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Published: Wednesday, 8/1/2007

Florida's living, breathing Harry Potter weathers Pottermania, and the endless phone calls

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BRADENTON, Fla. - Sometimes it's a hassle being Harry Potter.

Especially when you're a 78-year-old man who happens to share the name of a certain fictional boy wizard who is famous the world over.

Each time a new Harry Potter book or movie comes out, Bradenton resident Harry Potter starts getting phone calls from children, interview requests from the TV networks and autograph requests.

"The kids want to know if I'm Harry Potter," he said with a chuckle. "I tell them I've been Harry Potter for darn near 80 years!"

The real Harry Potter said he hasn't had time to read any of the J.K. Rowling books or see the five hit movies. But late night crank calls aside, the retired Defense Department employee from Zaleski, Ohio, gets his mileage out of Pottermania.

"When Harry talks to the kids, they'll ask about the owl and he'll say, 'Oh, he came by and brought the mail,'" said his wife, Jan. "Then, when they're done, the mothers come on and say thank you for talking to the kids. He gets a big kick out of it."

But meeting a real Harry Potter can be a little puzzling for the kids.

"They look at you, give you the once-over," he said, laughing. "They can't relate the one in the book to the one they see here. I guess I could buy me a pair of Harry Potter glasses."

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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