Glenn Ford

Glenn Ford, born Gwyllyn Ford, actor (b at Québec City 1 May 1916; d at Beverly Hills, Ca 30 Aug 2006). Glenn Ford's family moved to Venice, Ca, in 1922 and became permanent US residents. He attended the Santa Monica High School, where he performed in theatre. An unprepossessing figure with a crewcut and a shy grin, he was a Hollywood leading man for more than 50 years, appearing in more than 100 films. After some stage experience with regional companies in California and a stint on Broadway, he signed a long-term contract with Columbia Pictures in 1939, the year he became an American citizen.

In 1942 he enlisted with the US Marines and served in World War II. His film career took off after the war, and he made his name as Johnny Farrell, a small-time gambler, in Gilda (1946), opposite Rita Hayworth. His credits range from Fritz Lang's classic noir thriller The Big Heat (1953) to the relaxed comedy of The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), opposite Marlon Brando, to the adult western 3:10 to Yuma (1957).

Glenn Ford specialized in portraying well-meaning, ordinary men who were tough when the chips were down. He is perhaps best remembered for his charming tough guy roles in Blackboard Jungle (1955), the first film to feature a rock 'n' roll soundtrack, and Pocketful of Miracles (1961), in which he played Dave the Dude, a New York mobster with a heart of gold (for which Ford won a Golden Globe Award for best actor). In 1958, he was named Hollywood's most popular male star. His contract to appear in Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles was notable at the time for its amount ($350 000) and for Ford's having negotiated it independently, outside of the old Hollywood studio system, which was coming to an end. In 1963, Ford had a hit with The Courtship of Eddie's Father, co-starring a very young Ron Howard. The film became the basis for a television series of the same name in 1969.

Glenn Ford turned to television in the 1970s with 3 short-lived series, Cade's County (1971-72), The Family Holvak (1975-77) and Once an Eagle (1976-77), and numerous miniseries. He continued to work in film, and played Clark Kent's father in the big-screen version of Superman in 1978. Near the end of his career, he had a small part in the Canadian-produced Happy Birthday to Me (1981).