(Source : The Harrison Ford Worship Page)
URL : www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/9355/
Harrison Ford was born on July 13, 1942 in Chicago. In the words of Ford himself, there was not one thing unusual about his upbringing. He was a typical product of the Midwest born into a typical middle class family.
Something of note about Ford's early life: He didn't enjoy going to the movies. He was perpetually unaffected by films and never was a serious fan, although he and his younger brother Terrence went often when he was younger. When Harrison reached his teen years, the only reason he saw movies at all was for dating purposes.
Ford was a typical high school misfit. A quiet, shy, boy, he was always a loner thoughout his youth. But of course, as with all people who don't fit in, he was bullied endlessly. In his own words, "I was kind of a runty kid. The boys would get together and throw me over the edge of the parking lot into the weeds every day at recess."
Although Ford remained fairly shy, he became more accessible as his teenage years progressed, going to parties and joining school activities. However, he remained a loner and was never popular with girls.
Ford graduated from high school in 1960 and went on to college, not of any driving ambition to do so, but because it was expected of him by his teachers. He attended a small liberal arts school, Ripon College, in Wisconsin. Being lazy and unmotivated academically, he did not do well, always near failure. After failing to complete a thesis on playwright Edward Alby, Ford was booted out of Ripon - three days before graduation.
One good thing did come out of Ford's college nightmare, however; he started taking drama courses. Being shy, this was an especially bold step for him to take. He was terrified by acting, having had the wits scared out of him in his first stage appearance. But he became addicted to acting, and it put an end to the thought of a dreary future as a working-class individual. During the summer of 1964, he join the Belfry Players for a season of summer stock.
On June 26, 1964, Harrison Ford made his professional acting debut. Neither he nor anyone else knew exactly how far this would go. Harrison was hardly looking for superstardom.
Ford headed to the West Coast with his college sweetheart and soon-to-be wife, Mary Marquardt, to seek work as an actor. It would be a difficult task. Harrison knew little about acting, besides the fact that you had to to go Hollywood to get the work. The height of his ambition was to be a TV actor.
While working many different day jobs, the primary one being being a pizza chef, Ford searched for work as an actor. He didn't get much of it, save for a seven year contract with Columbia Studios for $150 a week he got after being recognized at the Laguna Beach Playhouse by a Columbia agent, who seemed to be the only person who understood the talent of Harrison Ford.
The young actor's first actual movie was Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round. He had a grand total of three lines: Paging Mr. Jones, Mr. Jones, and Paging Mr. Jones again. It was hardly an impressive screen debut. After playing numerous bit parts in movies, such as his mercifully small part as a hippie in Luv, he was booted from his Columbia contract, because he, in the words of a Columbia executive, had no acting talent. Harrison was hardly sorry; the Columbia execs had wanted him to change his, saying Harrison was 'too pretentious.' He then, in 1967, signed a similar contract with Universal Studios, which had a different policy than Columbia - they would try to get their contracted actors into television roles. Although he got numerous (admittedly small) television roles in shows like The Partridge Family, Gunsmoke, Kung Fu, and The Virginian, acting just wasn't paying the rent for his family, which now included his newborn son Benjamin. In 1974, he turned his back on acting and became a full-time carpenter, learning the required carpentry skills out of books he got from the library, and then practicing them on his new house. He enjoyed his new profession.
Ford became, in effect, "carpenter to the stars". After his first job, building a recording studio for Brazilian composer Sergio Mendes, word spread. Most of his jobs were for people in showbiz. When the money started to come in, he began to accept acting jobs again, not so much to pay the rent, but because he wanted to.
Finally, Harrison's big break came. One of his clients, Fred Roos, was a casting director at Universal, who had just been appointed to an unknown director named George Lucas for a film called American Graffiti. Roos got Ford the part of Bob Falfa for $500 a week. The film was the surprise smash of 1973, and Ford found himself moving up in the acting world. Roos gave Ford another job idea: the part of the smuggler Han Solo.
Ford had no illusions about getting a part in Star Wars. But by some increadibly strange twist a fate, he ended up installing an entrance at Goldwyn studios, the exact same location where George Lucas was hold interviews for Star Wars.
