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Glenn Ford

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Also Known As: Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford Died: August 30, 2006
Born: May 1, 1916 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Quebec, Ontario, Canada Profession: actor, producer, stable boy (for Will Rogers), bus driver, salesman, phone repairman

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Taking his stage name from Glenford, a town in his native Canada, dependable, solidly built Glenn Ford went on to play characters from every walk of life, demonstrating equal skill in drama, comedy and action pictures, both of the thriller and Western variety. He entered film after having established himself in more than 50 stage productions on both Broadway and the West Coast, making his feature debut in "Heaven With a Barbed Wire Fence" (1939), and was gaining momentum in the early 1940s as a young leading man in both movies and on Broadway when World War II interrupted his budding career. Returning to the screen after his discharge, Ford made his name in two 1946 films, "Gilda" (opposite Rita Hayworth) and "A Stolen Life" (with Bette Davis), proving himself with far better performances than called for by the predominantly female vehicles. Ford excelled at playing well-meaning, ordinary men confronted by unusual or threatening situations, perhaps never better than as the young Navy veteran taking his first teaching job in the rough big city trade school of "The Blackboard Jungle" (1955), Richard Brooks' powerful adaptation of the Evan Hunter novel. Though some of the thugs are irredeemable...

Taking his stage name from Glenford, a town in his native Canada, dependable, solidly built Glenn Ford went on to play characters from every walk of life, demonstrating equal skill in drama, comedy and action pictures, both of the thriller and Western variety. He entered film after having established himself in more than 50 stage productions on both Broadway and the West Coast, making his feature debut in "Heaven With a Barbed Wire Fence" (1939), and was gaining momentum in the early 1940s as a young leading man in both movies and on Broadway when World War II interrupted his budding career. Returning to the screen after his discharge, Ford made his name in two 1946 films, "Gilda" (opposite Rita Hayworth) and "A Stolen Life" (with Bette Davis), proving himself with far better performances than called for by the predominantly female vehicles. Ford excelled at playing well-meaning, ordinary men confronted by unusual or threatening situations, perhaps never better than as the young Navy veteran taking his first teaching job in the rough big city trade school of "The Blackboard Jungle" (1955), Richard Brooks' powerful adaptation of the Evan Hunter novel. Though some of the thugs are irredeemable (particularly Vic Morrow) and despite his wife (Anne Francis) wanting him to get out of the no-win situation, Ford sticks it out to reach the good kids (like Sidney Poitier), showing his toughness when he subdues a knife-wielding Morrow. His other premiere role of the decade came opposite Marlon Brando in the lighter fare of "The Teahouse of the August Moon" (1956), his portrayal of Captain Fisby amounting to a comic romp as he falls victim to the wily manipulations of an Okinawan Brando. Colonel Purdy (Paul Ford, no relation) momentarily thwarts the islander's industry (brewing a very potent sweet potato brandy), razes the teahouse and arrests Fisby, but everything eventually works out in this warm, whimsical film. Ford headlined Frank Capra's last movie, "A Pocketful of Miracles" (1961), and also served as associate producer, a fact that may have affected Capra's objectivity regarding the editing of Ford's overly long scenes. Still, it's a good (if too long) film that probably did not deserve the lambasting of the critics at the time. He created a warm, likable personality for Vincente Minnelli's "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" (1963) and was especially smooth in his reaction takes to scene-stealing super-moppet Ron Howard. The charming tale was just the ticket to restore Ford, Minnelli and screenwriter John Gay to the studio's good graces after the disaster of "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" (1961). Although he made an appearance as the wise Pa Kent, who finds and raises the young superhero in Richard Donner's "Superman" (1978), most of Ford's best work in later years was for the small screen, like the miniseries "The Sacketts" and movies "Beggarman, Thief" (both NBC, 1979), "My Town" (ABC, 1986) and "Final Verdict" (TNT, 1991). He also starred in "Cade's County" (CBS, 1971-72) and the even shorter-lived NBC series "Holvak" (1975).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Our Hollywood Education (1992) Himself
