"I used to shake my head, as in 'No, I just look like him.' But that's not fair. So I said to those little old ladies at Treneton airport, 'Yes, I am Harrison Ford.' And they still didn't believe it was me.” Harrison Ford
One of the most bankable movie stars ever, Harrison Ford starred in two of the biggest box office successes of the 20th century. He starred as Han Solo in George Lucas’ Star Wars films (1977, 1980, and 1983) and as the archaeologist adventurer Indiana Jones in Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, also in its sequels in 1984 and 1989). He received an Oscar nomination for starring in Witness (1985) and a Golden Globe nomination for The Fugitive (1993). National Association of Theater Owners’ Star of the Century (1994), Ford is widely remembered for starring in such successful films as Blade Runner (1982), The Mosquito Coast (1986), Presumed Innocent (1990), Patriot Games (1992), Clear and Present Danger (1994), The Devil's Own (1997), Air Force One (1997), Six Days Seven Nights (1998) and What Lies Beneath (2000).
The 2000 American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award recipient recently acted in K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) and Hollywood Homicide (2003). He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May of 2003 and is currently scheduled to complete his upcoming films: Firewall, Godspeed, Manhunt and Indiana Jones 4.
6' 1" tall, ruggedly handsome, tightlipped Harrison Ford was one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” (1997) and “Sexiest Man Alive” (1998). He was also listed in Empire magazine’s “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History” (1995) and became Empire (UK) magazine's No. 1 on "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" (1997) list. On a more personal note, two-time married Ford is currently dating the much younger actress, Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart (since 2002).
"Surely, my most intimate relationship outside of my children is with her. And that meant a great deal to me." Harrison Ford (on Calista Flockhart).
Childhood and Family:
Son of an Irish-Catholic father (Christopher Ford, former actor; died on February 10, 1999) and a Russian-Jewish mother (Dorothy Ford), Harrison Ford II was born on July 12, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois. He was raised in Park Ridge and Morton Grove, Illinois, suburbs of Chicago, along with brother Terence Ford (actor; born on April 21, 1945; married Los Angeles TV executive Terri Guitron in 1987; divorced in 1991).
A mediocre student at Maine Township High School in Park Ridge Illinois (no athletic star, never above a C average), Ford studied English at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin, which he eventually left one month before graduating due to his low grades. Ford was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity in college.
Until the 1970s, Harrison was billed as Harrison J. Ford (he actually has no middle name) for less confusion between he and silent-screen actor Harrison Ford. In 1964, he married college sweetheart Mary Marquardt (now is in the advanced stages of multiple sclerosis), but they divorced in 1979. Four years later, on March 14, 1983, Ford tied the knot with screenwriter Melissa Mathison (born on June 3, 1950; wrote screenplay for The Black Stallion, E.T. and The Escape Artist) in Los Angeles. The couple separated in August 2001 and divorced in January 2004, which became a record-breaking divorce settlement (Ford reportedly paid Mathison $85 million).
"My greatest regret is the failure of my first marriage and the pain it caused. I made mistakes in my youth I'd rather not admit to. I've changed." Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford is a father of four: sons Malcolm (born March 10, 1987; mother: Melissa Mathison), Willard (teacher; born May 14, 1969; mother: Mary Ford), Benjamin (chef; born on September 22, 1967; mother: Mary Ford) and daughter Georgia (born on June 30, 1990; mother: Melissa Mathison). He also has one grandson.
A private pilot of both planes and helicopters, Ford owns an 800 acre ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, approximately half of which he has donated as a nature preserve. He also has a species of spiders named after him. He is the current Chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagle program (taking over after Chuck Yeager retired) and gives of his time and money for environmental causes. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Conservation International.
Fireman’s Old Shoes
"I'm like a fireman. When I go out on a call, I want to put out a big fire; I don't want to put out a fire in a dumpster." Harrison Ford
Making his professional debut in a variety of musicals and dramas in summer stock in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, in 1963, Harrison Ford moved to Laguna Beach, California, the next year and appeared in a local production of "John Brown's Body." He landed a contract with Columbia Pictures at $150 per week, where he played bit parts in three films. His film acting debut was a one-line appearance as a bellboy in writer-director Bernard Girard's crime comedy Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966, starring James Coburn), which was followed with bit parts in 1967’s Luv and A Time for Killing.
In 1968, Ford moved to Universal Studios, where he did minor television roles in such series as “The Virginian” and “Ironside.” He was also featured in William Hale's adaptation of Heck Allen's novel, the Western drama Journey to Shiloh (1968, starring James Caan).
Being unsatisfied with his acting jobs, Ford gave up acting and became a self-taught professional carpenter. He built Sergio Mendes' $100,000 recording studio and the elaborate entrance for Francis Ford Coppola's offices at Goldwyn Studios. He also returned to film, acting in his first major success, George Lucas' drama comedy American Graffiti (1973, starring Richard Dreyfuss).
Ford’s life would change forever after director George Lucas hired Ford in 1975 to build some cabinets in his home and then used him to read lines for actors being cast for parts in Star Wars. The renowned filmmaker thought that Ford was the right person to play the roguish, sarcastic mercenary Han Solo in his stunning sci-fi masterpiece Star Wars (1977). Ford found himself playing the breakthrough role and sharing the screen with such actors as Alec Guinness, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing. The film was arguably one of the most inventive and entertaining films ever made and instantly catapulted Ford’s name towards stardom. Han Solo ranked number 14 on the American Film Institute's top 200 list of “Cinema's Greatest Heroes.” Ford later reprised his role in its following sequels, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).
