Ford in 2009
July 13, 1942 |
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Harrison Ford (born July 13, 1942) is an American film actor and producer. He is famous for his performances as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and the title character of the Indiana Jones film series. Ford is also known for his roles as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, John Book in Witness and Jack Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. His career has spanned six decades and includes roles in several Hollywood blockbusters, including Apocalypse Now, Presumed Innocent, The Fugitive, Air Force One, and What Lies Beneath. At one point, four of the top six box-office hits of all time included one of his roles. Five of his films have been inducted into the National Film Registry.
In 1997, Ford was ranked No. 1 in Empire's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. As of July 2008[update], the United States domestic box office grosses of Ford's films total over US$3.5 billion, with worldwide grosses surpassing $6 billion, making Ford the third highest grossing U.S. domestic box-office star. Ford is the husband of actress Calista Flockhart.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Early career
- 3 Milestone franchises
- 4 Other film work
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Activism
- 7 Awards
- 8 Filmography
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Ford was born July 13, 1942, at Chicago, Illinois's Swedish Covenant Hospital. His mother, Dorothy (née Dora Nidelman), was a homemaker and former radio actress, and his father, Christopher Ford (born John William Ford), was an advertising executive and a former actor. A younger brother, Terence, was born in 1945. Ford's paternal grandparents, John Fitzgerald Ford and Florence Veronica Niehaus, were of Irish Catholic and German descent, respectively. Ford's maternal grandparents, Harry Nidelman and Anna Lifschutz, were Jewish immigrants from Minsk, Belarus (at that time a part of the Russian Empire). When asked in which religion he and his brother were raised, Ford has jokingly responded, "Democrat," "to be liberals of every stripe". In a television interview shown in August 2000, when asked about what influence his Irish Catholic and Russian Jewish ancestry may have had on his life as a person and as an artist, Ford humorously stated "As a man I've always felt Irish, as an actor I've always felt Jewish."
Ford was active in the Boy Scouts of America, and achieved its second-highest rank, Life Scout. He worked at Napowan Adventure Base Scout camp as a counselor for the Reptile Study merit badge. Because of this, he and Eagle Scout director Steven Spielberg later decided to depict the young Indiana Jones as a Life Scout in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. They also jokingly reversed Ford's knowledge of reptiles into Jones' fear of snakes.
In 1960, Ford graduated from Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Illinois. His was the first student voice broadcast on his high school's new radio station, WMTH, and he was its first sportscaster during his senior year (1959–1960). He attended Ripon College in Wisconsin, where he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He took a drama class in the final quarter of his senior year to get over his shyness. Ford, a self-described "late bloomer," became fascinated with acting.
In 1964, Ford traveled to Los Angeles, California to apply for a job in radio voice overs. He did not get it, but stayed in California and eventually signed a $150 a week contract with Columbia Pictures' New Talent program, playing bit roles in films. His first known part was an uncredited role as a bellhop in Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966). There is little record of his non-speaking roles (or "extra" work) in film. Ford was at the bottom of the hiring list, having offended producer Jerry Tokovsky after he played a bellboy in the feature. He was told by Tokovsky that when actor Tony Curtis delivered a bag of groceries, he did it like a movie star; Ford felt his job was to act like a bellboy. Ford managed to secure other roles in movies, such as A Time for Killing (The Long Ride Home), starring Glenn Ford, George Hamilton and Inger Stevens.
His speaking roles continued next with Luv (1967), though he was still uncredited. He was finally credited as "Harrison J. Ford" in the 1967 Western film, A Time for Killing, but the "J" did not stand for anything, since he has no middle name. It was added to avoid confusion with a silent film actor named Harrison Ford, who appeared in more than 80 films between 1915 and 1932, and died in 1957. Ford later said that he was unaware of the existence of the earlier Harrison Ford until he came upon a star with his own name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ford soon dropped the "J" and worked for Universal Studios, playing minor roles in many television series throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Gunsmoke, Ironside, The Virginian, The F.B.I., Love, American Style, and Kung Fu. He appeared in the western Journey to Shiloh (1968) and had an uncredited, non-speaking role in Michelangelo Antonioni's 1970 film Zabriskie Point, as an arrested student protester. Not happy with the roles being offered to him, Ford became a self-taught professional carpenter to support his then-wife and two small sons. While working as a carpenter, he became a stagehand for the popular rock band The Doors. He also built a sun deck for actress Sally Kellerman and a recording studio for Brazilian band leader Sérgio Mendes.
