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Harrison Ford

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Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford
Ford in January 2002
Born (1942-07-13) July 13, 1942
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1966–present
Spouse(s) Mary Marquardt (m. 1964–79)
Melissa Mathison (m. 1983–2004)
Calista Flockhart (m. 2010)
Children 5
Relatives Terence Ford (brother)

Harrison Ford (born July 13, 1942) is an American actor. He gained worldwide fame for his starring roles 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.[1] Seven of his films have been inducted into the National Film Registry: American Graffiti (1973), The Conversation (1974), Star Wars (1977), Apocalypse Now (1979), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Blade Runner (1982).

In 1997, Ford was ranked No. 1 in Empire '​s "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. As of July 2008, the US domestic box office grosses of Ford's films total over US$3.5 billion, with worldwide grosses surpassing $6 billion, making Ford the 4th highest grossing U.S. domestic box-office star.[2] Ford is married to actress Calista Flockhart.

Early life

Ford was born July 13, 1942, at Chicago, Illinois's Swedish Covenant Hospital.[3] 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.[4][5] 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.[4] Ford's maternal grandparents, Harry Nidelman and Anna Lifschutz, were Jewish immigrants from Minsk, Belarus (at that time a part of the Russian Empire).[4] When asked in which religion he and his brother were raised, Ford has jokingly responded, "Democrat,"[6] "to be liberals of every stripe".[7] 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."[8][9]

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,[8] and he was its first sportscaster during his senior year (1959–60). He attended Ripon College in Wisconsin,[8] 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.[10] Ford, a self-described "late bloomer,"[11] became fascinated with acting.

Early career

In 1964, after a season of summer stock with the Belfry Players in Wisconsin,[12] Ford traveled to 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[8] 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 American Graffiti (1973).[8] 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.

Milestone franchises

Star Wars

Harrison Ford's carpentry work for George Lucas eventually landed him his first starring film role, when he was hired by Lucas to read lines for actors auditioning for parts in his then-upcoming film Star Wars (1977). Lucas was eventually won over by Ford's performance during these line reads and cast him as Han Solo.[14] Star Wars became one of the most successful movies of all time worldwide and established Ford as a superstar.[8] 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 the 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.[15]

Ford will reprise the role of Solo for the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).[16] During filming on June 11, 2014, Ford suffered what is said to be a fractured ankle when a hydraulic door fell on him. He was rushed to the hospital for treatment.[17] Ford's son Ben released details on his father's injury, saying that his ankle will likely need a plate and screws and that filming could be altered slightly with the crew needing to shoot Ford from the waist up for a short time until he recovers.[18] Ford made his return to filming in mid-August after a two month layoff as he recovered from his injury.[19][20]

Indiana Jones

Ford with Chandran Rutnam on the set of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom which was shot in Kandy, Sri Lanka in 1983

Ford's status as a leading actor was solidified when he starred as globe-trotting archeologist [8] Though Spielberg was interested in casting Ford 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.[8][21]

Ford went on to reprise the role of Jones for the prequel Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and the sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).[8] He returned to the role yet again for a 1993 episode of the television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and even later 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).[8]

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).[8]

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).

Recent roles

Ford in 2007

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.[22]

In 2004, Ford declined a chance to star in the thriller 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 Lucas/Spielberg collaboration. The film received generally positive reviews and was the second highest-grossing film worldwide in 2008.[24] He later said he would like to star in another sequel, "...if it didn't take another 20 years to digest."[25]

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.[26][27] He also narrated a feature documentary film about the Dalai Lama entitled Dalai Lama Renaissance.[28]

Ford filmed the medical drama Extraordinary Measures[29] 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.[30]

In July 2011, Ford starred alongside Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde in the science fiction Western film Cowboys & Aliens. To promote the film, Ford appeared at the San Diego Comic-Con International, 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."[31]

In 2011, Ford starred in Japanese commercials advertising the video game Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception for the PlayStation 3. In 2013, Ford co-starred in the corporate espionage thriller Paranoia, with Liam Hemsworth and Gary Oldman, and directed by Robert Luketic.[32] as well as Ender's Game, 42, and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

Personal life

Marriages and family

Ford is one of Hollywood's most private actors,[8] 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.[33] They married on June 15, 2010, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Ford was filming Cowboys & Aliens.[34]

