|Height||5' 11" (1.8 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
Joseph Harrell was born in December of (1973) in Norfolk, Virginia, to parents Helen and Clayton Harrell. Three years later, Helen divorced Clayton, and she moved Joseph along with his older sister Julie to New Mexico. Harrell got his first taste of acting at age seven, when he performed in a church play. However, the divorce and lack of a father figure had a major effect on him. He proceeded to act out, getting into loads of trouble with the law, eventually being put into the local "Scared Straight" program at age ten.
The family returned to Virginia Beach in (1984) in order to keep Harrell out of trouble. From the age of 10, he held several part-time jobs ranging from paperboy to pamphleteer, gas station attendant to mechanic, pizza delivery guy to restaurant manager, seafood warehouses to first mate on a fishing boat, and greens keeper to golf caddy. During this time Harrell was involved in various sports such as football, boxing and power lifting.
Unfortunately, trouble eventually found him. From the years (1984 - 1991), Harrell was arrested for numerous gang and street related crimes, fighting, vandalism, grand larceny and car theft. In (1992), while attending Bayside high school, Harrell decided to join the Marine Corps in order to find the structure he needed, but a curiosity for exotic dancing caught his eye. Less than three months later he dropped out of high school to pursue a career as a male stripper, a job he would hold for four years.
In (1996), Harrell headed to New York to pursue his lifelong passion of acting, enrolling at HB Studios. His first audition a year later, for the film "Quiz Show," was a disaster. Scarred from the experience, Harrell gave up acting and decided to focus on a career as a personal trainer for the next three years.
Bored and feeling that he was still in desperate need of structure and focus in his life, Harrell kept a promise he made to himself; got his GED, finished a semester of college, and joined the US Marine Corps in (1999). Having found the lifelong search for structure and discipline, Harrell quickly rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant in less than five years. Before enlisting for another term, Harrell was in charge of over one hundred Marines and twenty aircraft. During his second enlistment from January (2005-2008), Harrell served as a Drill Instructor for 3rd Battalion Lima Company at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, a position that would have an incredibly positive effect on him. "Being part of something bigger than your self is very exciting," says Harrell, regarding his time in the USMC. "Learning patience, not to quit, and looking forward instills wonderful behavior."
In (2006), Harrell enrolled at the University of South Carolina Beaufort to pursue a major in Business. While there, he reignited his love of acting, starring in several plays and was a member of the Rogues and Vagabonds theater troupe. For extra money, he worked as a bouncer at several local nightclubs. During this time Harrell began to audition for muscle and fitness magazines, and landed a few small modeling jobs.
Upon leaving the USMC in (2008), knowing he now had the confidence to pursue his dream, Harrell headed back to New York City to give acting another shot. He immediately enrolled in the William Esper School, supporting himself by working as a fitness model. He simultaneously enrolled in Rutgers University Business School, in effort to finish his Business degree, with a minor in theatre. While enrolled at Rutgers, Harrell co-founded the Student Veterans Organization, an organization that would win the award for Best New Student Organization of (2010). He would eventually graduate Magna Cum Laude in (2011) along with a nomination for the Dean's award.
Harrell's big acting break came in (2009) with K.J. Sanchez's critically acclaimed Off-Broadway play "ReEntry," which explored the difficulties faced by military veterans making the transition from the battle front to the home front. Originally hired as a military consultant, Harrell's incredible charisma and command of the script during a workshop of the play thoroughly impressed writer/director Sanchez, and she quickly offered him the lead role of the "C.O."
Harrell's extraordinary performance received numerous accolades. The show was a turning point for Harrell in regards to his acting career and the types of roles he desired to play.
Harrell traveled with the play "ReEntry" for nearly two years, eventually catching the eye of writer/director K. Lorrel Manning, who quickly hired Harrell as the military advisor for his feature film "Happy New Year." A film that tells the story of a war-torn Marine who returns stateside to face his fiercest battle yet - the one against himself. The film is an entertaining yet hard-hitting look at the perils of post-traumatic stress disorder which affects at least twenty percent of all combat veterans. Though the role of Marine widow "Joe Wallace" didn't exist in the original script for "Happy New Year," Manning was so inspired by Harrell's performance in "ReEntry," that he created the role for him.
In his personal life, Harrell is happily married to Lauren Marie, whom he met in a New Jersey pizzeria while walking his dog "Bounder." Harrell jokingly chastised her for feeding his dog pizza. They married in a private civil ceremony in Santa Fe, New Mexico in December (2011). The couple resides in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: K. Lorrel Manning