Nationality: American. Born: Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford in Quebec, Canada, 1 May 1916; grew up in Santa Monica, California. Education: Attended Santa Monica High School, graduated 1934. Military Service: U.S. Marine Corps, 1942–45; served in marine unit in Vietnam, 1967–68: colonel. Family: Married 1) the actress Eleanor Powell, 1943 (divorced 1959), son: the actor Peter Ford; 2) the actress Kathryn Hays, 1966 (divorced 1968); 3) the actress Cynthia Hayward, 1977; 4) Jeanne Baus, 1993. Career: Worked with Wilshire Theatre, Los Angeles; 1935—stage debut in The Children's Hour ; 1939—film debut in Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence ; contract with Columbia; 1971–72—in TV series Cade's County , and series The Family Holvak , 1975; 1976—in TV mini-series Once an Eagle , and Evening in Byzantium , 1978. Agent: c/o Artists Group, 9200 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 318, Los Angeles, CA 90069, U.S.A.
Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (Cortez) (as Joe); My Son Is Guilty ( Crime's End ) (Barton) (as Barney)
Convicted Woman (Grinde) (as Jim Brent); Men without Souls (Grinde) (as Johnny Adams); Babies for Sale (Barton) (as Steve Burton); The Lady in Question ( It Happened in Paris ) (Charles Vidor) (as Pierre Morestan); Blondie Plays Cupid (Strayer) (as Charlie)
So Ends Our Night (Cromwell) (as Ludwig Kern); Texas (George Marshall) (as Tod Ramsey); Go West, Young Lady (Strayer) (as Tex Miller)
The Adventures of Martin Eden (Salkow) (title role); Flight Lieutenant (Salkow) (as Danny Doyle)
The Desperadoes (Charles Vidor) (as Cheyenne Rogers); Destroyer (Seiter) (as Mickey Donohue); Hollywood in Uniform (appearance)
Gilda (Charles Vidor) (as Johnny Farrell); A Stolen Life (Bernhardt) (as Bill Emerson); Gallant Journey (Wellman) (as John Montgomery)
Framed ( Paula ) (Wallace) (as Mike Lambert)
The Mating of Millie (Levin) (as Doug Andrews); The Man from Colorado (Levin) (as Col. Owen Devereaux); The Loves of Carmen (Charles Vidor) (as Don José); The Return of October ( Date with Destiny ) (Joseph H. Lewis) (as Prof. Bassett); Make It Real (short for United Jewish Appeal) (as narrator)
Undercover Man (Joseph H. Lewis) (as Frank Warren); Lust for Gold ( For Those Who Dare ) (Simon) (as Jacob Walz); Mr. Soft Touch ( House of Settlement ) (Douglas and Levin) (as Joe Miracle); The Doctor and the Girl (Bernhardt) (as Dr. Michael Corday); Hollywood Goes to Church (Staub—short)
The White Tower (Tetzlaff) (as Martin Ordway); Convicted ( One Way Out ) (Levin) (as Joe Hufford); The Flying Missile (Levin) (as Cmdr. Bill Talbot); The Redhead and the Cowboy (Fenton) (as Gil Kyle)
Follow the Sun (Lanfield) (as Ben Hogan); The Secret of Convict Lake (Michael Gordon) (as Canfield); Young Man with Ideas (Leisen) (as Maxwell Webster); The Green Glove ( Le Gantelet vert ) (Maté) (as Michael Blake)
Affair in Trinidad (Sherman) (as Steve Emery); Time Bomb ( Terror on a Train ) (Tetzlaff) (as Peter Lyncourt)
The Man from the Alamo (Boetticher) (as John Stoud); Plunder of the Sun (Farrow) (as Al Colby); The Big Heat (Fritz Lang) (as David Bannion); Appointment in Honduras (Jacques Tourneur) (as Steve Corbett)
Human Desire (Fritz Lang) (as Jeff Warren); The Violent Men ( Rough Company ) (Maté) (as John Parrish); City Story (Beaudine) (as narrator)
The Americano (Castle) (as Sam Dent); Blackboard Jungle (Richard Brooks) (as Richard Dadier); Interrupted Melody
Ransom! (Segal) (as David G. Stannard); Jubal (Daves) (as Jubal Troop); The Fastest Gun Alive (Rouse) (as George Temple); The Teahouse of the August Moon (Daniel Mann) (as Capt. Fisby)
3:10 to Yuma (Daves) (as Ben Wade); Don't Go Near the Water (Walters) (as Lt. Max Siegel)
The Sheepman (George Marshall) (as Jason Sweet); Cowboy (Daves) (as Tom Reece); Imitation General (George Marshall) (as M/Sgt. Murphy Savage); Torpedo Run (Pevney) (as Lt. Cmdr. Barney Doyle)
It Started with a Kiss (George Marshall) (as Sgt. Joe Fitzpatrick)
Cimarron (Anthony Mann) (as Yancey Cravet); The Gazebo (George Marshall) (as Elliott Nash); Cry for Happy (George Marshall) (as Andy Cyphers)
Pocketful of Miracles (Capra) (as Dave "the Dude" Conway, + co-pr)
Experiment in Terror ( The Grip of Fear ) (Edwards) (as John Ripley); The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Minnelli) (as Julio Desnoyers)
The Courtship of Eddie's Father (Minnelli) (as Tom Corbett); Love Is a Ball ( All This and Money Too ) (Swift) (as John Davis)
Advance to the Rear ( Company of Cowards? ) (George Marshall) (as Capt. Jared Heath); Fate Is the Hunter (Ralph Nelson) (as McBane); Dear Heart (Delbert Mann) (as Harry Mork)
