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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:||Cast ... actor producer stable boy (for Will Rogers) bus driver salesman phone repairman|
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).
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