Until his untimely death in 2010, Captain Phil Harris starred on Discovery Channel’s hit reality show Deadliest Catch which chronicles the harrowing lives of crab fishermen.
Now Captain Harris is the subject of a new biography written by his sons, Jake and Josh Harris, and titled, Captain Phil Harris: The Legendary Crab Fisherman, Our Hero, Our Dad.
I recently spoke with Josh Harris–who continues to star on the show’s Season Nine–about his father, the new book, Deadliest Catch and the “dark side” of reality TV.
The full transcript of our conversation is available here, while I’ve highlighted some of the interview below.
Diane Anderson-Minshall: Tell us a little about this new biography.
Josh Harris: Our father actually started an autobiography prior to his death in 2010. When he passed away, my brother Jake and I wanted to keep a part of him alive by finishing what he originally set out to accomplish…Captain Phil Harris: The Legendary Crab Fisherman, Our Hero, Our Dad is an electrifying tell-all that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. We told the old man’s story the way he would have wanted it told. Check it out at Amazon.com.
Diane Anderson-Minshall: What was it like having to share your dad with millions of Deadliest Catch fans?
Josh Harris: Our father was voted least likely to succeed in high school. In fact, his high school, at the time, graduated him early because they didn’t want to deal with him. Since then, until his death in 2010, his main goal was to prove everyone wrong by making something of himself. He worked extremely hard to achieve his well-known status and loved his fans immensely.
Diane Anderson-Minshall: Eight million people watched your father pass away. Is it difficult having such a personal moment air on TV?
Josh Harris: It’s incredibly difficult….Discovery Channel did a really tasteful job airing our father’s passing on the show. They sent us the episode a month before it aired, and it took me a month and half after it aired to finally watch it. I’ve only seen it once.
Diane Anderson-Minshall: There have been a fair number of suicides by current and former reality TV stars. And it seems like being in the public’s eye can be stressful. Has your family felt any of what might be called TV’s dark side?
Josh Harris:I can only speak for myself. We didn’t set out to be actors or reality stars….We were not prepared to deal with this kind of attention, nor did we sign up for it. Yet we accepted it…Others aren’t able to deal with this kind of pressure and choose to take their own life.
Diane Anderson-Minshall: What can fans expect from Deadliest Catch Season 9?
Josh Harris: Fans should expect the same real-life situations crab fishermen go through on a day-to-day basis. When sailing the Bering Sea you can regularly expect hurricane-force winds and four-story waves in a valorous effort to haul in millions of pounds of crab…
Read the full interview here.
Photo cover of Captain Phil Harris: The Legendary Crab Fisherman, Our Hero, Our Dad.