Paul Ford

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For other people named Paul Ford, see Paul Ford (disambiguation).
Paul Ford
Paul Ford Baileys of Balboa 1964.jpg
Ford as Sam Bailey in The Baileys of Balboa, 1964.
Born Paul Ford Weaver
(1901-11-02)November 2, 1901
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Died April 12, 1976(1976-04-12) (aged 74)
Mineola, New York, U.S.
Resting place
Cremated
Occupation Actor
Years active 1945–1974

Paul Ford (born Paul Ford Weaver; November 2, 1901 – April 12, 1976) was an American character actor who came to specialize in authority figures whose ineptitude and pompous demeanor were played for comic effect.

Biography[edit]

Ford was born in Baltimore, Maryland. At a young age, he showed an adept talent for performance, but was discouraged when directors thought he was tone-deaf. However, in later years, he made his hollow, reverberating voice one of the most recognized of his era. His success was long in the making, and he did little acting, but instead raised his family during the Great Depression.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Public Works programs provided Ford with work, and to the day he died, he was a passionate Democrat. Ford auditioned for a play under his birth name, but did not get the part. Later, he dropped his surname and was known professionally as Paul Ford.

Ford became an "overnight" success at age 54 when he played Colonel John T. Hall opposite Phil Silvers on Silvers' The Phil Silvers Show TV show (often known as Sergeant Bilko or just Bilko). His signature role may well be the part of Mayor George Shinn, a befuddled politico in the film adaptation of the Broadway show The Music Man. Ford played the role straight, and received glowing reviews.The other role he is most identified with is that of Horace Vandergelder opposite the Dolly Levi of Shirley Booth in the 1958 screen version of The Matchmaker. Ford had an active career in both films and television until his retirement in the early 1970s.

Despite being a respected Broadway character actor, Ford was notorious for being unable to remember his lines. This would alternately cause difficulty forcing him and those around him to improvise. This became especially notable on The Phil Silvers Show.

He appeared in the 1962–1963 season in the CBS anthology The Lloyd Bridges Show. He starred in The Baileys of Balboa, which lasted only one season (1964–1965).

His stage credits include Another Part of the Forest (1946), Command Decision (1947), The Teahouse of the August Moon (1953), Whoop-Up (1958), replacing David Burns as Mayor Shinn in The Music Man (1957), A Thurber Carnival (1960), Never Too Late (1962), 3 Bags Full (1966) and What Did We Do Wrong? (1967).

Most actors who worked with Ford claimed he was a kindly and very funny man. He was known for his quotes about the Depression in later years, including, "My kids used to think everyone lived on peanut butter sandwiches."

Paul Ford died of a heart attack at age 74 in 1976.[1] His final role prior to his death was a Washington Doctor in Richard.

Partial filmography[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]