2.
 Raw Nerve (1991) Captain Gavin
3.
 Final Verdict (1991) Reverend Lowell Rogers
4.
5.
 Border Shootout (1990) Sheriff Danahar
7.
8.
 Virus (1980) Richardson
9.
 Happy Birthday to Me (1980) Dr Faraday
10.
 Gift, The (1979) Billy Devlin
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1920:
Stage debut in "Tom Thumb's Wedding"
1935:
Appeared on Broadway in Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour"
:
Spent two years as Tallulah Bankhead's stage manager
1937:
Short film acting debut in "Night in Manhattan" (Paramount)
1939:
Tested and signed by Columbia
1939:
Feature film debut in Columbia's "Heaven With a Barbed Wire Fence"
1940:
First film with Rita Hayworth, Charles Vidor's "The Lady in Question"
1941:
First of eight films with director George Marshall, "Texas"
1942:
Served in United States Marine Corps
1946:
Soared to popularity in Vidor's "Gilda" (opposite Rita Hayworth) and Curtis Bernhardt's "A Stolen Life" (with Bette Davis playing a dual role and debuting as producer)
1948:
Last film with Vidor, "The Loves of Carmen"
1953:
First of two films with Fritz Lang, "The Big Heat" (also the follow-up "Human Desire" 1954)
1955:
Portrayed NYC public school teacher in Richard Brooks' "The Blackboard Jungle", adapted from Evan Hunter's novel
1956:
Played peace-loving storekeeper in "The Fastest Gun Alive"
1956:
Demonstrated his facility for comedy in "Teahouse of the August Moon"
:
Made exhibitors poll of top ten boxoffice stars, placing 5th in 1956, 1st in 1958, and 6th in 1959
1958:
Acted the part of a stern cattle boss in "Cowboy"
1961:
Starred in Vincent Minnelli's glossy World War II picture "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse"
1961:
Second movie opposite Bette Davis, Frank Capra's final film, "A Pocketful of Miracles", a remake of Capra's 1933 "Lady for a Day"; also served as associate producer
1963:
Reunited with Minnelli for "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" with Ron Howard
1965:
Eleventh and last film with character actor Edgar Buchanan, "The Rounders"
1966:
Fifth and final film with Hayworth, "The Money Trap"
1966:
Appeared in Rene Clement's "Is Paris Burning?"
:
Starred in CBS series "Cade's County"
1974:
Donned the cloth as Reverend Tom Holvak opposite Julie Harris as his wife Elizabeth in NBC movie "The Greatest Gift" and subsequent short-lived, 1975 spin-off series, "The Family Holvak"
1976:
Portrayed Rear Admiral Raymond Spruane in "Midway"
1978:
Acted the part of Christopher Reeve's father on Earth in "Superman"
1979:
Appeared in NBC miniseries "The Sacketts"; cast included Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott and Ben Johnson
1980:
Acted in "Virus", allegedly the biggest budgeted Japanese film to date
1986:
Grandfatherly turn as Amos in "My Town", an ABC "Disney Sunday Movie"
1991:
Last feature to date, "Raw Nerve"
1991:
Played Adela Rogers St Johns' famous defense lawyer father in TNT movie "The Final Verdict"
1992:
Hospitalized in intensive care with a heart problem and several blood clots; condition upgraded to "serious" in July after nearly a month; released in August
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Santa Monica High School: Santa Monica , California -

Notes

Ford and John Wayne are the only two actors to receive the Golden Spur Award, given in recognition of an outstanding Western star.

In addition to his WWII exploits, Ford served two tours of duty in Vietnam with the Third Marine Amphibious Force and is the only actor to have served with both the Green Berets and the French Foreign Legion. Among his numerous medals and commendations are the Medal of Honor, presented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars; the Medaille de la France Libre, for the liberation of France; two commendation medals from the US Navy; and the Vitnamese Legion of Merit.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Eleanor Powell. Dancer, actor. Married on October 23, 1943; divorced in 1959; star of such MGM musicals as "Born to Dance" (1936), "Rosalie" (1938) and "Broadway Melody of 1940" (1940).
companion:
Hope Lange. Was dating Ford at the time the two starred in "Pocketful of Miracles" (1961).
wife:
Kathryn Hays. Actor, singer. Married on March 26, 1966; divorced.
wife:
Cynthia Hayward. Actor. Married in 1977; divorced.
wife:
Jeanne Baus. Married in 1993.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Newton Ford. Railroad executive.
mother:
Hannah Ford.
son:
Peter Newton Ford. Actor. Mother, Eleanor Powell.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Glenn Ford, RFD"

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