The Rounders (Kennedy) (as Ben Jones); Seapower (as narrator)
The Money Trap (Kennedy) (as Joe Baron); Rage ( El mal ) (Gazcon) (as Reuben); Paris brûle-t-il? ( Is Paris Burning? ) (Clément) (as Gen. Omar Bradley)
The Last Challenge ( Pistolero of Red River ) (Thorpe) (as Marshal Don Blaine); A Time for Killing ( The Long Ride Home ) (Karlson) (as Maj. Charles Wolcott)
Day of the Evil Gun (Thorpe) (as Warfield)
Heaven with a Gun (Katzin) (as Jim Killian); Smith! (O'Herlihy) (title role)
The Brotherhood of the Bell (Wendkos—for TV); The Gold Diggers (for TV)
Santee (Gary Nelson) (title role)
Jarrett (Shear—for TV)
The Disappearance of Flight 412 (Jud Taylor—for TV); The Greatest Gift (Sagal—for TV) (as Rev. Holvak); Punch and Jody (Shear—for TV)
Midway ( Battle of Midway ) (Smight) (as Rear Adm. Raymond A. Spruance)
The Three Thousand Mile Chase (Mayberry—for TV) (as Dvorak/Staveck)
Superman (Richard Donner) (as Jonathan Kent)
The Gift (Don Taylor—for TV) (as Billy Devlin); The Sacketts (Totten—for TV); Beggarman, Thief (Doheny—for TV)
Fukkatsu no hi ( The Virus ) (Fukasaku) (as Richardson); Il Visitatore ( The Visitor ) (Paradisi) (as Detective)
Happy Birthday to Me (J. Lee Thompson) (as Dr. David Faraday); Day of the Assassin (Trenchard-Smith) (as Christakis)
Casablanca Express (Martino) (as Sheriff John Danahar)
Border Shootout (McIntyre)
Raw Nerve (Prior) (as Captain Gavin); The Final Verdict (Fisk—for TV) (as the Reverend Lowell Rogers)
Our Hollywood Education (Beltrami—doc)
Glenn Ford, R.F.D. Beverly Hills , with Margaret Redfield, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1970.
Interview in TV Times (London), 11 August 1977.
Interview in Ciné Revue (Paris), 9 April 1987.
Current Biography 1959 , New York, 1959.
Shipman, David, in The Great Movie Stars: The International Years , London, 1972.
"Glenn Ford in His House," in Photoplay Film Monthly , May 1972.
"The Many Loves of Glenn Ford," in Photoplay Film Monthly , December 1972; see also January 1976.
Marill, Alvin H., in Films in Review (New York), March 1978.
Ciné Revue (Paris), 4 September 1980, 1 October 1981, and 26 July 1984.
Hollywood Reporter , 20 November 1981.
Curreri, Joe, "Glenn Ford—America's Real-Life Hero," in Classic Images (Muscatine), August 1993.
Stars (Mariembourg), Summer 1995.
* * *
Glenn Ford's mouth is a scar of suffering, his eyes dim lights of introspection, and his voice expresses the cool, contemplative restraint of masculinity under control. In effect, he is somewhat drier than the heroes America wanted from the movies, and this may explain his secondary star status behind Gary Cooper, John Wayne, James Stewart, and others. His popularity took off with Gilda in the late 1940s, playing opposite Rita Hayworth—although it was George Macready to whom Ford observed, "I was born the night you met me." Ford mainly stayed within the melodrama/film noir tradition and did his best work in these genres. His most successful portrayals were in two films by Fritz Lang, Human Desire and The Big Heat , because it is in these films that Ford came closest to portraying the type of role he was usually denied—the antihero, the tarnished hero, the role so much associated with Humphrey Bogart.
In Human Desire , Lang's remake of Renoir's La Bête humaine , Ford portrayed a man whose lust nearly leads him to commit murder. He steals for Gloria Grahame, and only the unexpected presence of a passerby prevents him from committing the act of murder—there is little moral choice involved. Ford is even more interesting in The Big Heat . Using his influence as a police officer and hiding behind the moral camouflage of a husband out to revenge the murder of his wife, Ford is responsible for more corpses than any of the film's "real" criminals. In a brilliant piece of plotting, Ford persuades Gloria Grahame to kill Jeanette Nolan, neatly sidestepping the act of murder himself.
Unfortunately, after these efforts, Ford generally made what seemed to be bids for broader appeal and acceptance— The Americano , Cowboy , and The Gazebo with Debbie Reynolds. His appearances in a number of 1950s and 1960s Westerns bear some notice, though. In Delmer Daves's 3:10 to Yuma Ford is effective as an outlaw playing mind games with captor Van Heflin, while both await the title train. He is also interesting in Richard Brooks's The Blackboard Jungle , as a high school teacher in a tough New York classroom, and as a widower in The Courtship of Eddie's Father , with Vincente Minnelli in charge. Pictures such as these, and the Lang films, make it easier for us to forgive a career otherwise dedicated to an overeagerness to make banal statements on the American situation.
—Don M. Short, updated by Frank Uhle