Harrison Ford (born July 13, 1942) is an American actor who between 1977 and 1983 appeared in what were then four of the top ten highest-grossing movies ever.
In most of his roles, Ford plays a tough, wise-cracking action hero, and is especially well known for his repeated performances of the characters of Han Solo of the Star Wars films, and Indiana Jones of Raiders of the Lost Ark and its sequels.
Ford was born in Chicago, Illinois. His mother, Dorothy Ford was a Russian Jew, while his father, Christopher Ford , was Irish and Roman Catholic (and a former actor). He graduated from Maine Township High School in Park Ridge, Illinois in 1960 where he reportedly was picked on by bullies and ignored by girls. He attended Ripon College in Wisconsin, where he took a drama class in his junior year. Ford, a self-described "late bloomer," became fascinated with acting. While in college, towards the end of his freshman year, he was a member of a folk band called The Brothers Gross . He played the gutbucket (an upside down washbucket rigged with a broomstick and a single bass string).
He married his college sweetheart, Mary Marquardt , in 1964. Ford (and his new wife) moved to Los Angeles, California, and he contracted with Columbia Pictures for $150 a week in the studio's New Talent program where he had bit parts in three films. He then went to Universal Studios and did minor television roles. Not happy with the acting jobs being offered to him, Ford became a self-taught professional carpenter to better support his wife and two small sons before his break through role in American Graffiti. Coincidentally it was his work as a carpenter that would land Ford his biggest role. George Lucas hired Ford in 1975 to build some cabinets for his house and used him to read lines for actors being cast for parts in Star Wars. It was Steven Spielberg who first noticed that Ford was perfect for the part of Han Solo.
Ford went on to star as Han Solo in the first three Star Wars films. He starred as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark and two further movies, and as Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy's Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. He has also starred in Blade Runner, Witness, The Fugitive (1993), and the remake of Sabrina, among others.
Ford's major film roles have all come to him by default - Han Solo due to him reading in for other actors, Indiana Jones due to Tom Selleck not being available and Jack Ryan due to Alec Baldwin's fee demands.
The Guinness Book of Records (2001) listed Ford as the richest actor alive. His reported salary for the 2002 movie K-19: The Widowmaker was over $25,000,000. Despite being arguably the most successful actor of his generation, he has received only one Oscar nomination, for Best Actor for Witness. However, in 2000, he received the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.
Ford assisted musician Jimmy Buffett by recording whip cracks (a skill learned for Raiders of the Lost Ark) used in the song "Desperation Samba (Halloween in Tijuana) ."
Ford was credited as "Harrison J. Ford" for a small role in a 1967 Western A Time for Killing, but the "J" didn't stand for anything. Ford does not have a middle name. He was credited as such to avoid confusion with another actor named Harrison Ford, a silent-film actor who died in 1957. The first Ford has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of famed eatery Musso & Frank. The modern-day Harrison Ford received a star on Hollywood Boulevard on June 2, 2003.
Ford has been married twice. He married Mary Marquadt in 1964 and divorced in, 1979, and had two children with her, Benjamin and Willard. He married again, to Melissa Mathison, in 1983, divorcing in 2003, and had with her another two children, a son, Malcom, and a daughter, Georgia. He is engaged to actress Calista Flockhart.
Ford is a private pilot of both planes and helicopters, and owns an 800 acre (3.2 km²) ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. On several occasions he has personally provided emergency helicopter services at the behest of local authorities. In one instance, he rescued a hiker overcome by dehydration. He is the current Chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagle program, taking over after Chuck Yeager retired. Ford also gives of his time and money for environmental causes. He sits on the Board of Directors of Conservation International .
He dislikes public speaking but once appeared before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on behalf of the people of Tibet. His goal was to prevent China from gaining Most Favored Nation because of the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
- K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) - $25,000,000 + 20% of the Gross
- What Lies Beneath (2000) - $20,000,000
- Random Hearts (1999) - $20,000,000
- Six Days Seven Nights (1998) - $20,000,000
- Air Force One (1997) - $22,000,000
- Devil's Own, The (1997) - $20,000,000
- Presumed Innocent (1990) - $12,500,000
- American Graffiti (1973) - $500/week
Last updated: 05-15-2005 14:02:00