Harris Franklin Berger grew up in the Bronx, New York in the 1920s, along with his brother Arthur who was 8 years his senior. His father Jack was an optometrist who had grown up on the lower East Side of Manhattan. His mother Millie, while a citizen of the United States, had been born in Czechoslovakia and was Bohemian.
As a child, Harris had a wonderful singing voice and broke into show business on Horn and Hardart Children's Hour, a radio program for youngsters.
Besides appearing in movies and serials, Harris also worked in vaudeville alongside Hal E. Chester, another Little Tough Guy, sometimes using the stage name Steve Harris. As vaudeville died out and movie opportunities became fewer, Harris began working in his father's office as an optician, grinding lenses. His brother Arthur, who also worked in the same office, would go on to become an optometrist. Harris eventually went into menswear, working at Roger Kent's Men's Clothing in Manhattan.
While still living in the Bronx, Harris met Enid Greenfield at a Purim dance and the two married in 1952. They had two sons, Marc in 1956 and Bruce in 1960. In 1968, the family moved to Southern California, and by 1969 had settled into a house in Simi Valley, where Harris lived until his death from bladder cancer in 1983.
While it is true that Harris Berger quit show biz, it is equally true that show biz never really quit him, and he often thrilled his sons with tales of his experiences in Hollywood and vaudeville, was wont to break into song, crack jokes, and always left a room brighter for his having been there. Unlike his movie persona, Harris was a kind, caring individual who never got in trouble with the law, and for whom family was always very important.