Early life, family, educational background
American actor Desmond Harrington was born on 19 October 1976, in Savannah, Georgia. He was raised in The Bronx, New York City by his father Michael and mother Mary. His parents enrolled him into St. Margaret’s of Cortona and then moved him to Fordham Preparatory School.
He attended Manhattan College, but it’s unknown what he was studying there, and it appears that he didn’t make it to graduation – either he didn’t get enough credits to graduate, dropped out of college himself, or passed, but didn’t attend his graduation ceremony. There is no evidence or even a personal statement from Desmond declaring that he was enrolled in college and earned a degree.
Before working as an actor, Desmond had a few other jobs, working as a bartender, a cold caller at a brokerage firm, a landscaper, and a laborer.
When a friend told him about an open audition, Desmond tried out, and fell in love with dramatic arts.
Desmond’s acting debut was in 1999, as Aulon in “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc”, written and directed by Luc Besson. His character appears to be a shy and reserved guy, but it’s unknown if that was the way he was meant to be played, or if it was because Desmond was still new to acting, and therefore quite shy in front of the camera.
Desmond kept a schedule busy by then playing Mike Steel in the 2001 horror and thriller film “The Hole,” the following year he played Jack Ferriman in the horror and slasher, “Ghost Ship,” and in 2003, Desmond agreed to another horror and thriller film, “Wrong Turn” wherein he played Chris Flynn.
Meantime, in 2002, Desmond was cast as Jesse Keys in Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi television series “Taken”, but which only lasted for one season. Jesse’s main storyline revolves around him having been abducted by aliens.
On the 2006 “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) episode hosted by Natalie Portman and featuring Fall Out Boy as the musical guest, Desmond played an extra in one of the skits, as a Jamba Juice Customer, but wasn’t credited for his role. From 2006 to 2007, he portrayed Wylie Blake in the comedy sitcom “Sons & Daughters” – the show received high ratings, but was nevertheless canceled after one season.
In September 2008, he was cast as Detective Joseph “Joey” Quinn in Showtime’s hit television series “Dexter” based on the 2004 novel “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay.. The mystery series ran for eight seasons and 96 episodes from 1 October 2006 to 22 September 2013, but Desmond only joined the series in its third season. The show followed forensic technician Dexter Morgan (played by Michael C. Hall) who worked at the fictional Miami Metro Police Department as a bloodstain pattern analyst.
Dexter is not all he appears to be though, as in his off hours, he doubles as a serial killer. Dexter’s victims are the abusers and murderers of the cases he looked over at work; he rationalised their gruesome murders by proving they were the abusers, but did not receive a fair punishment from the corrupt justice system. In February 2008, edited reruns aired on CBS, but cut out overly graphic and gruesome scenes from the episodes so they would be safer for younger audiences to watch. The revival series, “Dexter: New Blood,” ran from 7 November 2021 to 9 January 2022, but Desmond didn’t reprise his role.
In December 2008, Desmond guest-starred as Chuck Bass’ uncle, Jack Bass in the teen drama television series “Gossip Girl.” Desmond regularly reprised his role throughout the show’s run, and in January 2012, it was announced that he would return to “Gossip Girl” for the last third of the final season.
“Gossip Girl” was a teen drama series that ran for six seasons of 121 episodes from 2007 based on the “Gossip Girl” book series by Cecily von Ziegesar, adapted for television by Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz. Kristen Bell narrated the series as the character of Gossip Girl, an anonymous blogger who posts about a group of rich upper-class teenagers – living in Manhattan’s Upper East Side – who get up to one or two scandalous things… a night. The main character, Serena van der Woodsen is played by Blake Lively, her best frenemy, Blair Waldorf (who is the main character in the book series) is played by Leighton Meester. The other main teenagers are Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), Serena’s step-brother and Blair’s boyfriend, Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford), Chuck’s best friend, Blair’s first boyfriend and-on-and off boyfriend of Serena’s. Taylor Momsen played Jenny Humphrey, the younger sister of Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley).
They live in Brooklyn, which is a lower-class part of New York City when compared to the Upper East Side. Jenny wants to become part of the popular girl clique at high school and Dan, an aspiring writer, constantly feels like an outsider and tries to figure out why his classmates act the way they do. He is also in love with Serena, and they are continuously on and off throughout the series.
