Sunday, April 6, 2008

Featured Pipe Smoker: Glenn Ford

Glenn Ford (1916-2006)

Glenn Ford, whose real name was Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford, was born in Quebec. When he was still a small child, his family moved to Santa Monica, California, where he grew up. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1939.

His first movie role was in 1937 in the movie Night in Manhattan. He had parts in several more movies between then and 1942, when he interrupted his career to volunteer for duty in the U.S. Marines during World War II.

After his military service, he went back to acting, starring along with Rita Hayworth in Gilda in 1946. This launched him into "leading man" status, and he went on the play many memorable characters, often portraying cowboys and "the ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances." He had parts in, and often starred in, more than 100 movies and TV shows.

The photo above comes with this information:
Handsome Glenn Ford pipes up--with his fabulous assortment of pipes. The actor had more than 50 in his collection, the first of which he bought when he was in the Army [according to Wikipedia and Glenn Ford - Performer and Patriot, it was the Marines.--ed.] during World War II. That first pipe helped Ford get his big Hollywood break.

"When I returned from the war, nobody would hire me," he recalls. "Then one day I met Bette Davis. She was looking for someone to star with her in A Stolen Life. She asked me: 'Do you have a pipe and a decent jacket?' I was wearing my captain's uniform at the time."

When he returned for a screen test, Ford made sure he had a jacket--and his lucky pipe. Davis loved his audition, "and I got the role," says an ever-thankful Ford, 81. The movie made him a star.
Glenn Ford retired from acting in 1991 due to health problems. During his remaining years he lived a quiet life with his son and his son's family in Beverly Hills. In his later years, he had suffered a series of minor strokes which left him in increasingly frail health, and he passed away on August 30, 2006.

When once asked how he wanted to be remembered, Ford said, "he did his best and he believed in God."

UPDATE: LawDog has details on Mr. Ford's military service.

UPDATE 2: Castle Argghhh! also remembers Mr. Ford.

NOTE: This post was originally published on one of my other blogs not long after Ford's death in September 2006.

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