Harrison Ford is one of the most notable names in Hollywood. Few actors or actresses could even hope to reach his level of iconic status as he has brought to life some of cinema’s greatest heroes and antiheroes. In his seemingly endless crusade to bring such popular characters back to the big screen in his old age, Ford will reprise his role as Rick Deckard in the long-awaited sequel “Blade Runner: 2049” this weekend. Now I could have done a lot of different lists to celebrate him and the film, but I decided to take the simple route and look at some things you may or may not have known about this iconic actor. So prepare for some pandering: here are 10 Interesting Facts About Harrison Ford.
For this list I took a look at some interesting facts about this iconic actor without putting his acting roles and fun trivia about his movies front end center. With that in mind you won’t find too many interesting facts about what happened on set here, although there are some exceptions. This time I’m mostly exploring Harrison Ford as a person and listing off a few fun tidbits you may have never realized or known about one of Hollywood’s most iconic actors.
I hope you find these facts interesting and if you’d like to see the icon back in action you can catch him this weekend in “Blade Runner: 2049”.
10. He Has Surprisingly Few Major Award
Ford has been honored for his contributions outside of film, but on the big screen he has earned surprisingly few actual wins. He has numerous major nominations, but outside of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and numerous awards for his contributions to the industry he actually only has four notable wins for his works on screen in specific movies. Ford has only one Academy Award nomination for “Witness” in 1985 and Golden Globe nominations for “Witness”, “The Mosquito Coast”, “The Fugitive”, and “Sabrina” with no wins. He has won two People’s Choice Awards, one each in 1998 and 1999. Ford has won a lifetime achievement award from the Golden Globes and has also been nominated for a BAFTA, an MTV Movie Award, a Satellite Award and numerous critics’ awards, winning none. His most successful major industry awards offering has been the Saturn Awards where he garnered seven nominations over the course of his career, usually for his work as Indiana Jones and “Star Wars” character Hon Solo. Ford won the Best Actor award at the Saturns for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981, but it wouldn’t be until 2016 when he reprised his role as Solo that Ford would win his second Saturn, and his most recent major industry award, for Best Actor in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. Despite his few major awards Ford has earned the honor of being featured in many “Best Actors of All Time” lists and was even named Empire’s #1 choice in their “Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” in 1997.
9. He’s a Lifelong Democrat
Ford was born and raised in a household of Democrats and he stuck to that political stance into his adulthood. Ford is a lifelong member of the liberal party and while he rarely mixes politics with his career he has shown his support for liberal concepts and movements over the course of his time as one of the most notable names in film. He testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee to support the Dalai Lama and an independent Tibet in 1995 and even narrated a documentary on that moment in 2007. One of his most noted political decrees was his opposition to the Iraq War in 2003 where he called for a “regime change” in the United States, although he also admitted later a change was needed in Iraq. He has been a public critic of Hollywood’s obsession with violence and has called for more gun control in the United States. He has also gone on the record denouncing current Republican U.S. President Donald Trump especially after the controversial president used Ford’s role in “Air Force One” to drive home his America First perspective during his presidential run. Ford was also part of a pretty interesting fake news fiasco where a sign he held for a photo that acknowledged his followers on Reddit was photoshopped to make the actor look like he was holding a Donald Trump for President sign, which Ford later denounced when the real image was revealed.
8. He Helped Roman Polanski Receive His Oscar
Roman Polanski is an infamous director who became part of a scandal involving statutory rape in the 1970s. As a result of the case Polanski fled to Paris for asylum, where he remained for years before taking up residence in Poland. He still continued to make films while in France including the 2002 award season favorite “The Pianist”. The movie won Polanski an Oscar for Best Director in 2003, much to many peoples’ surprise, but considering his asylum he was not able to be there in person to accept the award. So who did? Well Harrison Ford of course! Ford was presenting the award that night and accepted the statuette on behalf of Roman Polanski and personally delivered the Oscar to Polanski a few months after the ceremony during a visit in Paris, the same city where the actor and director worked together on the film “Frantic” in 1988. Ford made the presentation during the Deauville Film Festival in a public ceremony.
