Good looking and extraordinarily versatile, Glenn Ford is known for portraying ordinary men in unusual circumstances. Born Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford on May 1, 1916 in Quebec, Canada where he spent his childhood years until he migrated to Sta. Monica in California with his family when he was eight years old. After graduating from Sta. Monica High School, he join small theater groups. His executive railroad father did not oject to his growing interest in drama and acting provided he also acquired some skills in the crafts such as homebuilding so that he can have something to fall back on to sustain him in their adoptive country. His father’s advice proved fruitful because even at the height of his popularity during Hollywood’s Golden Era, he regularly worked on the wiring, plumbing, air conditioning and roofing of his home.
In 1939, Glenn Ford acquired U.S. citizenship and on that same year, he joined Columbia Pictures playing his first major role in “Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence” using a stage name derived from his father’s hometown in Glenford, Canada. In 1956, he got his first screen breakthrough in “Gilda,” starring with Rita Hayworth who was to be his leading lady in five films. Usually cast as a calm, collected everyday hero that conveyed courage under pressure, this legendary actor connected with his audiences. By 1958, Ford was voted the premier box-office attraction. Through intelligent career choices, he was able to extend and sustain his fame and popularity well into the decade of the 70s and 80s.
The meteoric rise to stardom of Glenn Ford was interrupted in 1940 when he joined the United States Marines during World War II where he helped build safe houses in France for those hiding from the Nazis. He continued his military career in the Naval Reserve until the Vietnam War and became one of the few Hollywood actors to achieve the flag rank of captain and enabled him to make subsequent goodwill visits to Vietnam and Korea.
Glenn Ford supported the United States Democratic Party during the first half of his life and campaigned for the presidency of Adlai Stevenson in the 50s. In later years, however, he switched his party allegiance and supported the Republican Party and campaigned for his good friend Ronald Reagan during the U.S. presidential elections in 1980 and 1984. After suffering a series of strokes at the turn of the century, he passed away in 2006 at the ripe age of 90 ending a sterling career that spanned seven decades that covered over 100 films.