Ford hadn't been high on George Lucas's list of candidates to play Han Solo. But three or four days before the final casting decisions, Ford was asked to read the part of Han with the actresses up for the part of Princess Leia. When Lucas called Ford to ask him to read, Ford was working at the home of Sally Kellerman. When Ford recieved the call, he left Sally's house so fast he left all his tools and his overalls behind. Kellerman still has them on display today. To Harrison's disbelief, Lucas gave him the part.
Ford had an enjoyable time during the shooting of Star Wars. After the Tatooine desert scenes were shot in Tunisia, the crew moved to London. Although he remained true to his reserved personality, Ford did have a great time during the shooting. He carried out a wide array of practical jokes which made the English crew think he was insane. Ford was fairly unrepentant about this, however.
His future as an actor was sealed when Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977. It was a box office smash and a merchandiser's dream, doing better than Lucas or anyone else had ever dreamed it would. Ford now had financial security for his family (which included his second son Willard), a face that was known around the globe, and creative freedom.
Harrison's career took a bit of a blow after Star Wars. He took poor roles, although his motive, trying to avoid typecasting, was sound. He took a small part in Heroes as Ken Boyd, which flopped. He then took another small role in Apocalypse Now. One good thing did happen during this time period, however. Ford met screenwriter Melissa Mathison, who, after his breakup with Mary Marquardt, became his wife. Ford and Mathison married in 1983.
The Empire Strikes Back rejuvanated Ford's career. Han Solo had a much more important part in this film, and Ford was pleased with his performance after the shooting. Empire was just as successful as its predecessor, despite the chaotic production.
It was that summer of 1977 that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg first developed the character of Indiana Jones, the adventurous, slightly immortal archaeologist.
The first choice to play Indiana Jones was, surprisingly, Tom Selleck. But when CBS refused to release Selleck from his TV (Magnum)contract, the role eventually fell to Ford, after numerous other actors passed on the part.
Harrison, surprisingly, did most of the stunts for the movie, save anything that could be potentially fatal. He also became extremely adept with the famous Jones bull-whip.
Raiders of the Lost Ark, besides being the most fun Ford had ever had doing a film, won him the most notice of his career so far. He was at last, a recognized, stand-alone star. Ford hardly relished the attention, however. Hero worship made him uncomfortable. As a result, for his career from them up until 1996, he tried several times to take roles where his character was not the all-American hero they had been in the past. These movies rarely did well.
Blade Runner was the first of such films. Ford calls it the only film he was ever totally unhappy with. It proved to be a nightmarish experience for many involved in it's creation. Loosely based on Philip K. Dicks book 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' the film was generally rejected because of the bleak future it presented. Ford played Rick Deckard, the dark, brooding hero who hunts down and destroys androids in Los Angeles, 2019. The tension between Ford and director Ridley Scott only made the conditions on the set become more nightmarish. Scott demanded numerous takes of every scene, and it finally wore Harrison out. Ford says, "This film was not one of my favorites. I played a detective who did no detecting." The film, despite being a flop, is a cult classic which still endures today.
After Blade Runner, Ford returned to the familiar character of Han Solo in Return of the Jedi. Actually, Ford did not want to do Return at first. He wanted Han Solo to die, thinking it would be valiant for the character. Han Solo had a decidedly smaller role in the third installment than in the previous ones; the third movie focused mostly on Luke Skywalker and provided little character development for Han. The reason Han Solo was encased at carbonite at the end of Empire was because George Lucas was unsure if Ford would sign for the next movie, which he did, in the end, after much prodding from Lucas. The film, naturally, was a huge success.
After Return of the Jedi came the second installment of the Indiana Jones adventures, this time a prequel, called Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Lucas's team took great pains to make Temple just as good, yet different, from its predecessor. The filming was also more difficult, considering that Ford ruptured a spinal disc. This injury came not from jumping from a plane or swinging from a bridge; it came from trying to master the art of elephant riding. Harrison was off the set for six weeks recuperating. Amazingly, the movie was still completed on schedule. The film was darker and spookier than its predecessor, yet easily matched its box office successes.
