Today, the “Harry Potter” star turns 20. Because a lot of us have watched him grow up on screen (he was cast when he was just 11), it seems appropriate to honor him today by looking back. I couldn’t find any good clips from the first movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” but what I found is even better: a 12-year-old Radcliffe making his debut on Letterman, just prior to the movie’s opening. He’s clearly nervous and even more clearly thrilled, and still very much a kid: Look at his grin when he tells of buying a magic kit at F.A.O. Schwartz.
Over the years, that nervous little boy has become a very fine actor and a worldwide heartthrob, and has handled it with grace and maturity. (Check out this utterly endearing account of Radcliffe’s encounter with a terrified 11-year-old reporter, and see if it doesn’t make you love the guy even more.) Some day, he may find a role so remarkable that it’ll make us all forget he was ever Harry Potter. I’ll look forward to it, even as I thoroughly enjoy his work now. Happy birthday, Daniel, and thanks for all the magic.