Sunday, January 23, 2011


... who was once one of the top leading men in Hollywood.
I'm an easy touch for classic films and their stars.
Although Glenn Ford passed away in 2006, failing health and a decision to retire in seclusion meant the Quebec City-born actor had long fallen off the radar of most filmgoers.
If you consider yourself a serious film fan, titles like Gilda, 3:10 to Yuma, Blackboard Jungle, The Big Heat, The Fastest Gun Alive, Pocketful of Miracles, The Sheepman, The Courtship of Eddie's Father and Experiment in Terror, to name just a few of his 107 film and TV credits, will stir a memory or two.
After nearly 10 years in the making, son Peter Ford will be releasing a biography on his father that is expected to straighten out some of the publicity-mill myths that were repeated as fact for many years. Glenn Ford's story starts as the only son of a railway employee (his mother escaped a burning building days before his birth), the family's migration to southern California, and his rise to starring in movies alongside Bette Davis, Fredric March, buddy William Holden and favourite leading lady Rita Hayworth. Married to Hollywood sweetheart Eleanor Powell, who at the time was a star who's film credits dwarfed those of her husband, Ford's career caught fire after returning from a stint in the U.S. Marines on the back of film noir masterpiece Gilda. From that point on, he was among Hollywood's top-10 male stars for nearly 20 years, and remained a 'name' on any film that attracted attention right into the 1980s.
One of his briefest cameos was a touching performance in Richard Donner's Superman, where he played Pa Kent.
Will the book correct stories about Ford's war record, his romances, and tidbits like being related to John A. Macdonald? All I can say is, from a dinner I had with the author and his-then collaborator Christopher Nickens in 2004, separating fiction from fact was a main goal. Even if some of the more 'glorious' pieces of publicity were subtracted from Ford's bio, it still promised to be very enticing for a film fan like myself. Here's hoping.
I've already ordered my copy, which is due out later this spring.


Anonymous said...

A bit of a stretch, to call him a Canadian. He left Canada at the age of 8. Became an American citizen(by choice), and served in the United States military. Even enlisted in the Reserves following his discharge. Oh yeah, and he joined the Democratic party...

Canadian Rosebud, hmmm?

penlan said...

Always liked Glenn Ford & still enjoy watching movies he starred in.

rockfish said...

If we can claim 'basketball' as a Canadian creation, so can we claim Glenn Ford.
And midway through his life he turned to the republican party, had a mysterious past-life experience, and co-authored (?) a book on the importance of gardening (which coincidentally came a little after he did a film in Japan with Eddie Albert)... and he came second in the bidding for the Atlanta Flames when they were up for sale and eventually moved to Calgary.
As an acquaintance of his son, Peter (a real right-winger), i was able to read one of Glenn's letters home to mom in 1938 when he was on Broadway (briefly), talking about catching a Rangers game and cheering on the Canadiens. Even though he was an American by choice he never ignored his Canadian roots. Vacationed in BC often, was on the first flight when daily LA flights to Vancouver were unveiled, and grandmarshall at a handful of Canadian parades.