One interesting tidbit about this film: the PG-13 rating was created to most effectively warn people about its content. The film was too gory and violent for an PG rating, yet an R rating would would exclude the young people, who were such an important part of the audience, from seeing the filme. The MPAA Rating Board took the step of creating the PG-13 rating as a compromise.
On the verge of being typecast as a comic book hero, Ford began to hunt for a role in which his abilities as a serious actor would be magnified, and the outcome was Witness, a murder mystery/love story set in an Amish community. Ford and others were slightly worried about the outcome. Could Harrison really carry a whole movie with just his acting ability?
As it turned out, their worries were unfounded. The film was a success. It represented Ford's best acting, and his only Academy Award nomination, for best actor in 1985.
Ford reportedly enjoyed making the film greatly, and had a rapport with Peter Weir, the director of Witness. "My relationship with Peter worked more than it ever has with a director before," says Ford. Ford won acclaim for his acting, and the film was also a critical, as well as box office, success.
After success in Witness, Ford set out to find an anti-hero role. After discarding many proposed scipts sent to him, he took a role as Allie Fox in The Mosquito Coast. The plot centered around Fox, convinced that America is decaying, moving his family to the remote jungles of the Mosquito Coast, a strip of land in Central America which extends from Guatemala to Panama. The film was a major disaster. First of all, the shooting was demanding, often working 16 hours days in the sweltering jungles of Belize. Although the script was an actor's dream, the book it had been based on best-selling, and Ford's acting good, the film flopped. Critics pounded it and it was very unpopular with American audiences, partly because Allie Fox, Ford's role, was about as unheroic as you could get, a harsh, umsypathetic person. Despite its lack of success, it resents some of Ford's finer acting. (I wish I could offer an opinion on this, folks, but having never seen it, you'll just have to deal with someone else's opinion.)
Harrison and his second wife, Melissa Mathison, had been brought together because of their dislike of Hollywood. The social life, the city atmosphere, all of it. He dreamed of escaping to the country, and in 1985, he did it. After purchasing 800 acres of undeveloped land seven miles from the town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, he moved into a two story farmhouse. His home is no different from the home of most rural Americans. He is very active in the Jackson Hole community, sponsering a childrens' ski trip and helping to raise funds for a local library.
Ford and Mathison had two children, Malcolm and Georgia, in 1987 and 1990, respectively. Ford always makes sure he can bring them along when he leaves home to make a film. He wants his children to know their 'real daddy', not the one they see in the movies, and in this he was successful. Ford says, "Whenever Georgia sees me on the screen, and someone asks her, "Who's that?, she says, 'That's my other daddy.'"
After The Mosquito Coast, Ford took a role in the psychological thriller Frantic. Ford met with director Roman Polanski while in Paris with his wife, Melissa Mathison. Mathison was to meet with Polanski to discuss a script she was writing for a proposed movie based on the cartoon hero "Tin-Tin". The film never materialized, but Ford did take a liking to a script Polanski was going to shoot, called Frantic. He played Richard Walker, a typical Ford hero-type character. The plot centers on a man who finds himself unable to protect his wife when she mysteriously vanishes from their Paris hotel room. Ford, rather spontaneouly, took on the role. The film tries, unsuccessfully, to emulate the old Hitchcock movies in plot and characters. It never really gained popularity in America, although it was popular with European audiences.
Harrison's next role was different from any role he had previously played. He took the part of Jack Trainer in Working Girl, a romantic comedy with Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver. First of all, his was a supporting role, something he hadn't done since Return of the Jedi. Second, it was more of a comedy than anything else, and his comic ability showed here more than in any of his previous films. The film center os aspiring businesswoman Tess McGill (Griffith) and her struggles to get up in the business world. Working Girl was well-recieved by audiences and became the hottest date movie of the year. It was also praised as one of the better films of 1988.
