“You may get real tired watching me, but I’m not going to quit” —Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford has been in the film industry for decades, and is known for bringing to life two of the coolest and most iconic movie characters in cinematic history: Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Ford isn’t the quintessential actor who started at a young age; he’s a late bloomer who happened to stumble on acting and fell in love with it. In doing so, became one of the biggest—and at one point THE biggest—movie stars of all-time. He’s had quite the life and film career, and it doesn’t look like he’s letting up anytime soon!
Harrison Ford was born on July 13, 1942, in the Windy City, Chicago, Illinois. He has a younger brother—Terence Ford—who used to be an actor as well, although he was slightly less successful.
40. One Path Leads to Another
Ford got into the acting game late, and discovered his passion for it in a throwaway class in college. Ford attended Ripon College to pursue a degree in English and philosophy, and only took a drama class to get over his shyness and get an easy A. Fortunately for us, he ended up taking the class seriously.
39. Big in Japan
Ford has appeared in Japanese commercials endorsing various products, most notably Kirin Lager, a Japanese beer. And thanks to the Internet, these commercials are no longer exclusive to Japan, as you can see them on YouTube. He even appeared in one recently to promote the video game Uncharted 3.
38. Cream Always Rises to the Top
Before finding success with starring roles in blockbuster movies, Ford started at the bottom. When he first arrived in LA, he was a part of the New Talent Program at Columbia Pictures, where he was paid $150 dollars a week and received small roles in various projects.
37. Proving People Wrong
Ford made his feature film debut in Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, but it was such a small part he wasn’t even credited. Even worse, a studio executive, after seeing the film and Ford’s performance, told Ford that he was a terrible actor and would never make it in the film industry
36. Building a Life
After Ford moved to LA to pursue a career in acting, he struggled to gain any momentum or land any significant roles. So, in order to pay the bills and provide for his family, he decided to teach himself carpentry. This allowed him to pick and choose what roles he wanted to audition for, and he didn’t have to take whatever was available.
35. The Doors
Not only did Ford make decent money as a carpenter, but he also got the opportunity to work some interesting jobs. At one point, he was a stagehand for the popular rock band The Doors.
34. Family Business
Acting runs in Ford’s blood, and so does being smart enough to have a back up plan in case it doesn’t work out. His father, Christopher Ford, was an actor and later became an advertising executive, and his mother Dorothy was a radio actress.
33. Real Life Ross Gellar
What do Ford and Ross Gellar from Friends have in common? They both got married three times. Ford’s first marriage, to his college sweetheart Mary Marquardt, lasted from 1964-1979, his second marriage, to screenwriter Melissa Mathison, lasted from 1983-2004, and his current marriage, to actress Calista Flockhart, began in 2010 and is still going strong today.
32. A Piece of Me
It’s said that every actor brings a little bit of themselves into their roles, and the same can be said for Ford and his titular character Indiana Jones. When Ford was a kid, he was a Boy Scout and achieved the rank of Life Scout, and Steven Spielberg decided to make young Indy a Life Scout in the third Indiana Jones film.
Ford has a scar on his chin that he got in 1968 when he tried to put his seatbelt on while he was driving a car and lost control, which resulted in him hitting a telephone pole and sustaining an injury.
30. Character Trait
The scar on Ford’s chin has actually been acknowledged in two films. In Last Crusade, we see young Indy hit himself in the chin with a whip to give him the scar, and in Working Girl, his character claims he got it in a knife fight, but then reveals he actually fainted getting his ear pierced and hit his chin on a toilet seat.
29. False Teeth
Ford has numerous false teeth; he lost some of his real teeth when a stunt for a TV show went wrong and he fell on a gun.
28. Show Me the Money!
Not only would tons of people want to play Han Solo, they would probably do it for free, too. Ford does not fall into that category. Ford actually hesitated taking role at first when he was told he’d only be getting paid $1,000 dollars a day, but eventually took it. That’s not a big paycheck by today’s standards, but considering what it did for his career, it was plenty.
27. Turning Down Roles
It’s very common for actors to turn down roles offered to them, and Ford is no exception. Throughout his career, Ford had the opportunity to be in numerous films, such as Vanilla Sky, The Perfect Storm, The Patriot, Jurassic Park, and Proof of Life, but declined for various reasons.
26. Taking Advantage of Opportunities
Ford has also been on the other end of the equation, and taken roles in films other actors have turned down. When Kevin Costner split from Air Force One, Ford stepped in and put on a solid performance.
25. Life Saver
Ford, an avid pilot who owns multiple planes and helicopters, has actually helped rescue people with his helicopter. He was never asked by authorities to help either, but simply had the means to help and decided to.
24. Close Call
Ford came close to death in 2015 when the engine in the plane he was flying malfunctioned and he was forced to make an emergency crash landing on a golf course in Venice, California. The crash resulted in a shattered ankle, pelvis, broken back, and head trauma.
23. Good Samaritan
In 2017, Ford witnessed a car roll off the highway in Santa Paula, California, and immediately sprung into action. Along with a few other people who were also in the area, he helped the driver get out of the vehicle safely and waited for the paramedics to arrive.
22. All Roads Point to Ford
Early on in both their careers, you’d be hard pressed to find a George Lucas film that didn’t feature or star Ford, who was in American Graffiti, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones.
21. The Ultimate Sacrifice
Harrison Ford always wanted Han Solo to die in the original Star Wars. He felt that Han Solo needed to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Ford ultimately got his wish in Star Wars: The Force Awakens when he was killed by his son Ben Solo AKA Kylo Ren.