"It's a little-known fact, but I wanted Han Solo to die at the end of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). I thought it would give more weight and resonance. But George Lucas wasn't sympathetic. He didn't want me killed by those teddy bear guys." Harrison Ford
Following the victory of Star Wars, Ford landed roles in films like Heroes (1977), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Hanover Street, Apocalypse Now, and The Frisco Kid (all three in 1979). He also snagged the feature starring role of swashbuckling archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones in Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, executive produced by Lucas). The ultimate adventure film became a box-office hit and once again tossed Ford’s status toward prominence. He continued to play the ultimate heroic role in its following installments, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).
"Indiana Jones is always getting in way over his head and just barely getting out by the skin of his teeth." Harrison Ford
The rising star was offered more roles in the subsequent year. Ridley Scott gave him the role of jaded ex-cop Rick Deckard, opposite Daryl Hannah, in his Oscar nominated film based on the novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick, Blade Runner (1982). Being asked about the film, Ford commented, "It could have been so much more than a cult movie."
Detective Capt. John Book, a Philadelphia cop who knows too much, was Ford's first famous breaking role from the science fiction and fantasy genres. He played the character in Peter Weir's first Hollywood film, Witness (1985), which earned Ford an Oscar nomination as Best Actor. The next year, Ford reunited with Weir to star as an eccentric and dogmatic inventor in his adaptation of Paul Theroux's novel, the adventure drama The Mosquito Coast (with Helen Mirren and River Phoenix). He also played an American heart surgeon and the husband of Betty Buckley's character in Roman Polanski’s suspenseful film Frantic and did a comic turn as an investment banker, opposite Melanie Griffith, in Mike Nichols' workplace comedy Working Girl (both in 1988).
In the early 1990s, Ford starred as a prosecuting attorney in Alan J Pakula's disturbing murder mystery based on the Scott Turrow best-selling novel, Presumed Innocent and teamed again with Mike Nichols, playing the title role of a wealthy, high-powered, successful Manhattan lawyer and the husband of Annette Bening's character, in Regarding Henry. He also assumed CIA analyst Jack Ryan’s persona (replacing Alec Baldwin) in the second blockbuster movie of a Tom Clancy novel, Phillip Noyce's Patriot Games (1992) and in its 1994 sequel, Clear and Present Danger.
Ford was forced to go on the run after being falsely accused of killing his wife in Sir Andrew Davis' The Fugitive (1993) and played the serious older son, Linus Larrabee (originated by Humphrey Bogart), in Sydney Pollack's ill-advised remake of Samuel A. Taylor’s play, Sabrina (1995, alongside Julia Ormond). As for the Star Wars movie, all three Star Wars pictures were successfully re-released in 1997. That same year, Ford starred as an Irish-American cop, opposite Brad Pitt (played an Irish terrorist) in Alan J. Pakula's thriller The Devil's Own and became the President of the United States in Wolfgang Petersen's Air Force One. Ford also played a grizzled pilot, opposite Anne Heche, in Ivan Reitman's romantic comedy Six Days, Seven Nights (1998) and starred as a widower cop obsessed with learning details of his late wife's affair in Sydney Pollack's plane-crash drama, adopted from Warren Adler's novel, Random Hearts (1999).
The new millennium saw Ford playing the husband of Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in Robert Zemeckis' Hitchcock-type suspense/thriller What Lies Beneath (2000, produced by DreamWorks, Spielberg's studio with David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg) and reportedly received $25 million to star as the unyielding Captain Alexi Vostrikov, the leader of USSR's first nuclear ballistic submarine, in Kathryn Bigelow's true-story based, K-19: The Widowmaker (2002). While representing the film at the 59th Venice Film Festival, Ford said, "I'm proud to be here to represent the film. I do not consider the box-office showing to be a true measure of the effect of the film. I think it's going to be around a long, long time."
Ford costarred with Josh Hartnett to play two LAPD homicide detectives in Ron Shelton’s action comedy Hollywood Homicide and recently starred as Jethro the Bus Driver in writer-director Willie McMillon's short action Water to Wine (V). As for his upcoming films, Ford will star in Richard Loncraine's crime action Firewall, a sci-fi thriller written by Ryne Douglas Pearson, Godspeed, and the drama Manhunt, playing the leader of the hunt for Abraham Lincoln's assassin. He is also set to reprise the role of famous character Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones 4, slated for a 2007 release.
"I'm like old shoes. I've never been hip. I think the reason I'm still here is that I was never enough in fashion that I had to be replaced by something new." Harrison Ford
Young Hollywood: Role Model Award, 2003
World Stunt: Taurus Honorary Award, 2003
Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Actor - Suspense, What Lies Beneath, 2001
Golden Globe: Cecil B. DeMille Award, 2001
People's Choice: Favorite Motion Picture Actor, 2000
American Film Institute: Lifetime Achievement, 2000
People's Choice: All-Time Favorite Motion Picture Performer, 1999
People's Choice: Favorite Actor in a Motion Picture, 1998
Bambi: Film - International, Air Force One, 1997
Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films: Lifetime Achievement Award, 1996
Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Actor - Action, On Video, Clear And Present Danger, 1995
National Association of Theater Owners: Box-Office Star of the Century, 1994
MTV Movie: Best Onscreen Duo, The Fugitive, 1993