In 1989, the third chapter of the Indiana Jones saga was released - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The film delved deeper in to Jones' previously unaddressed past and family life, by casting Sean Connery as Henry Jones, Sr. Connery certainly looks the part, although, ironically, he and Ford are separated by only 12 years. Connery and Ford enjoyed a natural rapport, and worked well together. The filming was fun for all, with Ford and Connery, neither of whom were known for their senses of humor, pulling practical jokes which would cause the crew to break up in laughter. The incident that best displaying the pair's sense of fun occured during the shooting of the scene in which Indy and his dad try to escape the Nazis by posing as tourist aboard a Zepplin. The temperature on set in Spain easily exceed 100 degrees, and both Ford and Connery were extremely uncomfortable in a leather jacket and tweed suit, respectively. Because the sequence was to be shot at a table and therefore would only be shot from the waist up, Connery removed his pants to relieve the heat. Ford was shocked at first, but eventually did the same. Neither of the actors missed a beat in the dialouge. The film was very funny, and met with critical and financial success.
Ford's next two roles were different from his previous ones. The first was the lead in Presumed Innocent, adapted from the Scott Turow novel of the same name. He played the character of Rusty Sabich, a prosecting attorney who is accused of murdering a woman with whom he had a passionate affair. The novel had previously been considered unfilmable, due to the violent nature of the book. However, director Alan J. Pakula found a way to make it work, and sought Harrison Ford to play the lead. Pakula stated : "We wanted an all-American leading man, the kind that personifies truth, honesty, and integrity. Harrison Ford was right up there as someone you don't want to believe could be embroiled in this type of mystery, plus he's an icon." The character of Sabich had to be a basically good man, not guilty of the crime of which he was accused, but of the other moral transgression of adultery. The gamble paid off. The film was a success critically and financially.
The second role in which Ford deviated from his normal roles, is the part of Henry Turner, in the film Regarding Henry. Turner is a successful but ruthless lawyer who will do anything to win his cases. But a single gunshot leaves Henry incapacitated, and with no memory of his former life. Can he start over? Ford had long wanted to do another movie with director Mike Nichols after the success of Working Girl, and was fond of the emotional nature of the script. However, the film did not meet with critical nor financial successes, shocking both Ford and Nichols.
In 1991, Ford took the lead role of Jack Ryan in Patriot Games, an action/political thriller adapted from the novel of the same title. He was quoted as being pleased to being doing another action flick, after several sedentary roles. "I've been doing quite a few desk jobs, and I figured it was time to roll around in the mud," says Ford. Ford had been offered both of the lead roles in the previous Clancy movie, The Hunt for Red October, but declined. He took the rold as Jack Ryan when Alec Baldwin turned down the role, opting instead for the lead role in the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire.
Jack Ryan was another hero character, who single-handedly saves the British Royal Family at the beginning of the movie, and is chased by the IRA terrorists who were trying to assasinate them for the rest of it. (Ford pretty much stuck with the roles he was accepted in, the all-American hero roles, from this point, the only deviation being Sabrina)Although Tom Clancy had serious misgivings about Ford playing the Ryan role, claiming he was too old, the public liked it just fine, and the film did well at its release in 1992.
Harrison's next film, The Fugitive was another big box office hit. It was adapted from the popular TV series. Ford played the nervous Dr. Richard Kimble, accused of killing his wife and on the run from the law. Ford's performance won critical acclaim, but Tommy Lee Jones, who costarred with him, deservingly won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, but Ford himself remained unawarded for his performance. The film was among the top thirty box offices hits of all time when it opened in 1993.
The sequel to Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, was released in 1994. Ford reprised his role as hero Jack Ryan. In this film, Ryan is taking out the South American drug cartel instead of the IRA. This film was considerably more difficult to script, considering the fact that Jack Ryan appears very little in the first half of the book, and is hardly a major player in the story. Tom Clancy hated the script, calling it 'awful', and saying the poor quality of the script would hurt the film at the box office. Ford grew impatient with Clancy's complaining, but did admit the film needed more fine-tuning. The script was partially rewritten. There isn't really much else to say about this movie, except it did well at the box office. (Why do I keep finding myself repeating this phrase over and over? I think I see a pattern here! *g*)
Harrison Ford's next role was that of Linus Larrabee in the remake of Sabrina, a romantic comedy which opened in late 1995. Ford was nominated for a Golden Globe award, and the film got moderately good reviews, but Sabrina flopped at the box office. (Just a note for anyone who cares: the film was also distributed strangely. The closest place it was playing was 30 miles away, and I live 15 miles out of Philadelphia. Go figure.)
