Harrison Ford has been in some of my favorite movies of all time. So I was excited to find out we have something in common: we were both born in Chicago! Of course, that's where the similarities end. I'm a mild-mannered librarian, and he's a movie star responsible for bringing some of the most beloved characters of all time to life. On this Throwback Thursday, we're celebrating Harrison Ford's 75th birthday by looking at his life and extraordinary career.
Ford grew up in Park Ridge. He was more interested in extracurriculars than school, and he eventually flunked out of Ripon College. Luckily, he started acting with a group called the Belfry Players, performing a wide variety of parts and helping with set design and construction.
Ford and his wife, Mary Marquardt, moved out to California, where he became a contract actor at Columbia Pictures. He took on many small roles as his family grew, and he learned carpentry to supplement his income. Ford's first big break came in American Graffiti, a coming-of-age story based on the formative years of its director, George Lucas.
Lucas and Ford next worked together on the movie that needs no introduction: Star Wars: A New Hope. Ford gave Han Solo, the scoundrel with a heart of gold, so much character and charm that you can't help but love him, even when he's running from stormtroopers. He starred in the rest of the trilogy, eventually falling in love with a princess and helping the Rebellion win the war. Ford also improvised many of his lines. For example, when Princess Leia finally tells Han Solo that she loves him in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the jaded smuggler replies wearily, "I know," instead of the written "I love you too."
Not long after the release of The Empire Strikes Back, Ford starred in another iconic movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indiana Jones is both a brilliant professor and a swashbuckling adventurer. Ford actually did a lot of his own stunts and added his own flair to an already exciting character.
Ford branched out with the role of a detective investigating a murder in Amish country in Witness. His performance earned him his only Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in 1986.
In one of my favorite later Harrison Ford movies, he portrayed the president of the United States trapped with hijackers on Air Force One.
His career has run the gamut from action to romance—and it's not over yet! What's your favorite Harrison Ford movie? Tell us in the comments.