Unless you have been totally cut off from the
interesting world of entertainment, it is unlikely for you to have escaped the
charms of legendary Indiana Jones as he vanquishes one diabolical danger after
another as though they were nothing. Portrayed as a brave knight, Indiana Jones
captured the imagination of people all over the world and so strong was his
impression that even today, three decades later, it never fails to mesmerize
viewers no matter which generation they may be from. So what is it that made
Indiana Jones so special? Of course, it is the actor who played the character
and the credit goes to none other than Harrison Ford.
13th July, 1942, was the day when Harrison Ford graced this world in a hospital in Chicago. Having been born to a homemaker and an advertising executive, he spent his formative years in different locations in the state of Illinois wherein his education encompassed a variety of subjects ranging from academics to attending scout camps and studying reptiles. Of course at that time it was just interest that drove him to handle the creepy crawly creatures but its true significance emerged during the filming of Indiana Jones when Ford’s training in this regard stood him in good stead. It was during his college years that Ford debuted as a sports broadcaster on radio and went on to discover his love for acting courtesy of having joined the dramatics club.
When Harrison Ford travelled to Los Angeles in 1964, it was with the intention of doing voice-overs on radio. As luck would have it, he was rejected during the trials and instead ended up signing a weekly contract with Columbia Pictures that entailed playing small roles in their movies. All through the 1960s’ and 70s’, Ford continued to play small parts in movies while getting married and fathering two sons, Benjamin and Willard. In fact this was a phase in his life when he decided to take up carpentry for the sake of making ends meet on his home front. In spite of being a self-taught carpenter, Ford acquired sufficient skill to be able to bag lucrative projects which not just earned him money but acting jobs too.
As a carpenter Ford held the credit for working as a stagehand for ‘The Doors’, a popular rock-band of its time, and also for having crafted a sundeck for Sally Kellerman, an actress, and a recording studio for Sergio Mendes, lead artist of a Brazilian music group. It was during the office expansion work of the famous director Francis Ford Coppola that he landed roles in two of his forthcoming films.
The much awaited big break in the acting arena came when Harrison Ford bagged the role of ‘Han Solo’ in the 1977 release ‘Star Wars’. Not only did it propel the struggling actor to stardom but also signaled the beginning of a long association that would last for the next 50 years till the release of its sequel in 2015. Soon after having established himself as an actor through the character of ‘Han Solo’, Ford landed another legendary role, namely that of Indiana Jones, and continued to portray the unforgettable character till as recently as 2008. Both these roles could be described as crucial turning points in Ford’s career as an actor and have remained synonymous with his name ever since.
After Star Wars, all through the last two
decades of the 20th century Ford was cast in a string of lead roles
and most of his movies went on to become global hits. These 20 years were
witness to Harrison Ford rising from a wannabe actor to a star who could afford
to choose his roles and reject a script if he failed to find it convincing
enough. At the turn of the millennium, Ford continued to bag lucrative acting
offers but also tried his hand at other aspects, noteworthy among them being
narration of a documentary based on Dalai Lama. Some of his well-known releases
during recent years have been ‘Extraordinary Measures’ in 2010, ‘Cowboys and
Aliens’ in 2011 and ‘Paranoia’ in 2013.
His success as an actor notwithstanding, Ford has been married three times, his third and current wife being Calista Flockhart. He is a father to five children from all his marriages and also has three grandchildren. Aviation has held his interest for a long time and he flies helicopters (and rescuing hikers) as well as fixed-wing aircrafts. Whenever he gets an opportunity, the actor has been known to fly his aircraft using the airport at Santa Monica as his base and has also performed a couple of rescue operations. There is a philanthropist side to him as well wherein he is involved with several environmental organizations in contributory capacity and is also supportive of archeologists in commemoration of his roles as Indiana Jones.
Having won several awards and honors over his 40-year long career, Harrison Ford leaves behind a legacy that current and future actors would find nothing short of being iconic and indomitable.