He was then hired to build cabinets at the home of director George Lucas, who subsequently cast him in a pivotal supporting role for his film American Graffiti (1973). Ford's relationship with Lucas would profoundly affect his career later on. After director Francis Ford Coppola's film The Godfather was a success, he hired Ford to expand his office and gave him small roles in his next two films, The Conversation (1974) and Apocalypse Now (1979); in the latter film he played an army officer named "G. Lucas." During this early period Ford often came to auditions directly from work still wearing his carpenter's clothes and gear, to subtly remind casting directors that he had other options in life.
Ford's carpentry work eventually landed him his first starring film role. In 1975, George Lucas hired him to read lines for actors auditioning for parts in the film Star Wars (1977). Lucas was eventually won over by Ford's portrayal, and cast him as Han Solo. Star Wars became one of the most successful movies of all time worldwide, and established Ford as a superstar. He went on to star in the similarly-successful Star Wars sequels, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), as well as Star Wars Holiday Special (1978). Ford wanted Lucas to kill off Han Solo at the end of Return of the Jedi, saying, "That would have given the whole film a bottom," but Lucas refused.
Ford's status as a leading actor was solidified when he starred as Indiana Jones in the George Lucas/Steven Spielberg collaboration Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Though Spielberg was interested in casting Ford in the lead role from the start, Lucas was not, due to having already worked with the actor in American Graffiti and Star Wars, but he eventually relented after Tom Selleck was unable to accept. Ford reprised the role for the prequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and the sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). He later returned to his role as Indiana Jones again for a 1993 episode of the television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and for the fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).
Other film work
Ford has been in other films, including Heroes (1977), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), and Hanover Street (1979). Ford also co-starred alongside Gene Wilder in the buddy-Western The Frisco Kid (1979), playing a bank robber with a heart of gold. He then starred as Rick Deckard in Ridley Scott's cult sci-fi classic Blade Runner (1982), and in a number of dramatic-action films: Peter Weir's Witness (1985) and The Mosquito Coast (1986), and Roman Polanski's Frantic (1988).
The 1990s brought Ford the role of Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy's Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994), as well as leading roles in Alan Pakula's Presumed Innocent (1990) and The Devil's Own (1997), Andrew Davis' The Fugitive (1993), Sydney Pollack's remake of Sabrina (1995), and Wolfgang Petersen's Air Force One (1997). Ford also played straight dramatic roles, including an adulterous husband in both Presumed Innocent (1990) and What Lies Beneath (2000), and a recovering amnesiac in Mike Nichols' Regarding Henry (1991).
Many of Ford's major film roles came to him by default through unusual circumstances: he won the role of Han Solo while reading lines for other actors, was cast as Indiana Jones because Tom Selleck was not available, and took the role of Jack Ryan supposedly due to Alec Baldwin's fee demands, although Baldwin disputes this (Baldwin had previously played the role in The Hunt for Red October).
Starting in the late 1990s, Ford appeared in several critically derided and commercially disappointing movies, including Six Days Seven Nights (1998), Random Hearts (1999), K-19: The Widowmaker (2002), Hollywood Homicide (2003), Firewall (2006), and Extraordinary Measures (2010). One exception was 2000's What Lies Beneath, which grossed over $155 million in the United States and $291 million worldwide.
In 2004, Ford declined a chance to star in the thriller Syriana, later commenting that "I didn't feel strongly enough about the truth of the material and I think I made a mistake." The role eventually went to George Clooney, who won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his work. Prior to that, he had passed on a role in another Stephen Gaghan-written role, Robert Wakefield in Traffic. That role went to Michael Douglas.
In 2008, Ford enjoyed success with the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, another collaboration between George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. The film received generally positive reviews and was the second highest-grossing film worldwide in 2008. He later said he would like to star in another sequel, "...if it didn't take another 20 years to digest."
Other 2008 work included Crossing Over, directed by Wayne Kramer. In the film, he plays an immigrations officer, working alongside Ashley Judd and Ray Liotta. He also narrated a feature documentary film about the Dalai Lama entitled Dalai Lama Renaissance.
Ford filmed the medical drama Extraordinary Measures in 2009 in Portland, Oregon. Released January 22, 2010, the film also starred Brendan Fraser and Alan Ruck. Also in 2010, he co-starred in the film Morning Glory, along with Patrick Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and Diane Keaton.
