Sex, Drugs, and Crabs: 'Deadliest Catch' Deckhands Tell All About Dad Captain Phil Harris
Josh and Jake Harris cut their teeth as deckhands on Discovery Channel's "The Deadliest Catch." To say that audiences loved their father, Captain Phil Harris, is an understatement. After suffering from a massive stroke, Phil died February 9, 2010 at the age of 53 from a pulmonary embolism.
We know that Phil was a wildly entertaining built-for-TV kind of guy. And now, we are learning more about the captain from his sons. "My dad became a real dad instead of a best friend in the last three years of his life," Josh told Yahoo! TV. "We were an actual family unit, and he would always be telling me, 'Don't be doing this, don't be doing that' instead of telling me, 'Get out there and do this.'" It's no surprise that Josh and Jake teamed up to pay tribute to their old man with a memoir. The contents of their book, "Captain Phil Harris: The Legendary Crab Fisherman, Our Hero, Our Dad" might make you blush.
But before we dive into the pages, let's talk about Jake. Josh informed us that Jake is not on "Catch" this season because he took time off to deal with his substance abuse issues. "Catch" fans are all too familiar with Jake's ongoing struggles. "If he had continued on, he probably wouldn't be here today," said Josh, adding that his reaction to his brother's decision was this: "Amen. Praise Jesus. I got a lot of faith in him. He's starting to take responsibility."
And the good news is that Josh expects his brother to be back on the boat next season. But brothers are brothers, and Josh couldn't resist clarifying one important fact: "He'll be up in the wheelhouse or running the deck, but I'm gonna be the one driving the boat."
So, back to the book.
Josh said he wrote the book because people ask about his dad all the time. "In his final days, he really wanted there to be an end of the story," he said. "We decided to do it the same way 'Deadliest Catch' is done. What you see is what you get. We're not perfect people."
We asked Josh to tell us something he learned while doing research that blew his mind. "I thought my parents met on a picnic," Josh laughed. "Come to find out, they met at a strip club."
Fan favorite Phil Harris was a zealous, made-for-reality-TV, larger than life kind of guy -- a passionate storyteller, a guy who never saw a storm he didn't want to cut through. It's no wonder that millions of people tuned in to see Harris take his last breaths on what turned out to be the network's third most popular episode in history. Is that good TV or bad exploitation?
[Related: 'Deadliest Catch': The Top Five Close Calls]
In the book, "Catch" creator/producer Thom Beers concedes to "a degree of exploitation." But the Harris brothers defend the producers in the book. In one moving passage, we learn that Captain Phil was unable to speak out loud, but still managed to interrupt the debate. He motioned for a pen and paper and he wrote: "You've got to finish the story. It needs an ending.'"
Here now, a few bon mots from the juicy-is-an-understatement book:
- Phil was voted least likely to succeed in high school and often seemed determined to make good on that prediction.