Ford spent much of 1996 filming The Devil's Own, an action oriented thriller, with Brad Pitt. In the film, Ford played Tom O'Meara, a New York City veteran cop who takes an Irishman (Pitt) into his home. The film was plagued by difficulties for the onset. The taping began without a finished script, and the movie took much longer than expected to complete. Brad Pitt also complained publically about the trouble with the director and the script. Ford had nothing to do with Pitt's badmouthing of the film. The movie opened to good reviews and did fairly well in the box office.
Harrison then replaced Kevin Costner in the action flick Air Force One, in which he played the 'ass-kicking president', in the words of David Letterman. President James Marshall becomes ultimate of Ford's all American hero roles, when he risks everything to save his family when his plane, Air Force One, is captured by Kazahkstani terrorists. The film was one of the major box office smashes of the summer.
Ford's recent release was Six Days, Seven Nights, with Anne Heche. It entered theaters in the beginning of the summer, meeting with heavy competition from other films. As a result, it performed only moderately well. However, 6 Days was still a breakthrough for Ford - he got to show his comic side AND fly a plane on camera!
Ford is currently filming Random Hearts with Kristin Scott Thomas. The film is due to be released in summer '99. He also has several projects lined up for the future, including the next Jack Ryan flick, the thriller What Lies Beneath, and Indy IV. All-in-all, the future looks to be Ford-filled!
Real Name: Harrison Ford
D.O.B: July 13th,1942
Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Spouse: Melissa Mathison (1983 - present)
Ex-Spouse: Mary Marquardt (1964 - 1979)
Children: Malcolm, Georgia, Willard, Ben
Education: Dropped out of Ripon College
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(Source : www.the-movie-times.com)
(Source : www.starpulse.com and www.biography.com)
Actor. Born July 13, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois. Arguably the most bankable movie star ever, Harrison Ford came into his success relatively late in life. He grew up in the Chicago suburbs of Park Ridge and Morton Grove, where his father was an advertising executive, producer of TV commercials, and sometime radio actor. Never academically inclined, Ford failed out of tiny, conservative Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin, where he had majored in philosophy. After discovering drama in college, he did a season of summer stock in Williams Bay, Wisconsin before heading out to Hollywood in 1964 with his college sweetheart and new wife, Mary Marquardt.
A Columbia Pictures talent scout spotted Ford at a Laguna Beach stage production and signed him to a contract under Columbias New Talent program, the studios attempt to make movie stars out of good-looking, unknown young actors and actresses. The stubborn, opinionated Ford was fired from Columbia after only 18 months and immediately signed a contract at Universal. After a series of minor roles in forgettable movies by both studios, Ford was working as a self-taught carpenter when he got the chance to audition for the low-budget coming-of-age movie American Graffiti(1973). In this surprise commercial success, Ford played a secondary role alongside stars Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfuss. The most important aspect of that film, however, was that it marked Fords first collaboration with director George Lucas.
Ford was still making his living as a carpenter in 1977, when he landed his first major role, as the renegade starship captain Han Solo in Lucass intergalactic adventure movie, Star Wars. The film was the first ever to gross $10 million in its first weekend, and with $300 million in its first year of distribution, it became by far the largest box-office smash in history up until that time. By the time its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back was released in 1980, Ford had expanded his acting range in several other films, including a smaller role in Francis Ford Coppolas Apocalypse Now. Return of the Jedi(1983) completed the trilogy of wildly successful Star Wars films, showcasing Fords appeal both as an action star and romantic lead.
In 1981, Ford again teamed with Lucas on a Lucas/Steven Spielberg collaboration. The film was an action-adventure with a twist: directed by Spielberg, it centered around the swashbuckling international antics ofan archaeology professor? Ridley Scott, who directed Ford in 1982s Blade Runner has said that before Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ford was not a well-known actor, but the man who played Han Solo. The film, starring Ford as the rumpled, fedora-wearing Professor Indiana Jones, transformed the 38-year-old into an international sex symbol. It grossed over $231 million and spawned two sequels, 1984s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and 1989s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, also starring Sean Connery as Joness father.
