Nationality: American. Born: Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford in Quebec, Canada, 1 May 1916; grew up in Santa Monica, California. Education: Attended Santa Monica High School, graduated 1934. Military Service: U.S. Marine Corps, 1942–45; served in marine unit in Vietnam, 1967–68: colonel. Family: Married 1) the actress Eleanor Powell, 1943 (divorced 1959), son: the actor Peter Ford; 2) the actress Kathryn Hays, 1966 (divorced 1968); 3) the actress Cynthia Hayward, 1977; 4) Jeanne Baus, 1993. Career: Worked with Wilshire Theatre, Los Angeles; 1935—stage debut in The Children's Hour; 1939—film debut in Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence; contract with Columbia; 1971–72—in TV series Cade's County, and series The Family Holvak, 1975; 1976—in TV mini-series Once an Eagle, and Evening in Byzantium, 1978. Agent: c/o Artists Group, 9200 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 318, Los Angeles, CA 90069, U.S.A.
Films as Actor:
Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (Cortez) (as Joe); My Son Is Guilty (Crime's End) (Barton) (as Barney)
Convicted Woman (Grinde) (as Jim Brent); Men without Souls (Grinde) (as Johnny Adams); Babies for Sale (Barton) (as Steve Burton); The Lady in Question (It Happened in Paris) (Charles Vidor) (as Pierre Morestan); Blondie Plays Cupid (Strayer) (as Charlie)
So Ends Our Night (Cromwell) (as Ludwig Kern); Texas (George Marshall) (as Tod Ramsey); Go West, Young Lady (Strayer) (as Tex Miller)
The Adventures of Martin Eden (Salkow) (title role); Flight Lieutenant (Salkow) (as Danny Doyle)
The Desperadoes (Charles Vidor) (as Cheyenne Rogers); Destroyer (Seiter) (as Mickey Donohue); Hollywood in Uniform (appearance)
Gilda (Charles Vidor) (as Johnny Farrell); A Stolen Life (Bernhardt) (as Bill Emerson); Gallant Journey (Wellman) (as John Montgomery)
Framed (Paula) (Wallace) (as Mike Lambert)
The Mating of Millie (Levin) (as Doug Andrews); The Man from Colorado (Levin) (as Col. Owen Devereaux); The Loves of Carmen (Charles Vidor) (as Don José); The Return of October (Date with Destiny) (Joseph H. Lewis) (as Prof. Bassett); Make It Real (short for United Jewish Appeal) (as narrator)
Undercover Man (Joseph H. Lewis) (as Frank Warren); Lust for Gold (For Those Who Dare) (Simon) (as Jacob Walz); Mr. Soft Touch (House of Settlement) (Douglas and Levin) (as Joe Miracle); The Doctor and the Girl (Bernhardt) (as Dr. Michael Corday); Hollywood Goes to Church (Staub—short)
The White Tower (Tetzlaff) (as Martin Ordway); Convicted (One Way Out) (Levin) (as Joe Hufford); The Flying Missile (Levin) (as Cmdr. Bill Talbot); The Redhead and the Cowboy (Fenton) (as Gil Kyle)
Follow the Sun (Lanfield) (as Ben Hogan); The Secret of Convict Lake (Michael Gordon) (as Canfield); Young Man with Ideas (Leisen) (as Maxwell Webster); The Green Glove (Le Gantelet vert) (Maté) (as Michael Blake)
Affair in Trinidad (Sherman) (as Steve Emery); Time Bomb (Terror on a Train) (Tetzlaff) (as Peter Lyncourt)
The Man from the Alamo (Boetticher) (as John Stoud); Plunder of the Sun (Farrow) (as Al Colby); The Big Heat (Fritz Lang) (as David Bannion); Appointment in Honduras (Jacques Tourneur) (as Steve Corbett)
