It would be very common for celebrities to start young in their career. It didn't happen so to Harrison Ford for the pinnacle of his career only came at the ripe age of 35 when he attained a big role in "Star Wars" (1977) as Han Solo, the mischief Luke Skywalker's team member. Although there was a bumpy ride to go up the hill, the rest of the ride was all downhill. In 2002, the total salary he grasped reached up to $100M for 11 films, with Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson tailing behind. The record would definitely nail him as the most bankable actor in history. Ford's effort to gain success was fascinatingly by a strange quirk of fate. Many interesting 'by-chance' incidents in his pre-famous life led him to what he is now.
Peeping into his childhood, teenage and adolescent life, it seemed impossible that he would become a star one day. Ford was born on July 13, 1942 in Chicago. His father, Christopher Ford was an Irish Catholic while his mother, Dora Nidelman was a Russian Jewish. Ford was a shy and gentle kid back in Maine Township High School in Park Ridge. Being bullied was a daily activity but like Indiana Jones, the character he would play in the future, he didn't take revenge and kept calm. He graduated from the school in 1960 and immediately registered to Ripon College in Wisconsin. In this school, his life wasn't so fortunate either. He was neither particularly sporty nor excel in his studies. Depression came as early as his first year. He would sleep during the day, stop attending classes and failed most of the classes. The future was bleak, but he found a new field in which he had grown so fond of, acting. Not only discovering his talent in this new activity, but he also found his college sweetheart, Mary Marquardt. They were married in 1964, a year after he quitted college because he was not qualified for graduation. The pair had two sons, Benjamin and Willard.
For the sake of pursuing acting, he moved to Los Angeles, California where there was an interview for Young Talent Program. After the interview, he left without hoping that he'll get the job. However, as he went down to take a pee, one of the officials came running down towards him and offered a salary of $150 per week. He took it and appeared right away in three very small roles. His slightly bigger role was in a thriller titled "Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round" (1966). This movie was also his first debut on wide screen. Never giving up, he continued to get small roles but sadly remained unnoticed and received only typical roles like cowboys or hippies. Worse, he was sacked from the program and received bad reviews from the manager. Ford was soon in desperate need of money and suddenly out of nowhere he tried carpentry to support his family's life. Amazingly, without any experience he did well and was in for jobs like building stage and sets.
Though earning enough money from being a carpenter, Ford never put off his passion for acting. While kept taking minor roles, he was introduced to George Lucas, a director who would later discover his talent. Ford joined him in "American Graffiti" (1978), a very low budgeted movie but tremendously huge in profit. For the success of the movie, George Lucas was nominated for an Oscar and was en route to Hollywood's list of promising directors. On the other hand, the movie didn't manage to lift up Ford's name. Luckily, he met another great director, Francis Ford Coppola, who gave him a chance to appear in "The Conversation" (1974) where he was able to meet great actors, such as Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall. After that, Ford was featured in a TV movie titled "Judgement: The Court Martial of Lieutenant William Calley" (1975) but still for a very small role.
By the time it was already ten years that he did acting, but ironically he wasn't even close to being famous. He was still basically a carpenter who did a little acting. However, a twist of fate befell upon him when once again he came across George Lucas. He would say later, "We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance." Not wasting Ford's talent, the director immediately recruited him in his hopeful project, "Star Wars." The role Han Solo actually wasn't the first intended character for Ford, but during the reading of the script he gracefully got into the shoes of the character. Even though the movie was not exactly good, it was everybody's favorite. From the year 1977 onwards, Ford worked close to George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. With the latter, he took in the role Colonel Lucas in "Apocalypse Now" (1979). Unfortunately, with hands full of streaming job, his private life was disturbed. His relation with his wife, Mary came to an end. They divorced in 1979 and he blamed his non-stop works for it.