Just as the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films cemented Fords reputation as an action star, other movies have focused on different facets of his immensely recognizable screen personality. In 1985, he gave one of his best-received performancesearning an Academy Award nominationin Witness, as a police detective who must protect an Amish boy who has witnessed a brutal murder. He departed even further from type, with equal success, in 1988s corporate romance, Working Girl, also featuring Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver, and Alec Baldwin. Over the next ten years, his films ran the gamut from legal thrillers (1990s Presumed Innocent) to classic romantic comedies (a remake of the classic Humphrey Bogart movie Sabrina in 1995) to more action-adventure blockbusters, most notably starring turns as Jack Ryan in Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger(1994) and Richard Kimble in 1993s The Fugitive).
In 1999, Ford mixed romance and action (to somewhat middling results) in director Sydney Pollacks Random Hearts. Most recently, he starred with Michelle Pfeiffer in the supernatural thriller What Lies Beneath (2000). A fourth Indiana Jones installment is reportedly in the works and slated for 2004, when the actor will be 62 years old.
Ford is famously reluctant to reveal too much about his personal life to the press. He and Marquardt divorced in 1978, and in 1983, Ford married Melissa Mathison, a screenwriter who penned the scripts for movies such as E.T., The Indian in the Cupboard, and Kundun. They have two children, Malcolm and Georgia; Ford also has two sons, Ben and Willard, from his previous marriage. Ford and his family have a home in Manhattan and a ranch near Jackson, Wyoming. Ford, who has his pilots license, owns six aircraft, including a helicopter and a Gulfstream Jet, as well as several motorcycles. In November 2000, Ford announced his separation from Mathison. Though the couple briefly reconciled in the spring of 2001 and reportedly remain friends, Mathison filed for legal separation in August of that year.
(Source : www.starpulse.com and www.moviestarpages.com)
Harrison Ford was born on July 13, 1942 in Chicago. He was a typical product of the Midwest born into a typical middle class family. Earlier in life, Ford didnt enjoy going to the movies. He was unaffected by films and never was a serious fan, although he and his younger brother Terrence went often when he was younger. While a teenager, the only reason he saw movies at all was for dating purposes.
Ford was a typical high school student. A quiet, shy, boy, he was always getting bullied around. In his own words, "I was kind of a runty kid. The boys would get together and throw me over the edge of the parking lot into the weeds every day at recess."
Although Ford remained fairly shy, he became more accessible as his teenage years progressed, going to parties and joining school activities. However, he remained a loner and was never popular with girls. Ford graduated from high school in 1960 and went on to college, not of any driving ambition to do so, but because it was expected of him by his teachers. He attended a small liberal arts school, Ripon College, in Wisconsin. Being lazy and unmotivated academically, he did not do well. After failing to complete a thesis on playwright Edward Alby, Ford was booted out of Ripon - three days before graduation.
One good thing did come out of Ford's college nightmare, however; he started taking drama courses. Being shy, this was an especially bold step for him to take. He was terrified by acting, having had the wits scared out of him in his first stage appearance. But he became addicted to acting, and it put an end to the thought of a dreary future as a working-class individual.
During the summer of 1964, he join the Belfry Players for a season of summer stock. On June 26, 1964, Harrison Ford made his professional acting debut. Neither he nor anyone else knew exactly how far this would go. Harrison was hardly looking for superstardom. Ford headed to the West Coast with his college sweetheart and soon-to-be wife, Mary Marquardt, to seek work as an actor. It would be a difficult task. Harrison knew little about acting, besides the fact that you had to to go Hollywood to get the work. The height of his ambition was to be a TV actor. While working many different day jobs, the primary one being a pizza chef, Ford searched for work as an actor. He didn't get much of it, save for a seven year contract with Columbia Studios for $150 a week he got after being recognized at the Laguna Beach Playhouse by a Columbia agent, who seemed to be the only person who understood the talent of Harrison Ford.
The young actor's first actual movie was Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round. He had a grand total of three lines: Paging Mr. Jones, Mr. Jones, and Paging Mr. Jones again. It was hardly an impressive screen debut. He played bit parts in movies, such as his mercifully small part as a hippie in Luv, he was booted from his Columbia contract, because he, in the words of a Columbia executive, had no acting talent. Harrison was hardly sorry; the Columbia execs had wanted him to change his, saying Harrison was 'too pretentious.' He then, in 1967, signed a similar contract with Universal Studios, which had a different policy than Columbia - they would try to get their contracted actors into television roles. Although he got numerous small television roles in shows like The Partridge Family, Gunsmoke, Kung Fu, and The Virginian, acting just wasn't paying the rent for his family, which now included his newborn son Benjamin.