Ford has three grandchildren: Eliel (born 1993), Giuliana (born 1997), and Ethan (born 2000).[35] Son Benjamin owns Ford's Filling Station, a gastropub in Culver City, California.[36][37][38][39] Son Willard is co-owner of Ford & Ching showroom, as well as Ludwig Clothing company.[40]

Back injury

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.[41]

Ankle injury

On June 11, 2014, Ford injured his ankle during filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He was airlifted to John Radcliffe Hospital.[42] Ford's wife soon traveled from the U.S. to be at his hospital bedside as it was feared that injuries sustained on the set could be worse than previously thought. Doctors suspected that his ankle might have been broken and he might have received a pelvic injury. Producers stated that filming would continue as planned.[43]


Ford in 2010

Ford is a private pilot of both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters,[8] 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.[44]

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.[45] 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.[46]

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.[47] 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."[48]

External video
Ford's Bell 407GX

Ford keeps his aircraft at Santa Monica Airport,[49] 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.[50]

Ford flies his de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver (N28S) more than any of his other aircraft, and he has repeatedly stated that he likes this aircraft and the sound of its Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engine.[51] 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.[52]

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 Teton Range from Jackson, Wyoming.

As of 2009, Ford appears in Web advertisements for General Aviation Serves America, a campaign by advocacy group AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association).[53]

Ford is an Honorary Board Member of the humanitarian aviation organization Wings of Hope.[54]


Environmental causes

Ford is vice-chair of Conservation International.[55]

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.[56][57][58][59] Ford was provided an audience with the Indonesian President, Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, during which 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.[60][61]

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).[62]

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.

Ford has been a spokesperson for Yosemite National Park's Hetch Hetchy Valley to its original condition.[63]

Ford appears in the documentary series "Years of Living Life Dangerously", which provides reports on those affected by, and seeking solutions to climate change.[64]

Political views

Like his parents, Ford is a lifelong Democrat,[65] and a close friend of former President Bill Clinton.[26]

On September 7, 1995, Ford testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of the Dalai Lama and an independent Tibet.[66][67] 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.[68]


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[69] 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.

Community work

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.[70]


Ford's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

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.

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.[71][72]

Ford has also been honored multiple times for his involvement in general aviation, receiving the Living Legends of Aviation Award and EAA's Freedom of Flight Award in 2009,[73][74] Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy in 2010,[75] and the Al Ueltschi Humanitarian Award in 2013.[76] In 2013, Flying magazine ranked him number 48 on their list of the 51 Heroes of Aviation.[77]

Harrison Ford received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2000.[78]

Year Nominated work Award Result
1977 Star Wars Saturn Award for Best Actor Nominated
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark Saturn Award for Best Actor Won
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Saturn Award for Best Actor Nominated
1985 Witness Academy Award for Best Actor Nominated
1985 Witness BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
1985 Witness Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama Nominated
1986 Mosquito Coast, TheThe Mosquito Coast Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama Nominated
1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Saturn Award for Best Actor Nominated
1993 Fugitive, TheThe Fugitive Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama Nominated
1993 Fugitive, TheThe Fugitive MTV Movie Award for Best Performance - Male Nominated
1995 Sabrina Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nominated
1997 Air Force One MTV Movie Award for Best Fight Nominated
1998 Six Days Seven Nights People's Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture Actor Won
1999 Random Hearts People's Choice Award for Favorite Movie Star Won
2000 What Lies Beneath People's Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture Actor Nominated
2008 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Movie Star Nominated
2008 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Saturn Award for Best Actor Nominated
2011 Cowboys & Aliens Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2013 42 Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Nominated
2013 42 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2013 42 St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated



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  69. ^ "About the AIA".  
  70. ^ Schou, Solvej (November 21, 2007). "Celebs Serve Holiday Meals to Homeless". The Washington Post.  
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  72. ^ "Guys Choice". PR Inside. 
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  78. ^ "AFI Life Achievement Award". Retrieved 17 February 2012. 

External links

Preceded by
Alec Baldwin
Jack Ryan Actor
Succeeded by
Ben Affleck
Preceded by
David Janssen
Dr Richard Kimble Actor
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Timothy Daly
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George Clooney
People '​s Sexiest Man Alive
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Richard Gere
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