a career that spans seven decades (he made his professional acting
debut fresh out of high school, and his first movie in 1937), Glenn
Ford was one of the last of a rare breed of leading men who emerged
during Hollywood's Golden Age. His youthful determination to learn
how not to act, led to a naturalistic on-screen style that
allowed him to excel in almost every film genre. Canadian born,
he has been embraced by generations of movie fans, and critics,
as an American Everyman.
Glenn was most renowned
for starring in such classics as Gilda,
Jungle, The Big Heat, Teahouse
of the August Moon, The
Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Rounders, Pocketful
of Miracles, The
Fastest Gun Alive, Don't
Go Near the Water, It
Started With A Kiss, 3:10
To Yuma, and Superman.
Television has been impacted by Glenn Ford's talent as
well through such films as The Brotherhood of the Bell,
The Sacketts, Beggarman Thief, and the series Cade's County.
and commanding in film noir dramas, Glenn's dashing looks and boyish
grin also made him perfect for love stories. His unassuming masculinity,
grace on horseback, and remarkably quick draw brought him glory
in a series of highly regarded westerns, and his comic talents enhanced
a number of popular comedies, particularly those set within a military
cast as the stalwart hero, he searched for ways to imbue the role
with human frailties audiences could identify with. He was never
afraid to expose the flaws in characters looked up to for their
leadership. Playing everything from cops and cowboys, gangsters
and gumshoes, reporters and refugees, dads and doctors, sheriffs
and sailors, and gamblers and generals, Glenn starred in more than
one hundred feature and television films.
a partial listing of his costars constitutes a "who's who"
of Hollywood's last six decades: Bette
Davis, Marlon Brando, Jack Lemmon, Barbara
Stanwyck, John Huston, Edward
G. Robinson, Henry
Fonda, Julie Harris, Tom Selleck, Shelley Winters, Robert
Mitchum, Angela Lansbury, Frederic March, Debbie
Reynolds, Christopher Reeve, Sidney Poitier, Gene
Charleton Heston, David Carradine, Barbara Hershey, Ethel Barrymore, and Shirley MacLaine. America's top box-office star of 1958, and a Golden
Globe winner for his performance as "Dave the Dude" in
Pocketful of Miracles, Glenn remained an audience favorite
for another thirty years. In 1989 his career achievements
were recognized with the French Legion of Honor.
of a more mercurial nature than his easygoing public image might
suggest. Glenn Ford's private life has, on occasion, been as dramatic
as one of his movie plots. "We are all three people,"
he said in 1949, "the person we think we are, the person the
world thinks we are, and the person we really are."
the years, Glenn has been linked romantically to literally dozens
of Hollywood's most dazzling women, including Joan
Crawford, Dinah Shore, Brigette Bardot ,Connie Stevens, Debbie
Reynolds, Maria Schell, Linda Christian, Hope Lange, and Judy
Garland. (If Bette
Davis is one that got away, it was not for a lack of trying
on her part).
relationship with stunning Rita Hayworth, his costar in five films, survived four decades in
various permutations, and was more serious and complex than has
ever been acknowledged publicly. Many of the dynamics that characterized
the plot of their most celebrated collaboration, Gilda, were at
work off the screen as well, drawing the ire of Orson
Welles, Rita's estranged husband, and Harry Cohn, Columbia Studio's
was married four times, most notably to lovely Eleanor
Powell, the tap dancing legend of movie musicals. Their union,
falsely depicted as picture-perfect by fan magazines, produced a
son, Peter, and lasted sixteen years. Glenn's 1966 marriage
to actress Kathryn
Hays (of As the World Turns fame), didn't last, and his subsequent
marital choices left him devastated emotionally and financially.
all of the remarkable women that played significant roles in Glenn
Ford's professional and personal life, however, the most influential
was undoubtedly his mother, Hannah, who was nearly burned to death
three days prior to Glenn's birth. Her intense and enduring devotion
to her "miracle baby" instilled expectations in Glenn
that his wives and lovers found difficult to live up to. Full details
of Hannah's mysterious early life, and the powerful, loving bond
she shared with her son have never been revealed before. In fact,
much of Glenn Ford: A Life is being shared with the public
for the first time.