Harrison Ford profile
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"Extraordinary Measrures"
Harrison Ford

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Harrison Ford has spent four decades as a one-man Central Casting for the role of the tradition American hero. In fact, as “Star Wars” space cowboy Han Solo, archeologist Indiana Jones, techno-super spy Jack Ryan, android-hunter Rick Deckard, and falsely accused M.D., Richard Kimble, Harrison is clearly the second most famous ex-carpenter in world history.

Born in 1942, Harrison’s acting career began when he left school at 22 to accept a $150/week studio contract with Columbia Pictures. By 1964, however, the old studio system was pretty much dead and so was young Harrison’s acting career. Carpentry provided steadier work and more creative satisfaction.

Still, with a largely showbiz-based clientele that included a young filmmaker named George Lucas, Harrison was never too far away from the movies. And so it was that he returned to film a few years later with small roles in seventies classics like “American Graffiti,” “The Conversation,” and “Apocalypse Now.”  Even so, when Harrison fell into the part as a swashbuckling outer space trucker in “Star Wars,” the prevailing wisdom was that the movie would be quickly forgotten. Not quite.

Despite the even greater box office of “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980, Harrison’s next few non-“Star Wars” films were anything but blockbusters, and he had to get in line behind “Magnum, P.I.” star Tom Selleck for the role of Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” When Selleck was forced to bow-out, however, it was Harrison Ford who became the world’s most adventurous college professor and a genuine superstar. In 1985, he got his first and only Oscar nomination with Peter Weir’s atmospheric thriller, “Witness.”

Ford’s star has been resting comfortably on top of the A-list ever since, with all kinds of films – good, bad, and hugely successful – ranging from low-key thrillers like “Presumed Innocent” to the most over-the-top actionfests around. For a while, it was clear that audiences would buy any character if Ford played it. In “Air Force One,” he played a U.S. President who deplanes international terrorists with his bare hands. Mission accomplished. In 2001, however, Harrison hit the records books twice. First, he was listed as the world’s best-paid actor in the “Guinness Book of World Records,” and then he was the not-so-lucky buyer of the world’s most expensive divorce from his second wife of eighteen years, screenwriter Melissa Mathison. The usually under-the-gossip-radar star netted some additional tabloid ink when he took up with former “Ally McBeal” star Calista Flockhart.

A rescue pilot in his spare time, Ford is famously risk-averse when it comes to his career choices, as his recent string of would-be blockbusters attests. In fact, Harrison has recently copped to regretting turning the role played by George Clooney in the controversial epic, “Syriana,” and some left-field material may finally be coming.  But if that doesn’t work out, there’s always Indiana Jones…

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Harrison on the Web

Everything from “Blade Runner” to “The Star Wars Christmas Special”…the mighty IMDB does not judge.

It’s all here. Sadly, that includes the fact that Mel Gibson is now richer than Harrison. Ouch.

Harrison on the Screen

Harrison Ford remains a solid actor…so why are all of our favorite roles of his from eighties? “Raiders of the Lost Ark” remains one of the best action films ever made, and Harrison Ford lets you see that, super heroic archeologist or not, Indy has feelings too. (He really likes Marion Ravenwood. He really doesn’t like snakes.) However, Harrison’s performance in “Witness” deserved that Oscar nomination, his onscreen chemistry with both Amish love-interest Kelly McGillis and little Lucas Haas as her son is genuinely touching and humorous. Speaking of humor, the man is pretty darn hilarious in the romantic comedy “Working Girl” – it’s not great, but it is great to see Harrison in full Cary Grant mode alongside both Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver. Ford’s acting low point was probably the ill-advised narration added to the original theatrical version of “Blade Runner.” Watch one of the eighteen or nineteen different “director’s cuts” instead.  Ford’s personal favorite of his films is the little seen drama, “The Mosquito Coast.” We really should see it.

Harrison Says

On aging:
"You know you are getting old when all the names in your black book have ‘MD’ after them."

On the bad old days:
“The studio guy told me, ‘Kid, you have no future in this business.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘When Tony Curtis first walked onscreen carrying a bag of groceries -- a bag of groceries! -- you took one look at him and said, “THAT'S a movie star!"’ I said, ‘Weren't you supposed to say, “That's a grocery delivery boy?”’”

On ethnicity:
"I am Irish as a person, but I feel Jewish as an actor."

On fame:
“I don't even mind if people come up to me while I'm eating dinner, but if they recognize me while I'm having sex, I refuse to sign autographs.”

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