially written for Harris to sing in a scene when the film’s stars, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, are bickering while mustering cattle.
Harris’s most recent release was the single Do You Still Remember in 2011 with Australia’s Got Talent runner-up Cam Henderson.
In 2003 Harris celebrated his golden anniversary with a variety show at Royal Albert Hall. But that did not slow him down. In 2012, he was part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert in front of Buckingham Palace.
He has been a regular six times at the iconic British music and arts festival Glastonbury, including last year.
The veteran Australian entertainer continued performing at his own concerts in the lead-up to his arrest.
Despite reports surfacing that he had been questioned over alleged sexual offences he received standing ovations during a show at Bristol in south-west England in May 2013.
Harris was charged with assaulting four girls in the UK between 1968 and 1986 – allegations he always denied – and his trial began in May.
The prosecution told the court Harris was a "sinister pervert" and someone who mesmerised women.
The defence noted while the entertainer was "clearly far from perfect" given he had admitted having two extramarital affairs, that did not make him guilty of the indecent assault charges.
Harris is expected to be sentenced by the London court for all 12 convictions of indecent assault on Friday.Tags: concert, film, movie, music, release, television, tv