Ford, Glenn (1916—)

views updated

Ford, Glenn (1916—)

One of the most pleasing, consistent, thoughtful, and prolific of screen actors, Glenn Ford (born Gwyllym Newton in Quebec) was a regular feature of the Hollywood landscape, particularly the sagebrush, given the large number of Westerns in which he starred. Initially a leading man of the second rank, he enjoyed full stardom from 1946 until the late 1950s. He owed his elevation to Gilda, Charles Vidor's classic film noir in which he tangled angrily and enigmatically with Rita Hayworth in a seedy South American nightclub, and subsequently demonstrated his worth and versatility in a wide range of material. He subsumed his natural likability to play hard men (e.g. 3.10 to Yuma, 1957) and revealed comedy talent in Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), but his most memorable performances were as the revenge-obsessed detective in Fritz Lang's The Big Heat (1953) and the teacher dealing with delinquents in The Blackboard Jungle (1955). His star waned in the 1960s, owing to poor material, but he proved his durability on TV and made a noteworthy appearance in Superman (1978).

—Robyn Karney

Further Reading:

Ford, Glenn, and Margaret Redfield. Glenn Ford, RFD. Beverly Hills, Hewitt House, 1970.

Shipman, David. The Great Movie Stars: The International Years. London, Angus & Robertson, 1980.