In 1974, he turned his back on acting and became a full-time carpenter. He enjoyed his new profession. Ford became, in effect, "carpenter to the stars". After his first job, building a recording studio for Brazilian composer Sergio Mendes, word spread. Most of his jobs were for people in showbiz. When the money started to come in, he began to accept acting jobs again, not so much to pay the rent, but because he wanted to.
Finally, Harrison's big break came. One of his clients, Fred Roos, was a casting director at Universal, who had just been appointed to an unknown director named George Lucas for a film called American Graffiti. Roos got Ford the part of Bob Falfa for $500 a week. The film was the surprise smash of 1973, and Ford found himself moving up in the acting world. Roos gave Ford another job idea: the part of the smuggler Han Solo. Ford had no illusions about getting a part in Star Wars. But by some increadibly strange twist a fate, he ended up installing an entrance at Goldwyn studios, the exact same location where George Lucas was hold interviews for Star Wars.
(Source : www.usaweekend.com)
Harrison Ford has one of the most recognizable faces in America, but he's a reluctant star who sees fame as a condition. "It's like having a limp," says the actor who has headlined six of the 30 top-grossing movies of all time. "You live with it."
Ford, whose romantic adventure Six Days, Seven Nights opens this weekend, has been living some degree of fame since he created a wisecracking Han Solo in the 1977 special effects groundbreaker Star Wars (which he didn't go see in 1997's re-release).
"I was always very grateful I was never 'hot,' " Ford says, though he's America's favorite male star in a new survey of USA WEEKEND readers, as well as this year's People's Choice poll winner in the same category. "In the entire length of my career, I haven't been the hottest, the No. 1, the most adored. I've always been somewhere down from the top, so I've never had to suffer being knocked off the top."
Without naming Leonardo DiCaprio or Matt Damon, Ford -- whose lived-in good looks make him as sexy as either -- notes he was never what they are today. "I was never that much a focus of interest that I became a 'thing' at an earlier point in my career. I'm aware of having become a 'thing' now, which doesn't give me a lot of pleasure."
And a lucrative thing he is. Because his name on the marqee ensures a successful opening weekend, he earns more than almost anyone in Hollywood, $20 million-plus per movie. Yet he doesn't define success in dollars and cents. Says Ford: "To me, success is choice and opportunity." Today he has both.
Ford was not an early bloomer, the sort who put on plays in the family living room by kindergarten age. "I wanted to be a forest ranger or a coal man," he says. "At a fairly early stage, I knew I didn't want to do what my dad did, which was work in an office."
He left college in Wisconsin (an English and philosophy major) feeling he had no options. "All my friends were going off to be professionals, and I said I wanted to be an actor. It was because I wanted to live the life, a different life. I didn't want to go to the same place every day and see the same people and do the same job. I wanted interesting challenges. I wanted to work with different people over periods of time. I wanted to be in different places geographically. I didn't really calculate how difficult that was to achieve."
It took Ford 13 years to make a living in his chosen profession, and during those tough times he had a family to support. Like lots of men his age, Ford has separate sets of kids: two adult sons with first wife Mary Marquardt, and a young son and daughter with second wife Melissa Mathison, a screenwriter. He also has a grandchild.
He takes little credit for raising the older two, Ben, 31, a chef, and Willard, 29, a teacher. "My older kids are fantastic people. It can't be the result of my influence on them." He loves being involved with son Malcolm, 11, and daughter Georgia, 7. But don't ask for parenting tips: "It's an impossible job at any age."
Ford plays roles appealing to both sexes; often he's a handsome prince who scoops a damsel in distress out of harm's way, never making a mistake -- or at least laughing when he does. Ivan Reitman, who directed Six Days, Seven Nights, says Ford is "a throwback to those great '40s movie stars that we don't seem to have anymore, guys like Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable."
