Harrison Ford is an American actor, aviator and environmental activist. He gained worldwide fame for his starring roles as Han Solo in the Star Wars film series and as the title character of the Indiana Jones film franchise. Ford is also widely known for playing Rick Deckard in the neo-noir dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner and its sequel Blade Runner 2049, and Jack Ryan in the spy thrillers Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Take a look below for 35 more fun and fascinating facts about Harrison Ford.
1. Ford was born at the Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, to Christopher Ford, an advertising executive and former actor, and Dorothy, a former radio actress.
2. A younger brother, Terence, was born in 1945.
3. His father was Catholic and his mother was Jewish.
4. Ford’s paternal grandparents, John Fitzgerald Ford and Florence Veronica Niehaus, were of Irish and German descent, respectively.
5. Ford’s maternal grandparents, Harry Nidelman and Anna Lifschutz, were Jewish emigrants from Minsk, Belarus (at that time a part of the Russian Empire).
6. When asked in which religion he and his brother were raised, Ford jokingly responded, “Democrat,” “to be liberals of every stripe”.
7. In a television interview shown in August 2000, when asked about what influence his Irish Catholic and Russian Jewish ancestry may have had on his life as a person and as an artist, Ford humorously stated, “As a man I’ve always felt Irish, as an actor I’ve always felt Jewish.”
8. Ford was active in the Boy Scouts of America, and achieved its second-highest rank, Life Scout.
9. He worked at Napowan Adventure Base Scout camp as a counselor for the Reptile Study merit badge. Because of this, he and director Steven Spielberg later decided to depict the young Indiana Jones as a Life Scout in the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
10. In 1960, Ford graduated from Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Illinois.
11. His was the first student voice broadcast on his high school’s new radio station, WMTH, and he was its first sportscaster during his senior year (1959–60).
12. He attended Ripon College in Wisconsin, where he was a philosophy major and a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity.
13. He took a drama class in the final quarter of his senior year to get over his shyness.
14. Ford, a self-described “late bloomer”, became fascinated with acting.
15. Ford has been married three times and has five children. His first wife was Mary Marquardt or Mary Ford Becker, from 1964 until their divorce in 1979.
16. They had two sons, chef-restaurateur Benjamin Ford (born 1966) and clothier Willard Ford (born 1969). Benjamin Ford co-owns Ford’s Filling Station, a gastropub with two locations: at The Marriott, L.A. Live, Downtown Los Angeles, and at LAX Terminal 5. Willard is the owner of Strong Sports Gym, and was co-owner of the Kim Sing Theater and owner of the Ludwig Clothing company.
17. Ford’s second wife was screenwriter Melissa Mathison; they married in March 1983 and separated in late 2000, subsequently divorcing.
18. They had two children, actor/musician Malcolm Ford (born 1987) and actress Georgia Ford (born 1990).
19. Ford began dating actress Calista Flockhart after they met at the 2002 Golden Globe Awards, and together they are parents to her adopted son, Liam (born 2001). Ford proposed to Flockhart over Valentine’s Day weekend in 2009. They married on June 15, 2010, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Ford was filming Cowboys & Aliens.
20. In her 2016 autobiography The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher claimed that she and Ford had a three-month affair in 1976 during the filming of Star Wars.
21. Ford is known as one of Hollywood’s most private actors, guarding much of his personal life.
22. Ford is a licensed pilot of both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and owns an 800-acre (320-hectare) ranch in Jackson, Wyoming, approximately half of which he has donated as a nature reserve.
23. On several occasions, Ford has personally provided emergency helicopter services at the request of local authorities, in one instance rescuing a hiker overcome by dehydration.
24. Ford began flight training in the 1960s at Wild Rose Idlewild Airport in Wild Rose, Wisconsin, flying in a Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer, but at $15 an hour (equivalent to $124 in 2018), he could not afford to continue the training.
25. In the mid-1990s, he bought a used Gulfstream II and asked one of his pilots, Terry Bender, to give him flying lessons. They started flying a Cessna 182 out of Jackson, Wyoming, later switching to Teterboro, New Jersey, flying a Cessna 206, the aircraft in which he made his first solo flight.
26. On October 23, 1999, Harrison Ford was involved in the crash of a Bell 206L4 LongRanger helicopter (N36R).
27. On March 5, 2015, Ford’s plane, believed to be a Ryan PT-22 Recruit, made an emergency landing on the Penmar Golf Course in Venice, California. Ford had radioed in to report that the plane had experienced engine failure.
28. On February 13, 2017, Ford landed an Aviat Husky at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California on the taxiway left of runway 20L. A Boeing 737 was holding short of the runway on the taxiway when Ford overflew them.
29. In 2009, Ford signed a petition in support of Polish film director Roman Polanski, calling for his release after he was arrested in Switzerland in relation to his 1977 charge for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl.
30. Ford is vice-chair of Conservation International an American nonprofit environmental organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. The organization’s intent is to protect nature.
31. In 1993, the arachnologist Norman Platnick named a new species of spider Calponia harrisonfordi, and in 2002, the entomologist Edward O. Wilson named a new ant species Pheidole harrisonfordi (in recognition of Harrison’s work as Vice Chairman of Conservation International).
32. Since 1992, Ford has lent his voice to a series of public service messages promoting environmental involvement for EarthShare, an American federation of environmental and conservation charities.
33. Like his parents, Ford is a lifelong Democrat.
34. On September 7, 1995, Ford testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of the Dalai Lama and an independent Tibet.
35. In 2003, he publicly condemned the Iraq War and called for “regime change” in the United States. He also criticized Hollywood for making movies which were “more akin to video games than stories about human life and relationships”, and he called for more gun control in the United States.