Later in 2012, Desmond guest-appeared in the “Justified” season three premiere as Fletcher “The Ice Pick ” Nix. It was a busy year for Desmond, as he also played a police officer in “The Dark Knight Rises.” In 2015, he appeared in three episodes of the drama television series, “Limitless,” as FBI Agent Casey Rooks. In 2016, he played another Jack, but this time in the psychological horror and thriller film “The Neon Demon.” The cast list was quite impressive, including Keanu Reeves, Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Jena Malone and Bella Heathcote. American Nicolas Winding Refn wrote and directed the R-rated film, which followed a young aspiring model fighting the sinister side of the fashion industry.
In 2017, he played Officer Maldack in the ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine” episode entitled, “Moo Moo,” and in 2018, Desmond was cast in “Elementary” as a serial killer named Michael, who was also a member of Narcotics Anonymous along with Sherlock Holmes.
The crime drama and mystery series “Elementary” ran for seven seasons of 154 episodes, created by Robert Doherty as a more contemporary updated version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original character, Sherlock Holmes. Jonny Lee Miller starred as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu played Dr. Joan Watson – generally a male character named John. CBS premiered the series on 27 September 2012, in which Holmes is a recovering drug addict assisting the New York City Police Department. He prioritizes his own way of solving crimes over police procedures which leads to him butting heads with Aidan Quinn’s Captain Thomas Gregson. Dr. Joan Watson is a former surgeon initially hired by Sherlock’s father to be Sherlock’s sober companion. She eventually becomes his professional partner, helping him solve the crimes.
Nothing but right turns today, Desmond Harrington. Happy Birthday!
The series included Sherlock’s former lover and now nemesis, Jamie Moriarty (Natalie Dormer).
Desmond has received numerous nominations for awards throughout his career, but is yet to win any.
The most controversy Desmond has experienced was following his weight loss – fans noticed that he dropped a few pounds and toned his body down to become more chiseled. Rumors and assumptions began spreading, speculating if the weight loss was due to drugs, a disease, or something else scandalous. Desmond set the record straight, explaining that all he had been doing was exercising regularly and eating healthier. Dexterdaily.com quotes Desmond’s response, “I didn’t have any plastic surgery, I’m not sick – it’s called running and eating better!”
Under the article, many people insisted that he isn’t telling the truth – one said, “I have to press the BS button that Desmond’s weight loss is due to running and eating healthy… I’d bet dollars on donuts, it is due to heavy drug use.”
Another added, “Regardless of your ‘story,’ your color was telling me you were killing yourself…” and another person argued, “Someone’s been hittin the pipe! He looks so methy.” Comments also shared “before” and “after” pictures, discussing whether or not Desmond has had a nose job done, as well as screenshots from movies and series he’s appeared in, comparing his weight fluctuation. They also aren’t afraid to diagnose him with an eating disorder such as anorexia athletica or exercise-induced bulimia, where patients overlook their disorder by justifying their weight loss with exercise and diet plans, not realizing that they are overdoing it, and are indeed, quite unhealthy.
From 2012 to 2013, Desmond dated American actress and trained singer Amanda Seyfried. Their relationship became public knowledge in August 2012, when paparazzi photographed him leaving her Los Angeles home in the early hours of the morning. Amanda left her apartment a few hours later to catch a plane at LAX airport. Over the weekend, Desmond and Amanda enjoyed a romantic hike along with her dog Finn.
They wore almost-matching outfits, the only difference being that he donned a Detroit Tigers baseball cap, while hers had the New York Yankees logo. They never shared how they met, but their mutual friend, Jennifer Carpenter, may have introduced them.
Desmond keeps his personal life very private. Anything about his family, previous or current relationships or where he lives is completely unknown to the public. His only known relationship has been with Amanda.
Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts
- Desmond is a Libra
- While in “Dexter,” he worked with actress Jennifer Carpenter for the first time. They once again found themselves as co-stars while working in “Limitless.”
- He’s a Roman Catholic.
Desmond stands at 5ft 11ins (1.8m) and even though his weight loss was a large story amongst viewers, his weight is unknown. He has dark brown hair and striking blue eyes, his face is quite sculpted with a defined jawline and cheekbones. Desmond has two tattoos that we know of – one says, “Maureen,” which was his grandmother’s name, while his other is located on his right arm and is the image of a black rose.
He’s been able to attain a fitter physique and maintain it by following a balanced meal and exercise plan, although there is much debate around the truth of his weight loss.
Net worth and salary
As of May 2022, Desmond’s net worth is estimated at an impressive $4 million, earned by starring and guest appearing in several films and television series. Desmond has also been in the business for 23 years, so has had the time and experience to build up an impressive resume, and having earned a good amount of money in each role.