Glenn Ford, star of Gilda and Blackboard Jungle, died yesterday at his Beverly Hills home. He was 90.
His acting career began in the late 1930s with roles in Westerns, comedies, and other B-list pictures. It wasn’t until 1946, when he starred in Gilda alongside Rita Hayworth, that his leading man stature was established.
His relaxed persona became his trademark. “If they tried to rush me, I’d always say I’ve only got one other speed, and it’s slower.”
Glenn Ford appeared in more than 80 films, reaching his peak popularity in the 1950s and he was voted No. 1 at the box office in 1958.
Sidney Poitier, who costarred with Ford in Blackboard Jungle, the movie in which Ford delivers his best performance, said this on Wednesday night:
“It comes to mind instantly what a remarkable actor he was. He had those magical qualities that are intangible but are quite impactful on the screen. He was a movie star.” [SOURCE]
Excerpts from The New Tork Times obituary:
Mr. Ford, who had the ability to project a taut resoluteness and inner strength along with affability and gentleness, was never nominated for an Academy Award, although his acting consistently won high praise from critics and he was popular with moviegoers, especially in the 1950’s. He started his Hollywood career seemingly typecast as an actor who could do well in undistinguished films. He thus made a series of B movies for Columbia Pictures, playing featured roles in such forgettable productions as Men Without Souls and My Son Is Guilty (both in 1940) and Texas, The Desperadoes and Destroyer (all in 1941).
He usually attracted critical praise even when the script, production and direction were anything but praiseworthy.
In 1946, for example, Mr. Ford starred opposite Rita Hayworth in Gilda, a film remembered mostly as the vehicle for her provocative rendition of a song called Put the Blame on Mame. Writing in The New York Times, Bosley Crowther praised Mr. Ford’s “stamina and poise in a thankless role.”
But in the 1950’s, Mr. Ford began to make pictures that were more consistent with the ability he had repeatedly demonstrated. In 1955, he played an idealistic, beleaguered teacher in Blackboard Jungle, which was about daily life in what was then regarded as a tough New York City high school. […]
To finish reading The New York Times obituary, click here.
In May of this year, the American Cinematheque at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre held a 90th birthday tribute for Glenn Ford. Due to his failing health, he was unable to attend the ceremony. He did send a greeting via video:
“I wish I were up and around, but I’m doing the best that I can. … There’s so much I have to be grateful for.“
The web site that was established to celebrate Glenn Ford’s 90th birthday has been expanded so that fans can send their condolences to the Ford family. You can visit it here.