Harrison Ford was born
July 13, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois, to an Irish Catholic
father and a Russian Jewish mother. Growing up in the Illinois
suburb of Des Plaines, young Harry (as he was referred to
as a child) did not share the rugged, adventurous, heroic
characteristics that he shares with most of his onscreen characters.
While his high school years at Maine Township High were better,
Ford was the scrawny, little boy that was a target of bullies.
Although Ford had no
direction in life, not to mention no motivation to learn,
he continued in his studies and attended Ripon College, in
Wisconsin. A conservative school with high expectations, Ford
felt claustrophobic and not ready to conform to the College's
A below average student,
Ford took an acting class to try raising his grade point average.
This didn't help since Ford was kicked out of Ripon just weeks
before graduation -- but the acting classes did serve another
purpose...they gave Ford a glimmer of direction in his life.
With a summer stock-theatre job on his resume and a new wife
by his side (Ford married his college sweetheart, Mary Marquardt),
Ford left for Los Angeles with the hopes of pursuing an acting
Once in LA, Ford received
bit parts in television series such as The Virginian and Ironside,
but this was not keeping him busy nor was it paying the bills.
He took a job as a carpenter with the task of building a recording
studio for Brazilian composer Sergio Mendes.
Producers and directors
told Ford that he did not have what it takes to be an actor,
but he did have a knack for carpentry and taught himself about
it with the help of a library book he borrowed.
And then began the
relationship with director George Lucas. Ford was offered
a role in the film American Graffiti, but passed it up when
he learned his salary was not half as big as what he was earning
as a carpenter. When he was offered a slight pay raise.
This was the beginning
of a beautiful friendship, which led to his historical role
as Han Solo in Star Wars. Ford actually only ended up reading
for the part when he was helping Francis Ford Coppola build
an entrance in his office, where the Star Wars auditions were
After his work in Star
Wars, Ford performed in another star-turning role, this time
for directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, in none other
than the first installment of the Indiana Jones series, Raiders
of the Lost Ark. In 1982, Ford took on a role in yet another
cult classic, Ridley Scott's Blade
With dramatic roles
in films such as Presumed Innocent, Regarding Henry, Patriot
Games, The Fugitive, Clear and Present Danger, The Devil's
Own, and Air Force One (to name just a few), it's no wonder
Ford is one of the most respected actors of his time.
Although 7 of Ford's
films are among the top grossing films of all time, he has
never actually won an Academy Award. He was recognized for
his work in the 1985 drama Witness with a Best Actor Oscar
nomination and has received a slew of prestigious awards,
such as The Spencer Tracy Award at UCLA in 1994, NATO/ShoWest
Star of the Century in 1994, as well as the Lifetime Achievement
Award at the 22nd Annual Saturn Awards.
Revered as a sex symbol
by women worldwide, the person behind the most beloved heroes
in film's history is regarded as an excellent actor by both
sexes. Ford is married to screenwriter Melissa Mathison and
is the father of their two children (he divorced his first
wife with whom he also has two children).
Interesting facts about
- He built a ranch
in Wyoming, where he and his family live.
- He has a scar on
his chin as a result of trying to put his seatbelt on while
driving and consequently losing control of his car.
- He has a species
of spiders named after him.
He earns a salary of at least
$20 million per movie, like fellow blockbuster stars Tom Cruise
and Jim Carrey. What else do you need to know?