Phil Harris

Oral History Information

Interview Date
Birth Date
Deceased Date
Job Title
Musician, Actor

This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Phil Harris was a big band leader, singer, and actor who hit fame as the voice of Baloo the bear in Disney’s 1967 movie The Jungle Book. His career began as a drummer who found himself hanging around Bing Crosby when the crooner was singing early jazz with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. Phil landed the role as the bandleader for the very popular radio comedy, The Jack Benny Show, beginning in 1936 and was still working with the comic when he moved over to television. Phil had a series of hit records on his own in the 1950s, which got the attention of Walt Disney who offered Phil the role of a jazz happy cartoon bear.