Human Desire (Fritz Lang) (as Jeff Warren); The Violent Men (Rough Company) (Maté) (as John Parrish); City Story (Beaudine) (as narrator)
The Americano (Castle) (as Sam Dent); Blackboard Jungle (Richard Brooks) (as Richard Dadier); Interrupted Melody (Bernhardt) (as Dr. Thomas King); Trial (Robson) (as David Blake)
Ransom! (Segal) (as David G. Stannard); Jubal (Daves) (as Jubal Troop); The Fastest Gun Alive (Rouse) (as George Temple); The Teahouse of the August Moon (Daniel Mann) (as Capt. Fisby)
3:10 to Yuma (Daves) (as Ben Wade); Don't Go Near the Water (Walters) (as Lt. Max Siegel)
The Sheepman (George Marshall) (as Jason Sweet); Cowboy (Daves) (as Tom Reece); Imitation General (George Marshall) (as M/Sgt. Murphy Savage); Torpedo Run (Pevney) (as Lt. Cmdr. Barney Doyle)
It Started with a Kiss (George Marshall) (as Sgt. Joe Fitzpatrick)
Cimarron (Anthony Mann) (as Yancey Cravet); The Gazebo (George Marshall) (as Elliott Nash); Cry for Happy (George Marshall) (as Andy Cyphers)
Pocketful of Miracles (Capra) (as Dave "the Dude" Conway, + co-pr)
Experiment in Terror (The Grip of Fear) (Edwards) (as John Ripley); The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Minnelli) (as Julio Desnoyers)
The Courtship of Eddie's Father (Minnelli) (as Tom Corbett); Love Is a Ball (All This and Money Too) (Swift) (as John Davis)
Advance to the Rear (Company of Cowards?) (George Marshall) (as Capt. Jared Heath); Fate Is the Hunter (Ralph Nelson) (as McBane); Dear Heart (Delbert Mann) (as Harry Mork)
The Rounders (Kennedy) (as Ben Jones); Seapower (as narrator)
The Money Trap (Kennedy) (as Joe Baron); Rage (El mal) (Gazcon) (as Reuben); Paris brûle-t-il? (Is Paris Burning?) (Clément) (as Gen. Omar Bradley)
The Last Challenge (Pistolero of Red River) (Thorpe) (as Marshal Don Blaine); A Time for Killing (The Long Ride Home) (Karlson) (as Maj. Charles Wolcott)
Day of the Evil Gun (Thorpe) (as Warfield)
Heaven with a Gun (Katzin) (as Jim Killian); Smith! (O'Herlihy) (title role)
The Brotherhood of the Bell (Wendkos—for TV); The Gold Diggers (for TV)
Santee (Gary Nelson) (title role)
Jarrett (Shear—for TV)
The Disappearance of Flight 412 (Jud Taylor—for TV); The Greatest Gift (Sagal—for TV) (as Rev. Holvak); Punch and Jody (Shear—for TV)
Midway (Battle of Midway) (Smight) (as Rear Adm. Raymond A. Spruance)
The Three Thousand Mile Chase (Mayberry—for TV) (as Dvorak/Staveck)
Superman (Richard Donner) (as Jonathan Kent)
The Gift (Don Taylor—for TV) (as Billy Devlin); The Sacketts (Totten—for TV); Beggarman, Thief (Doheny—for TV)
Fukkatsu no hi (The Virus) (Fukasaku) (as Richardson); Il Visitatore (The Visitor) (Paradisi) (as Detective)
Happy Birthday to Me (J. Lee Thompson) (as Dr. David Faraday); Day of the Assassin (Trenchard-Smith) (as Christakis)
Casablanca Express (Martino) (as Sheriff John Danahar)
Border Shootout (McIntyre)
Raw Nerve (Prior) (as Captain Gavin); The Final Verdict (Fisk—for TV) (as the Reverend Lowell Rogers)
Our Hollywood Education (Beltrami—doc)
By FORD: book—
By FORD: articles—
Interview in TV Times (London), 11 August 1977.
