Anyone who hasn’t been living in a galaxy far, far away will know that Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is due for release on December 17. The return of the impossibly famous franchise sees a Hollywood heavyweight reprise the role that catapulted him to stardom -everyone’s favourite action man, Harrison Ford. While working as a carpenter, a young Harrison was offered his first major film role by George Lucas. Known as one of Hollywood’s more humble A-listers, the Indiana Jones actor has also spent time as a helicopter rescue pilot and a roadie for The Doors. A father of five and plane crash survivor, he’s certainly crammed a lot into his 51-year career and remains forever thankful for his success.It’s very little trouble for me to accommodate my fans, unless I’m actually taking a pee at the time, the 73 year old has joked.
Born before the end of World War II in Chicago, Illinois, Harrison came from thespian stock. Both parents had dabbled in the theatrical world and although their eldest son was a shy boy interested in philosophy, the passion was definitely in the genes. He left university before graduation after taking his first acting class, realising it was what he wanted to do.I was terrified to get up in front of people, but I really enjoyed the storytelling part, he admitted.
Gradually he found confidence and did a season with his local acting troupe, the Belfry Players. He also wed his college sweetheart, Mary Marquardt, in 1964 and the couple went on to have two sons,
Ben and Willard. Determined to give professional acting a go, the Fords upped sticks and moved west.Los Angeles is where you have to be if you want to be an actor, Harrison has said.You have no choice. You go there or New York. I flipped a coin about it. It came up New York, so I flipped again. When you are starting out to be an actor, who wants to go where it is cold and miserable and be poor there?
Once in California, Harrison joined an extras company – but didn’t initially blow casting directors away.The studio guy told me: Kid, you have no future in
1942 Harrison Ford is born on July 13 in Chicago, Illinois.
1945 His brother Terence is born.
1960 Attends Ripon College in Wisconsin but drops out before graduation.
1964 Begins acting with the Belfry Players. Marries his college sweetheart, Mary Marquardt. Acquires his trademark scar by swerving his car and hitting a telephone box. Moves to Los Angeles, and joins an extras agency.
1967 Gains his first credited role in the film A Time For Killing. His son Ben is born.
Above: As Rick Deckard in cult classic Blade Runner. Left: Harrison’s role in the Indiana Jones films made him one of Hollywood’s ;; highest-paid stars this business,”the star recalled.
‘I said: Why?” He said: When Tony Curtis first walked on screen 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?”
The actor made cameos in dozens of films, but soon became frustrated with the roles he was being cast in. The young father of two decided to train as a professional carpenter to provide for his family. As it turned out, Hollywood was the perfect place to ply his trade. One of his first jobs was as a stage hand and roadie to the infamously hedonistic rockers The Doors.When it was over, I was one step away from joining a Jesuit monastery, Harrison once joked.
‘I thought it was cool, I thought it was hip, but I couldn’t keep up with those guys. It was too much.
His second carpentry coup came while the aspiring actor was reunited with George Lucas – who had cast him in a minor role in his 1973 film American Graffiti – while fixing a door at a studio. George had just given up trying to talk Christopher Walken into taking the role of Han Solo in his new film, Star Wars. Harrison took the role and referred to George afterwards as:
‘A fountain from which my career sprang, more or less.
By 1979, the Star Wars actor’s marriage to Mary had come to an end – but his screen career was going from strength to strength as
he took roles in cult classic Blade Runner and the legendary Raiders Of The Lost Ark, to name but a few.
In 1983, the leading man married screenwriter Melissa Mathison, who had penned such box office smashes as ET – although it wasn’t the thunderbolt experience of his first love.It was just part of the continuum of the relationship… I do not know if I ever proposed to her, Harrison has said. The couple welcomed son Malcolm and daughter Georgia, before separating in 2001. With no pre-nuptial agreement, their eventual divorce cost him an estimated £78 million. Melissa passed away from cancer last month, aged 65.
At the 2002 Golden Globes, Harrison crossed paths with former AllyMcBeal actress Calista Flockhart. The couple embarked on a love affair and dated for eight years until finally tying the knot in 2010. Their relationship initially sparked a media frenzy, but the pair stepped back from the limelight to raise their son Liam, who Calista had adopted as a single parent in 2001.
Ever adventurous, flying planes is a passion for Harrison.I was 52 when I started flying – I’d been an actor for 25 years and I wanted to learn something new, he said.Acting was my only identity.
Though the star crash-landed his vintage plane on a Los Angeles golf course earlier this year and reportedly suffered a broken pelvis and ankle, as well as head injuries, he’s refused to give up his wings.
While he initially took parts to pay his bills, after reprising his role as the famous fedora-wearing historian Indiana Jones in The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull in 2010, Harrison was named the highest-paid actor in Hollywood.My goal was just to work regularly. I didn’t ever expect to be rich or famous. I wanted to be a working character actor, he said.
Famously reticent about reprising his most iconic role, the actor finally conceded that the opportunity to pilot the Millennium Falcon once again was not to be missed – though he was rushed to hospital with a broken leg after the set fell on him. Still The Force Awakens proved to be the right move, with the star explaining that the charming smuggler has progressed:His development is consistent with the character, and there are emotional elements, which have occasioned his growth. There’s a lot of the rogue still left in Solo. Some things do not change.
However the former philosophy student has reassured fans he’s not going anywhere soon, saying:You may get real tired watching me, but I’m not going to quit.loQ!]
Receiving his star on th Hollywood Walk Of Fame with third wife Calista Flockhart, and his eldest sons, their partners and children
THE FORMER CARPENTER WHO BECAME THE ULTIMATE ACTION HERO Photo Gallery
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