Many jobs meant more incoming money, but never any single leading role. Finally, in "Hanover Street" (1979) Ford was David Halloran, an American pilot who fell in love with a married nurse. The affair brought an inner conflict, as he had to fight for his life together with the nurse's husband in the front line. It was not a big hit, yet it was Ford's first romantic role. Meanwhile, the 80s was a hectic decade for Ford. He married the executive assistant of Coppola in "Apocalypse Now," Melissa Mathison. He was also still busy playing Han Solo for "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) and "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" (1983). As if those weren't enough, he took his biggest role, the famous adventurer Indiana Jones. Written by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg, "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984) was the first escapade of Indiana Jones. Remarkably, for all the heart throbbing acts, he did his own stunts. "I don't do stunts - I do running, jumping and falling down. After 25 years I know exactly what I'm doing." Widely accepted, the movie led him to even higher stardom.
Obviously, the most notable characters that Ford portrayed in that time were Indiana Jones and Han Solo. However, he was in an attempt to release himself from the notion that his characters would never far from the whipping-adventurer and the eccentric pilot. He broke the chain by appearing in "Witness" (1985) as a cop who had to protect the only witness to a murder. It was indeed a splendid performance that he later was nominated for an Oscar in 1986 and also a Golden Globe in the same year. Next, he teamed up with Roman Polanski in a terrific psychological thriller "Frantic" (1988). The movie was not challenging enough for Ford as he chose a more difficult character in "Presumed Innocent" (1990). He was a troubled prosecutor, accused of murdering his mistress. This story plot was quite similar to "The Fugitive" (1993) where Ford was a doctor who was falsely accused for murdering his own wife. Did his best in the latter flick, he was as an appreciation granted a Golden Globe nomination in 1994 under the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama.
When movie fans were reminded of Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn in the 1954 version of "Sabrina," they were introduced to the new formation in 1995 under the same title. Harrison Ford took the position of Bogart while Julia Ormond in the former shoes of Hepburn. It was during this time that Ford acquired his skill in flying a plane and riding big motorcycles. Two years later he was in "The Devil's Own" with Brad Pitt. Surprisingly, despite the fact that it stars notable cast, the film didn't meet the expectation to hit the box office. After the disappointment, there was the wonderful "Air Force One" in 1997. With Gary Oldman playing opposite Ford, this movie was a great triumph. Then as though cheering on his flying skill, Ford was Quinn Harriss, a grumpy pilot that got a crash landing while taking a magazine editor aboard in "Six Days Seven Nights" (1998). Some amusing and satirical jokes from the two characters were enough to make this movie a 'mild entertainment'.
After taking protagonist roles all along, "What Lies Beneath" (2000) offered him a chance to show his alter ego. The story was about a wife played by Michelle Pfeiffer who was capable of hearing and seeing something the others didn't. With so much effort she was trying to reveal 'what lies beneath' which secretly had something to do with her husband, played by Harrison Ford. Both great actors brilliantly built up the suspense right up to the end. Tension was also high in Ford's marriage to Melissa. They split up in 2002 and Ford was seen with Minnie Driver before finally involved himself in a long-term relationship with Calista Flockhart, whom he finally proposed to in April 2007.
Was given $20,000,000 for "What Lies Beneath," his salary was top notch in "K-19: The Widowmaker" (2002). He was paid as high as $25,000,000 plus 20% of the gross. This much fortune was more than enough to put him at rest for a year before starring again in a crime-comedy movie titled "Hollywood Homicide" (2003) with the new uprising star Josh Hartnett. Shortly thereafter, he could be seen in "Water to Wine" (2004), a half documentary video where apart from himself, the rest of the cast were playing as themselves. Then, as poised as his own temperament, the new character Jack Stanfield that he played in "Firewall" (2006) was calm and steady. For the next three years, Ford would still munch on movies as he has already billed in "Crossing Over" (2007), "No True Glory: Battle for Fallujah" (2008), "Fourth Installment of the Indiana Jones Adventures" (2008), and "Manhunt" (2009), all being expected to be great vehicles in maintaining his long career.