"He's the guy who is every woman's dream and the man who's every man's dream," says Six Days co-star Anne Heche.
Their chemistry is sure to be the topic of water-cooler talk Monday morning because Heche, 29, is the offscreen love of comedian Ellen DeGeneres. The couple went public with their relationship soon after Heche was cast in Six Days, causing a bit of a stir. Ford's support never wavered, and they talk about each other with genuine warmth. Reports from the set were that they got along swell.
Filming was arduous because the stars did their own stunts. "He told me how to keep safe," Heche says. "He was always taking care of me, helping me know about the explosives before we had to jump off the boat."
Of course, jumping off cliffs and out of planes is part of Ford's daredevil screen image. But the real guy is more complicated and circumspect. In an age of celebrity confessionals and dirt-digging tabloids, he manages to keep his personal business his own.
It's not surprising, then, to learn that the most popular actor in America doesn't have an identifiable best friend. "I have relationships with people I'm working with. ... The relationship is based on our combined interest. It doesn't make the relationship any less sincere, but it does give it a focus that may not last beyond the experience."
And to experience Harrison Ford is to find he is both not what he appears and everything you might expect.
He's been known to be cranky or gruff, yet, as Reitman says, "There's a nobility to Harrison when you first meet him." A seriousness, too, though Ford claims he's not a serious person. "If I were a serious person, I'd probably have a real job."
Ford and family keep houses in Wyoming and Los Angeles, but they have made New York their main home for several years. He has admitted to getting antsy about city life, but he easily indulges his passion for airplanes and helicopters there. "I love flying. It's very important to me." He's been a pilot for three years and flies "all the time. It's something I always wanted to do, and at a certain point I bought a plane for myself and I became more interested and involved in it.
"I find it continually challenging, and it's great fun for me to continue to try to refine and polish my skills. I like little planes. I like the places you can put a little plane down. I like grass strips, dirt roads, dry lake beds, tricky crosswind situations. I like that kind of flying."
That said, he also just got a helicopter license and says there's no better place to fly one of those birds than around New York's skyline.
For a multitalented guy who has tremendous clout in Hollywood, Ford is refreshingly unambitious. Those who have worked with him say that he has strong opinions, that he knows every detail about moviemaking.
So why doesn't he go the route of so many huge actors -- to directing and producing as well as starring? For him it's always been this simple: "I've never wanted to be the boss."
(Source : BBC Online)
What made you choose "What Lies Beneath"?
One of the attractions of this particular screenplay was its construction, and the fact that I was able to take the normal expectations that people have of the kind of role that I'm going to play, and then twist it around on them. The job is always the same - to help tell the story through character development.
Was it also the desire to work with Michelle Pfeiffer that prompted you to take the role?
I don't remember whether Michelle was attached to the project or not when I first read the script. I had never met her before, but always admired her work. The first day of shooting involved intimate scenes of the husband and wife and I found her very clever in being able to create behaviour that would reflect a long relationship, so it was very easy to work with her. She's extremely talented and has a lot of great ideas.
The house itself plays a part itself, does it not?
The house was really like a character in the film. Like all of the other elements of the film, it was very artfully designed. In a certain light it could look benign and beautiful; in another light, it was sinister. I think it's very clever.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I don't believe in ghosts, but I believe in the power of the subconscious mind. I do think that the human mind has the capacity to overwhelm the other sensory organs and to produce manifestations. I do think people believe that they see ghosts.
So you don't think Michelle's character sees a ghost?
If you look at the film carefully, you will see that the ghost - the manifestation - can be seen as an effort by Michelle's sub-conscious mind to remind her of the events that she has repressed.
Were you ever concerned about becoming typecast as an action hero?
I've always been aware of the potential to be trapped in the action genre because of the commercial success of the first films that I did. But I made every effort from the very beginning of my career to vary the kinds of genres and roles, to not only do that kind of film.
Everyone wants to know. Will you play Indiana Jones again?
How unexpected! I'd be very happy to play Indiana Jones again, if we could get a script that we could all agree on, and make a film that is at least as good as the ones we've made before. Steven Spielberg is enthusiastic. I'm enthusiastic. Even George Lucas is enthusiastic. I would hope to do it within the next couple of years.