In July 2011, Ford starred alongside Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde in the science fiction Western film Cowboys & Aliens. Ford portrays Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde, a character who rules the town of Absolution with an iron fist. Ford and executive producer Steven Spielberg did not want to have the character wear a cowboy hat because they were worried that it would remind audiences of the Indiana Jones films. Ford described his character as a "grumpy old man." To promote the film, Ford made his first appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con International, being led onstage in handcuffs by two security guards, giving the audience the impression that he was being dragged to Comic-Con against his will. However, the actor's arrival involuntarily referred to an actual assault that occurred shortly before the presentation of the film, after which the alleged assailant was taken away in handcuffs. Ford received a long standing ovation as he joined his co-stars, and, apparently surprised by the warm welcome, told the audience, "I just wanted to make a living as an actor. I didn't know about this."
In 2011, Ford starred in Japanese commercials advertising the video game Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception for the PlayStation 3. In it, he can be seen playing the game whilst appearing amazed and praising it. In 2013, Ford co-starred in the corporate espionage thriller Paranoia, with Liam Hemsworth and Gary Oldman, and directed by Robert Luketic.
Marriages and family
Ford is one of Hollywood's most private actors, guarding his personal life. He has two sons (Benjamin and Willard) with his first wife, Mary Marquardt, as well as two children (Malcolm and Georgia) with his second wife, screenwriter Melissa Mathison.
Ford began dating actress Calista Flockhart after meeting at the 2002 Golden Globes, and together they are parents to her adopted son, Liam. Ford proposed to Flockhart over Valentine's Day weekend in 2009. They married on June 15, 2010, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Ford was filming Cowboys & Aliens.
Ford has three grandchildren: Eliel (born 1993), Giuliana (born 1997), and Ethan (born 2000). Son Benjamin owns Ford's Filling Station, a gastropub in Culver City, California. Son Willard is co-owner of Ford & Ching showroom, as well as Ludwig Clothing company.
Chin and back injury
Ford injured his chin at the age of 22 when his car, a Volvo 544, hit a telephone pole near Laguna Beach, CA; the scar is clearly visible in his films. Two films starring Ford incorporate the scar into his character's backstory: in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a young Indiana Jones cuts his chin while attempting to crack a whip to ward off a lion, and in Working Girl, Ford's character explains that it happened when he passed out and hit his chin on the toilet when a college girlfriend was piercing his ear.
In June 1983, at age 40, during the filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in London, he herniated a disc in his back, forcing him to fly back to Los Angeles for an operation. He returned six weeks later.
Ford is a private pilot of both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and owns an 800-acre (3.2 km2) ranch in Jackson, Wyoming, approximately half of which he has donated as a nature reserve. On several occasions, Ford has personally provided emergency helicopter services at the behest of local authorities, in one instance rescuing a hiker overcome by dehydration.
Ford began flight training in the 1960s at Wild Rose Idlewild Airport in Wild Rose, Wisconsin, flying in a Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer, but at $15 an hour he was unable to continue the training. In the mid-1990s, he bought a used Gulfstream II and asked one of his pilots, Terry Bender, to give him flying lessons. They started flying a Cessna 182 out of Jackson, Wyoming, later switching to Teterboro, New Jersey, flying a Cessna 206, the aircraft he soloed in.
On October 23, 1999, Harrison Ford was involved in the crash of a Bell 206L4 LongRanger helicopter (N36R). The NTSB accident report states that Ford was piloting the aircraft over the Lake Piru riverbed near Santa Clarita, California, on a routine training flight. While making his second attempt at an autorotation with powered recovery Ford allowed the aircraft's altitude to drop to 150–200 feet before beginning power up. As a result the aircraft was unable to recover power before hitting the ground. The aircraft landed hard and began skidding forward in the loose gravel before one of its skids struck a partially embedded log and flipped onto its side. Neither Ford nor the instructor pilot suffered any injuries, though the helicopter was seriously damaged. When asked about the incident by fellow pilot James Lipton in an interview on the TV show Inside the Actor's Studio Ford replied, "I broke it."
Ford keeps his aircraft at Santa Monica Airport, though the Bell 407 is often kept and flown in Jackson, Wyoming, and has been used by the actor in two mountain rescues during the actor's assigned duty time assisting the Teton County Search and Rescue. On one of the rescues Ford recovered a hiker who had become lost and disoriented. She boarded Ford's Bell 407 and promptly vomited into one of the rescuers' caps, unaware of who the pilot was until much later; "I can't believe I barfed in Harrison Ford's helicopter!" she said later.
