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Ford, Glenn
Written by Diana Saenger   
Glenn Ford A Versatile Actor

glennfordsm.jpgDate of Birth: May 1, 1916

Place of Birth:Sainte-Christine Quebec, Canada

Date of Death: August 30, 2006

Place of Death: Los Angeles, CA

Cause of Death: uncertain

A versatile actor known mostly for his Western rolls Glenn Ford, who made more than 100 films, passed away August 30, 2006. Notable were Pocketful of Miracles(1961), for which he won a Best Actor Golden Globe, Don't Go Near the Waterand The Teahouse of the August Moon, both which garnered him Best Actor Golden Globe nominations.

Glenn Ford was born Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford to Hannah and Newton Ford in Ste. Christine, Canada. His father was a railroad conductor and his ancestors worked in the mills. Ford took his first acting bow at the age of four in Tom Thumb's Wedding in a community theater. In 1923 his family moved to Santa Monica, California.

The young Ford studied acting in high school while he worked odd jobs including one at Will Rogers' stables where he pursued his love of horses. He found his way into small jobs on studio lots and then landed a speaking role in Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour.

Ford bounced from coast to coast as he performed on the stage and in 1937 landed a small role in Night in Manhattan. While both 20th Century Fox and Paramount had given him a small role in their pictures, neither signed him to a contract.

Columbia Pictures, however, saw something in the good-looking and clean cut star. They made him a contract player and put him in the 1939 My Son Is Guilty. Columbia boss Harry Cohn recognized Ford had potential but that he needed a new name. Ford picked "Glenn," the town where his father was born.

1940 was the start of some significant achievements for Ford. He became an American citizen and scored a lead role in director Charles Vidor's Lady In Question opposite Rita Hayworth. But the year 1941 changed so many film stars' lives when WWII began. Ford served two years with both the Navy and the Marine Corps. It was while on leave that he married dancer and actress Eleanor Powell.

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Glenn Ford & Eleanor Powell at home
She gave birth to their son, Peter, in 1945. Ford was appointed Commander in the Naval Reserves after the war and served two tours of duty in Vietnam with the Third Marine Amphibious Force in 1966-1968.

Heading back to Hollywood Ford scored the lead opposite Bette Davis in A Stolen Life (1946). He steamed up the screen again in the noir thriller Gilda with Rita Hayworth. He slowly moved into westerns, something Ford really liked. The 1948 The Man From Colorado was called a "psychological western" genre due to its dark and brooding central characters and themes. Both Ford and William Holden displayed the kind of talent that made their careers. Ford allowed the darkness in his character to take over his emotions, resulting in a very unpopular character. Holden, with a kinder, gentler role, drew favor to his character.

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Glenn Ford in Plunder the Sun

During the early 1950s Ford starred in everything from European films to the steamy The Big Heat (1953) and Human Desire (1954) with Gloria Grahame. He appeared in John Wayne's Batjac Productions' Plunder of the Sun in 1953. Ford surprised many at his versatility when he played the cunning villain in the psychological western 3:10 to Yuma (1957).

Along with earning awards for the 1950s films mentioned at the beginning of this profile, Ford and Eleanor won Emmy awards for producing the Faith of Our Children program. The couple divorced in 1959.

The 1960s saw Ford in many westerns including The Rounders (1965) with Henry Fonda, Advance to Rear (1964) with Stella Stevens and Day of the Evil Gun (1968) with Arthur Kennedy. In 1966 Ford married TV actress Kathryn Hays. There were married for three years.

Hays must have had some influence on Ford's career because he moved into TV roles in the late 1960s. He appeared in the television series, Cade's County, in which Ford played the sheriff of Madrid County, and that also starred his son Peter. As his career naturally begin to slow and he suffered heart and circulatory problems, Ford still appeared in some TV and feature film roles in the 1980s and 1990. He would marry twice more, to Cynthia Hayward in 1977, lasting seven years, and then for two years to Jeanne Baus in 1993.

Glenn Ford was a beloved actor who went for his dream and mastered it. He played many type roles, on the whole became so many characters before our lives and branded those screen images in our minds permanently. Ford is survived by Peter Ford, his son from Ford's marriage to Eleanor Powell.

Photos Paramount Home Entertainment and Photoplay Magazine

 

 

 

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