Friday, December 29, 2006

Glenn Ford, A Remarkable Actor 1916 - 2006.

I must of missed this news when it first came out, and only found out when
reading through one of my monthly movie magazines. This was a U.K.
publication called "Film Review" and the November issue had only reached
our shores. In the obituaries column was an article on the death of Glenn Ford.
He was one of my mothers favourite actors. Whenever a new Glenn Ford
film was released we knew that a visiting to the cinema would be imminent.

Gwyllyn Samuel Newton "Glenn" Ford was an acclaimed Canadian-born actor
from Hollywood's Golden Era with a career that spanned seven decades.
He was born in Québec and moved to Santa Monica, California with his family
at the age of eight, and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1939.

One of Glenn's eary films was Gilda
with Rita Hayward made in 1946.
The sinister boss of a
South American casino finds
that his right-hand man
Johnny (Ford) and his sensuous
new wife Gilda already know each other.

Another of Ford's early films was the
"Blackboard Jungle" made in 1955.
This film was about a decent middle aged school teacher (Ford) who goes to teach in an unruly high school filled with thugs led by Vic Morrow. This was also one of Sidney Poitier's early films.

Another early film was
"The Big Heat" made in 1953
with Gloria Grahame.
This also starred Lee Marvin
also in one of his early roles.
Detective Dave Bannion
investigates a police sergeant's
suicide. Strictly routine...until
a B-girl claiming to have evidence
is found murdered, and Bannion's
superiors order him off the case.
This film is best known for the
shocking scene of facial
disfigurement, when a pretty
gangster moll has a pot of scalding
coffee callously tossed into her face by her abusive boyfriend (Lee Marvin).
Ford is best known for his film roles playing either cowboys or ordinary
men in unusual circumstances.
Following military service, Ford's breakthrough role was in 1946, starring
alongside Rita Hayworth in Gilda. He went on to be a leading man opposite
her in a total of five films.

Ford's first film was made in 1937 and it was a 10 minute musical
called "Night in Manhattan" and he played the part of the emcee and
was credited under his real name Gwyllyn Ford.
After Ford graduated from High school, he began working on small theatre
groups. Ford later commented that his father had no objection to his son's
growing interest in acting but told him: "Its all right for you to try to act, if
you learn something else first. Be able to take a car apart and put it together.
Be able to build a house, every bit of it. Then you'll always have something to
fall back on." Ford listened to his father's advice and during the 1950s, when he
was one of Hollywood's most popular actors, he regularly worked on plumbing,
wiring and air conditioning at home.

Ford was married four times: to actress Eleanor Powell (1943-1959, one son)
Kathryn Hays (1966-1969); Cynthia Hayward (1977-1984); and Jeanne Baus
(1993-1994). All four marriages ended in divorce.
Glenn Ford's acting career flourished in the 1950s and '60s, and continued into
the early 1990s, with an increasing number of television roles. His major roles
in thrillers, dramas and action films include Experiment in Terror, Four
Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Ransom, Superman and westerns such as
3:10 to Yuma; The Man From The Alamo; The Cowboy and Cimarron. Ford's
versatility also allowed him to star in a number of popular comedies, including
Teahouse of the August Moon, Don't Go Near the Water and The Courtship
of Eddie's Father.

In 1971 Ford had signed with CBS to star in his first television series,
a half hour comedy/drama titled "The Glenn Ford Show". However,
Fred Silverman, the head of CBS at the time, noticed that many of the
featured films being shown at a Glenn Ford film festival were westerns.
Consequently, he suggested to Ford that he consider doing a western,
which resulted in the "modern day Western" series, Cade's County.
which showed for one season 1971-1972, in which he played Southwestern
Sheriff Cade in a mix of western drama and police mystery.

Prior to signing with CBS for his first television series, Ford was offered the
lead role in the ABC series The Persuaders, co-starring Roger Moore.
He turned down the offer because the series would be filmed in Europe
and he wanted to stay in California. The role ended up going to Tony Curtis.

In 1978, Ford had a supporting role in Superman, as Clark Kent's adopted
father, Jonathan Kent, a role that introduced Ford to a new generation of film
audiences. Ford's final scene in the film begins with a direct reference to
Blackboard Jungle - the earlier film's theme song "Rock Around the Clock" is
heard on a car radio.

As I will remember Glenn Ford who left a lot of memorable films for
future film goers to enjoy from high drama, thrillers, comedies and westerns.

Glenn's only child, Peter Ford (born 1945), also became an actor (as well as
a singer and radio host) before giving up on his acting career around 1975.
He later became a successful business contractor.

After being nominated in 1957 and 1958, in 1962 Glenn Ford won a Golden
Globe Award as Best Actor for his performance in Frank Capra's Pocketful of
Miracles. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Glenn Ford has
a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1978, he was inducted into the
Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage
Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Glenn Ford suffered a series of minor strokes which left him in frail health
in the years leading up to his death. On the 30th August, 2006 Glenn Ford
passed away from complications from multiple strokes.
And so another of movies "legends" has joined the rest of Hollywood's cast
from the great golden era. There are not too many actors from this era who are still with us.


Peter said...

The ranks of the "old time Stars" are gettin' pretty thin now-a-days Wazza, and Glen Ford was an example of the bib stars who will shine on.

Lee said...

Hi Wazza...thanks for that tribute to Glenn Ford...I always liked him...he came across as a 'gentleman'. He had a air of wisdom and softness about him but in no way did it detract from his manliness.

I hope you have a very happy and safe New Year. :)

Merle said...

Hi Warren ~~ Great tribute to Glenn Ford. I liked him too. Enjoyed your story and photos from Coffs Harbour.I thought it was a great place too, but have only ever passed through it.
The drivibg in the rain must have been horrific. Dorrigo looked nice too from the photo.
I like that Margaret called you Chad as that was what I was thinking too, but too polite to say so. Mightnt get a card next door if I don't play nice.I hope you and my little brother are still sober.
Have fun, but take care, Merle.

Margaret said...

WOW!!! You certainly have posted well here. I loved Glenn Ford. BTW I was lucky enough to have free tickets to a preview screening of Black Board Jungle which was not availble to the public in general. Of coursew Bill Hayley may have helped with my appreciation of that particular movie as well.
Thanks for you visit and valuable words of wisdom. Cheers Margaret

DellaB said...

That's quite a collection you've got there Wazza - some good memories.

I hear you've had a few busy days? How's the head?


Hale McKay said...

Wazza, that's a fine tribute to a truly fine actor. You can't watch many movie channels on cable up here without seeing one of his films on the schedule.

Hope you have a great New Year.

Raggedy said...

That was a wonderful tribute!

Happy New Year!!!!

I have missed you..
Xtra hugs

Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) hugs
(")_ (")Š from
the Cool Raggedy one

Jim said...

Happy New Year Warren!
You sure did a good job writing up Glenn Ford. I had lost track of him and sure didn't know a lot about many of his performances.
BTW, that Raggedy is sweet on you? Nobody, not even Mrs. Jim gives me all those hugs.

Lee said...

Okay, Wazza...where are you hiding? Time to come out and play with us!

Eleanor Powell, one-time wife of Ford's was a brilliant dancer and a great favourite of my mother's.