20. Plan B
In the original draft of The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo escapes and flies off with Chewie. However, the reason why he was frozen in carbonite instead was because Ford wasn’t signed on for Return of the Jedi. So, rather than kill the character, Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan decided to freeze him, which proved to be the right call, as Ford eventually signed on for the third film.
19. Suggested Improv
One of the most iconic lines in the Star Wars franchise is when Han Solo says, “I know” after Princess Leia tells him, “I love you.” Even more iconic is the notion that Ford improvised this line on the spot. However, Ford revealed in a Reddit AMA that although he did come up with the line, he suggested it during rehearsals and didn’t improv it in the moment. Regardless, it’s still a great line and he deserves all the credit.
18. Don’t Bring a Sword to a Gun Fight
Anyone who’s seen Raiders of the Lost Ark remembers the iconic scene where Indy runs into an Egyptian with a sword and shoots him point blank. In the script, this was supposed to be a long, drawn out fight, but Ford was sick and weak that day, so they filmed a shortcut.
17. Knack for Being a Hero
Ford currently has two movie characters in the American Film Institute’s Heroes in Film, and both are in the top 20. Han Solo appears at an impressive number 14, but it’s Indiana Jones who takes a top spot at number 2, behind To Kill A Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch.
16. New Species
Ford has two species of insects named after him: A spider called Calponia harrisonfordi and an ant named Pheidole harrisonfordi.
Ford also had the opportunity to name a new species of butterfly. He decided to call it Georgia after his daughter.
14. Appreciated in Other Ways
Ford may not have an Academy Award to his name, and has only been nominated once in his long career—Best Actor for Witness—but he has been acknowledged in other ways for his work in the film industry. In 2000, Ford was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, and in 2003, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
13. The Things We Do for Our Children
Ford appeared in the straight-to-video film, Water to Wine, in 2004, but unlike most high profile actors who do straight-to-video films for a paycheck, Ford did it as a favor for his son, Malcolm, who also appeared in the film.
12. Injury Prone
Star Wars and Indiana Jones may be the two franchises that helped launch Ford’s career, but they’re also franchises that nearly ended his career. He herniated a disc in his spine while riding elephants for Temple of Doom, and not long ago, while filming The Force Awakens, he suffered an injury when a door crushed him and broke his ankle. At this point I’m convinced Ford is immortal.
11. Sound Effects
Ford showed he’s not just a pretty face when he did voice work for Jimmy Buffet’s album Last Mango in Paris. But if you think he sang on the album, you’d be wrong. Ford actually provided the whip-crack sound effect for the song “Desperation Samba (Halloween in Tijuana).”
10. Casting Agent
River Phoenix had Ford to thank for landing the part of young Indiana Jones in Last Crusade. Ford recommended Phoenix, as he had previously worked with him in the film The Mosquito Coast, and was impressed by the young actor’s talent.
9. Age Is Just a Number
Sean Connery plays Indiana Jones’ father in Last Crusade. However, Ford was initially against the casting choice, not because he had anything against Connery, but because they were only 12 years a part in age!
8. The Wrong Record to Have
Ford once held the unlucky distinction of having the most expensive divorce in Hollywood history, stemming from his separation with his second wife, Mathison, where she received $85 million dollars.
7. Fan Favorite
In 1995, Ford was number 15 in Empire magazine’s list of 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History. In 1997, he made People magazine’s list of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. And in 1998, he beat out everyone when he was chosen as the Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.
6. First Time for Everything
Ford got his ear pierced for the first time when he was 55 years old. You read that right. Back in 1997, Ford was having lunch with his friends Jimmy Buffet and Ed Bradley, when he noticed he was the odd man out when it came to earrings. Later that day, he went to Claire’s Accessories with his wife and got his ear pierced.
5. Box Office Juggernaut
Ford’s films have grossed over $4.9 billion dollars domestically and over $8.9 billion dollars worldwide. For domestic gross, he is the second all-time actor, behind Samuel L. Jackson.
4. Pulling an All Nighter
According to Carrie Fisher, one night she had the opportunity to party with the rock band The Rolling Stones and invited Ford along. The only problem was that they had an early call time for The Empire Strikes Back the next day, so instead of being hungover, they stayed up all night and showed up to work the next day still drunk. Fisher claims you can tell they are not sober in the scene they filmed because both Princess Leia and Han Solo are smiling when they arrive at Cloud City.
3. The J Is Silent
Ford used to be credited by the name Harrison J. Ford so as to not be confused with the silent film actor Harrison Ford. The J doesn’t stand for anything, he just picked a letter.
2. Putting an End to the Debate
Ford was asked in a Reddit AMA who shot first, Han or Greedo, to which he replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” Leave it to Ford to keep it straight, simple, and to the point. Respect.
1. Together on and off the Screen
Carrie Fisher finally confirmed in 2016 that she and Ford had an illicit affair on set, but many details were still kept quiet, like the fact that the passage about the affair in Fisher’s The Princess Diarist describes how Ford took her away from a cast party when she was very drunk and started making out with her. Not very PR friendly, and many outlets reporting on the affair glossed these events over. At the time, she was also only 19 and Ford was 33, married, and with two children. Ford, for his part, was given advance warning about her reveal, and mostly declined to comment on the affair.
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Dylan Fleury has a screenwriting diploma as well as a BA in Human Kinetics. One of these has helped with his writing career, while the other was pointless. In addition to freelance writing, he also writes scripts.