A Bit More About Glenn Ford

Just because I love him.

The Associated Press has a great column about Glenn Ford that compares him to William Holden, looks into his character, and explores why he was a star and is now a legend.

Some excerpts:

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Glenn Ford: No Oscar, but a Great Career
By Bob Thomas The Associated Press Thursday, August 31, 2006

He never won an Academy Award_ in fact, was never nominated. He never earned the big bucks that stars of his stature enjoyed. Yet for 52 years Glenn Ford remained an in-demand actor whose name above the title could attract movie ticket buyers.

Ford might be called the anti-star. He didn’t hang out with the gang in Hollywood watering holes. He never quarreled with directors or studio bosses. His name was never sullied by scandal. He did his acting job and went on to the next one. […]

During interviews with this reporter over the years, Ford revealed some of the factors contributing to his longevity.

“I’ve always been of the opinion that motion pictures talk too much,” he remarked in 1975. “When I see films that go on and on with dialogue, I feel like telling the actors, `Be quiet! Let the audience do some of the work.’ It’s much better to let the audience use their imaginations than to tell them everything.

“Some actors count their lines as soon as they receive a script. I’m the opposite. I try to see how many lines I can whittle down. I tell producers and directors, `Do me a favor and trim that speech to four lines.’ You can say just as much in four as you can in fourteen.”

Ford was no pushover for overbearing directors. He earned battle stars for some of his encounters. But in 1965 he commented: “I think film actors are better off when they are in the hands of a strong director. When actors are coddled and catered to, they lose their sense of reality. If you don’t applaud after their close-ups, they go into their dressing rooms and pout.”

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For anyone who is interested:

Turner Classic Movies is airing a 6-film tribute to Glenn Ford on September 10.

8:00 AM The Desperadoes (’43)
9:30 AM A Stolen Life (’46)
11:30 AM Gilda (’46)
1:30 PM Blackboard Jungle (’55)
3:30 PM The Teahouse of the August Moon (’56)
5:45 PM The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (’63)

Glenn Ford (1916 – 2006)


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]

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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.

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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.