Interview in Ciné Revue (Paris), 9 April 1987.
On FORD: articles—
Current Biography 1959, New York, 1959.
Shipman, David, in The Great Movie Stars: The International Years, London, 1972.
"Glenn Ford in His House," in Photoplay Film Monthly, May 1972.
"The Many Loves of Glenn Ford," in Photoplay Film Monthly, December 1972; see also January 1976.
Marill, Alvin H., in Films in Review (New York), March 1978.
Ciné Revue (Paris), 4 September 1980, 1 October 1981, and 26 July 1984.
Hollywood Reporter, 20 November 1981.
Curreri, Joe, "Glenn Ford—America's Real-Life Hero," in Classic Images (Muscatine), August 1993.
Stars (Mariembourg), Summer 1995.
* * *
Glenn Ford's mouth is a scar of suffering, his eyes dim lights of introspection, and his voice expresses the cool, contemplative restraint of masculinity under control. In effect, he is somewhat drier than the heroes America wanted from the movies, and this may explain his secondary star status behind Gary Cooper, John Wayne, James Stewart, and others. His popularity took off with Gilda in the late 1940s, playing opposite Rita Hayworth—although it was George Macready to whom Ford observed, "I was born the night you met me." Ford mainly stayed within the melodrama/film noir tradition and did his best work in these genres. His most successful portrayals were in two films by Fritz Lang, Human Desire and The Big Heat, because it is in these films that Ford came closest to portraying the type of role he was usually denied—the antihero, the tarnished hero, the role so much associated with Humphrey Bogart.
In Human Desire, Lang's remake of Renoir's La Bête humaine, Ford portrayed a man whose lust nearly leads him to commit murder. He steals for Gloria Grahame, and only the unexpected presence of a passerby prevents him from committing the act of murder—there is little moral choice involved. Ford is even more interesting in The Big Heat. Using his influence as a police officer and hiding behind the moral camouflage of a husband out to revenge the murder of his wife, Ford is responsible for more corpses than any of the film's "real" criminals. In a brilliant piece of plotting, Ford persuades Gloria Grahame to kill Jeanette Nolan, neatly sidestepping the act of murder himself.
Unfortunately, after these efforts, Ford generally made what seemed to be bids for broader appeal and acceptance—The Americano, Cowboy, and The Gazebo with Debbie Reynolds. His appearances in a number of 1950s and 1960s Westerns bear some notice, though. In Delmer Daves's 3:10 to Yuma Ford is effective as an outlaw playing mind games with captor Van Heflin, while both await the title train. He is also interesting in Richard Brooks's The Blackboard Jungle, as a high school teacher in a tough New York classroom, and as a widower in The Courtship of Eddie's Father, with Vincente Minnelli in charge. Pictures such as these, and the Lang films, make it easier for us to forgive a career otherwise dedicated to an overeagerness to make banal statements on the American situation.
—Don M. Short, updated by Frank Uhle
Born Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford, May 1, 1916, in Ste.-Christine, Canada; died August 30, 2006, in Beverly Hills, CA. Actor. Glenn Ford was one of the great actors from the Golden Era of Hollywood. He was a major box-office draw from the 1940s through the 1960s. Some of Ford's most memorable films are Gilda, Blackboard Jungle, and Pocketful of Miracles. Fellow actor Sydney Poitier, quoted on the CNN website, said of Ford, "He had those magical qualities that are intangible but quite impactful on the screen. He was a movie star."
Ford was born in 1916 in Ste.-Christine, Canada. His parents owned a paper mill and his father was the nephew of the former prime minister of Canada, Sir John Macdonald. Ford was also a descendant of Martin Van Buren, who was the eighth president of the United States.