Ford flies his de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver (N28S) more than any of his other aircraft, and although he dislikes showing favoritism, he has repeatedly stated that he likes this aircraft and the sound of its Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engine. Ford first encountered the Beaver while filming Six Days Seven Nights, and soon purchased one. Kenmore Air in Kenmore, Washington, restored Ford's yellow and green Beaver — a junked former U.S. military aircraft — with updated avionics and an upgraded engine. According to Ford, it had been flown in the CIA's Air America operations, and was riddled with bullet holes that had to be patched up. He uses it regularly for impromptu fly-ins at remote airports and bush strips, as well as gatherings with other Beaver owners and pilots.
In March 2004, Ford officially became chairman of the Young Eagles program of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). Ford was asked to take the position by Greg Anderson, Senior Vice President of the EAA at the time, to replace General Charles "Chuck" Yeager who was vacating the post that he had held for many years. Ford at first was hesitant, but later accepted the offer and has made appearances with the Young Eagles at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh gathering at Oshkosh, Wisconsin for two years. In July 2005, at the gathering in Oshkosh Ford agreed to accept the position for another two years. Ford has flown over 280 children as part of the Young Eagles program, usually in his DHC-2 Beaver, which can seat the actor and five children. Ford is involved with the EAA chapter in Driggs, Idaho, just over the mountains from Jackson, Wyoming.
- Aircraft owned
||This section of a biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)|
In September 2013, Ford while filming an environmental documentary in Indonesia interviewed the Indonesian Forestry Minister Mr Zulkifli Hasan. After the interview Presidential Advisor Mr Andi Arief accused Ford and his crew of "harassing state institutions" and publicly threatened them with deportation. Questions within the interview concerned the Tesso Nilo National Park, Sumatra. It was alleged the Minister of Forestry was given no prior warning of questions nor the chance to explain the challenges of catching people with illegal logging. Ford was provided an audience with the Indonesian President, Mr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whereby he expressed concerns regarding Indonesia's environmental degradation and the government efforts to address climate change. In response the President explained Indonesia's commitment to preserving its oceans and forests.
In 1993, the arachnologist Norman Platnick named a new species of spider Calponia harrisonfordi, and in 2002, the entomologist Edward O. Wilson named a new ant species Pheidole harrisonfordi (in recognition of Harrison's work as Vice Chairman of Conservation International).
Since 1992, Ford has lent his voice to a series of public service messages promoting environmental involvement for EarthShare, an American federation of environmental and conservation charities.
On September 7, 1995, Ford testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of the Dalai Lama and an independent Tibet. In 2008, he narrated the documentary Dalai Lama Renaissance.
In 2003, he publicly condemned the Iraq War and called for "regime change" in the United States. He also criticized Hollywood for making violent movies, and called for more gun control in the United States. He opposed the recall of California Governor Gray Davis, and stated in an interview that replacing Davis with Arnold Schwarzenegger would be a mistake.
Following on his success portraying the archaeologist Indiana Jones, Ford also plays a part in supporting the work of professional archaeologists. He serves as a General Trustee on the Governing Board of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), North America's oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology. Ford assists them in their mission of increasing public awareness of archaeology and preventing looting and the illegal antiquities trade.
Ford volunteered as a food server. On November 21, 2007, Ford and other celebrities, including Kirk Douglas, Nia Long and Calista Flockhart, helped serve hot meals to the homeless at the annual Thanksgiving feast at the Los Angeles Mission.
Ford received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor for Witness, for which he also received "Best Actor" BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. He received the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2002 Golden Globe Awards and on June 2, 2003, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has received three additional "Best Actor" Golden Globe nominations for The Mosquito Coast, The Fugitive and Sabrina.
In 2006, Ford was awarded the Jules Verne Spirit of Nature Award for his work in nature and wildlife preservation. The ceremony took place at the historic Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.
He received the first ever Hero Award for his many iconic roles, including Han Solo and Indiana Jones, at the 2007 Scream Awards, and in 2008, the Spike TV's Guy's Choice Award for Brass Balls.
Harrison Ford received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2000.
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Harrison Ford|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Harrison Ford.|
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- Dawson, Angela (June 12, 2003). "Harrison Ford: Hollywood loved him even before they knew him". E. W. Scripps Company. Archived from the original on February 27, 2005. Retrieved March 19, 2006.
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