Remembering Glenn Ford

101231__gelnn_ford_lLike many a great American, Glenn Ford was Canadian. The square-jawed actor (who died yesterday at age 90) made his reputation playing stolid, laconic military types and Western heroes, the bread-and-butter of the ’50s leading man. His awards tally includes a Golden Apple for Most Cooperative Actor and a Golden Globe for Pocketful of Miracles. It doesn’t include an Oscar — not even a nomination — and this, more than anything, has contributed to the image of Ford as a classically underrated Hollywood workhorse, a guy often described as the best thing about the largely forgettable movies he toplined.

But Ford liked to work, and work he did: sometimes three, four movies a year in his prime. His best-known roles involved neither cowboy hats nor Navy destroyers: His smoldering pas de deux with Rita Hayworth in 1946’s Gilda helped cement his position as a go-to lead, and his thick-skinned high-school teacher in 1955’s Blackboard Jungle demonstrated his credibility in “important” movies. He was also one of those mid-century Hollywood Iron Johns who could ennoble your film with a effortlessly authoritative performance, then put a roof on your house, re-pane your bay window, and wire your kitchen: His father, a Welsh-Canadian railway exec, gave Ford the OK to pursue acting if he first learned some useful trade-skills. Long after he was a success, the actor enjoyed fixing his home A/C and electrical systems. He designed his own house (with a 900-pound artificial sun suspended over a glassed-in atrium) and hung on the wall the Nazi death sentence he earned during WWII for training French Resistance fighters.

Really, who else could’ve been Superman’s Earth father?

addCredit(“Glenn Ford: Everett Collection”)

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  • Ned

    I haven’t seen many of his movies, but he’s still a part of my childhood because of his role as Pa Kent. Rest in peace Mr. Ford.

  • cabri

    One of my favorite actors. With “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”, he became my idea of the perfect father; the first thing I thought of when I heard of his passing was Eddie and him having a very serious discussion — and him with that twinkle in his eye.

  • Slick

    My sympathy to the Ford Family.
    You were one of Hollywoods BEST
    May you rest in peace.

  • Jakeem

    Just found out that Turner Classic Movies has scheduled a six-movie tribute to the late Glenn Ford for Sunday, Sept. 10. The movies will air from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT.
    The scheduled movies are:
    8:00 AM “The Desperadoes” (1943)
    9:30 AM “A Stolen Life” (1946)
    11:30 AM “Gilda” (1946)
    1:30 PM “The Blackboard Jungle” (1955)
    3:30 PM “The Teahouse of the August Moon” (1956)
    5:45 PM “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” (1963)

  • Kim

    With Deepest Sympathy.

  • california

    What is really scary is that yesterday TCM did a Sydney Poitier marathon and at 5 am Blackboard Jungle aired, which I watched for the very first time and loved, and at 4 pm Gled had passed away. That really weirded me out!!

  • Deborah

    Thank you for many years of entertaiment, Glen. My favorite movie of yours will always be the quirky Teahouse of the August Moon.

  • dee

    The only earlier movie I had seen him in was Gilda, but to the generation of people who were kids of the early 80′s, his voice and face resonate as Jonathan Kent. I was kinda perturbed that some radio/tv stations kinda forgot that he isn’t just known to the baby boomer and older population. Thanks, Mr. Ford!

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  • joe

    He acted in a lot of western movies and was noted for being able to draw and shoot a glass with a poker chip on top of the bottom ,throw it up, shoot the glass, and catch the poker chip with the same hand, so antoher fast gun has yet to do this.The Movie with this scene in is ( The Sheepman )

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  • Mario Mendoza

    I love his western movies still do. It is my believe Mr.Ford was one of the Greatest Actors of our Times.

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