When Ford was seven years old, the family moved to Santa Monica, California. At an early age, he knew he wanted a career in Hollywood. Ford held a series of menial jobs, including working as a stable hand for actor Will Rogers and also cleaning a bar before debuting in a stage production as a grocery boy. He found more stage work in New York. Ford won a screen test with 20th Century Fox Studios, but he failed to impress. He was given another chance, this time with Columbia Pictures, and received a role in 1939's Heaven With a Barbed Wire Fence.
Ford signed a multi-year contract with Columbia. Studio head Harry Cohn tried to change his name to John Gower, but Ford opted for Glenn Ford, after the name of his father's birthplace of Glenford and the name of the family paper mill. He landed roles in a number of movies; most were low-budget films. In 1943 he joined the Marines, serving for two years during World War II.
Upon his release, Ford earned roles in a number of films that made him a marquee name. He co-starred with Rita Hayworth in Gilda in 1947. The next performance which garnered him acclaim was 1953's The Big Heat. Ford's strong portrayal of an idealistic high school teacher in 1955's Blackboard Jungle made the film a huge success; it earned four Oscar nominations.
Though known mostly for his dramatic roles, Ford's acting ability also shone in the parts he played in light comedies. He was also a hard-working actor, sometimes overlapping films. According to the New York Times, when someone asked his reason for taking so little time off in a five-year period, he replied, "I like to work." Ford also found steady work in a number of westerns in the 1960s. Concerning his lean toward the genre, he told the Los Angeles Times, "You don't have to speak English to understand what's going on." Throughout his career, he worked with several major stars, including Poitier, Bette Davis, and William Holden. In all Ford appeared in 85 films that spanned more than five decades.
In the 1970s, Ford turned to television, starring in Cade's Country and The Family Holvak, which was based on his grandfather, Thomas Ford. He also hosted the television series, When Havoc Struck. His frequency in films grew less and less. One of his last appearances included a small part as Clark Kent's earthly father in 1978's Superman.
In the early 1990s, Ford suffered a series of strokes that further removed him from the spotlight. In May of 2006, he was scheduled to attend a tribute to his contribution to film, but could not attend due to poor health; he did, however, send a videotaped message. Ford died on August 30, 2006, at his home in Beverly Hills, California; the cause of death was unknown. He was 90. Although his films won acclaim throughout his career and he did win a Golden Globe award for his role in Pocketful of Miracles, Ford will be best remembered for his consistently strong portrayals of a variety of characters from all walks of life. Ford was married and divorced four times. He is survived by his son, actor Peter Ford.
CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/Movies/08/30/glenn.ford.dead.ap/index.html (September 1, 2006); Chicago Tribune, August 31, 2006, sec. 3, p. 7; E! Online, http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,19908,00.html (September 1, 2006); Los Angeles Times, August 31, 2006, p. B10; New York Times, September 1, 2006, p. C11; Times (London), September 1, 2006, p. 68.
Ford, Glenn 1916–2006
Ford, Glenn 1916–2006
Full name, Gwyllin Samuel Newton Ford; born May 1, 1916, in Sainte-Christine, Quebec, Canada; died of complications from multiple strokes, August 30, 2006, in Beverly Hills, CA. Actor. Ford's career spanned more than five decades and ran the gamut from film to television to stage. He made his film debut in Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence in 1939 before signing a contract with Columbia Pictures. Ford starred in such films as Babies for Sale, Texas and The Desperadoes before joining the U.S. Marine Corps and serving in World War II. Following the war Ford quickly returned to acting, appearing in the notable Gilda in 1946. Ford's was a common face in westerns as well, and he acted in 3:10 to Yuma, The Man from the Alamo and Cowboy, to name a few. Ford also starred in Blackboard Jungle in 1955, Midway in 1976, and Superman in 1978, in which Ford played the role of Clark Kent's father. Ford began working in television in the 1970s, and he appeared in the television series Cade's Country, The Family Holyak, and Once an Eagle, all in the 1970s. Ford worked occasionally in the 1980s and 1990s, appearing in films and documentaries.
Time, September 11, 2006.
Variety, September 4, 2006.