7. He Turned Down Several Blockbuster Projects in 2000
The year 2000 was a huge year for Hollywood, but Harrison Ford only appeared in a single film that year. He could have been in a whole lot more turning down several film roles including the starring role in the box office failure “Proof of Life”, with the part going to Russell Crowe. He also turned down the role George Clooney played in the summer-blockbuster “The Perfect Storm” and was sought out to lead the war-epic “The Patriot”, a part that ended up going to Mel Gibson. Ford said he felt the later film was too violent for his taste (see earlier entries on his stance on violence in Hollywood) and that the story oversimplified to American Revolution to one man’s quest for vengeance. Finally he also reportedly turned down the role of Judge Robert Wakefield in the eventual Oscar winning movie “Traffic”, a role that went to Michael Douglas. Despite all this Ford got the last laugh. His only film role of 2000 was “What Lies Beneath” (pictured above), a film that became the tenth highest grossing film worldwide that year, beating out all the above mentioned movies in overall gross. So it looks like Ford knew what he was getting into when he juggled whether or not to take on these films huh?
6. He is a Talented Carpenter
Before becoming a big-time actor Ford worked as a carpenter in Los Angeles, mainly doing home remodeling work. Ford’s talents earned him quite the reputation as a cabinetmaker and he became the go-to woodworker for the Westside. Since becoming famous Ford has not given up carpentry as a hobby. In fact it’s a pretty big pastime of his. Ford used his talents to even build himself a home in Wyoming, which he still uses today. Everybody needs a backup plan, and it looks like Ford is a man of many talents and seems to be a master of a few as well. Speaking of his many talents…
5. He’s Also a Private Pilot
This one’s probably not much of a secret, but it’s still a fun fact. Ford is a well-known aviator. He is a private pilot specializing in single engine fixed wing planes and helicopters and actually owns several air-bound vehicles. In addition to flying himself between his homes he has also used his talents for more noble purposes. In 2000 he piloted his helicopter to rescue dehydrated hiker Sarah George from Table Mountain near his ranch in Wyoming. It’s not all positive though. Ford is also known for being involved in several incidents while in the air. In October of 1999 Ford was involved in the crash of a helicopter with the report stating that Ford was piloting in Santa Clara, California on a routine training flight. On his second attempt at an autorotation with powered recovery, Ford allowed the aircraft’s altitude to drop to 150–200 feet before beginning power-up and the aircraft was unable to recover power before hitting the ground, landing hard and skidding in the loose gravel seriously damaging the copter. In 2015, Ford’s private plane made an emergency landing on the Penmar Golf Course in Venice, California (as shown in the photo above) after Ford radioed in the plane had experienced engine failure. More recently, in February of this year, Ford landed an Aviat Husky at John Wayne Airport on the taxiway when a Boeing 737 was holding short of the runway. Ford overflew them creating public outcry to have the actor’s aviation license suspended for a time.
4. The Story of the Scar
One of Harrison Ford’s most iconic features is the scar on his chin, which you can see in the photo above right below the actors bottom lip. He received the blemish in 1968 when he was involved in an accident while trying to buckle up while the car he was in was already in motion. Interestingly enough this scar has been worked into at least two of Ford’s projects. Most famously, the scar was explained during a small origin segment in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” where River Phoenix, who Ford had handpicked to play him at a younger age, whipped himself in the face as Indiana explaining the origins of the scar in terms of the Indiana Jones character. The scar was also played up in 1988’s “Working Girls” where Ford’s character presented duel stories of the scar’s origins in the context of the film. To date it’s possibly the most iconic physical feature of Ford as it spans his entire cinematic career.
3. He is Injury Prone
Speaking of scars, Ford probably has a lot of them as he seems to be quite the injury prone. In addition to his chin scar, Ford has had many other famous, or infamous, injuries during his lifetime and career. He tore a ligament in his knee while filming the special shoot trailer for “The Fugitive” after going the entire regular shoot of the film unscathed. In October of 2003, he had surgery on a torn rotator cuff. He also suffered a back injury while filming “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and underwent an experimental disc operation utilizing a papaya enzyme, which was a new approach to the procedure at the time. Ford also broke his ankle on the set of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” when a door collapsed. In 1993 he revealed on “The Late Show with David Letterman” that he has some false teeth as two were pulled by a dentist after some others were damaged when he fell on a gun during a stunt for a television appearance early in his career. These injuries should be no surprise really. Ford is well known for doing his own stunts and many of these can be attributed to incidents on set.
2. He’s a Conservationist
Harrison Ford has been honored many times for his work with the environment and in some cases this involved him becoming the namesake for several insects. At one point Ford was asked to name a current breed of butterfly and named it after his daughter, Georgia. He himself has a species of Central American ant called the Peidole Harrisonfordi and a spider called the Calponia Harrisonfordi named after him in honor of his conservation work. Ford sits on the Board of Directors for Conservation International and is vice-chair of the organization which is an American nonprofit environmental group headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. The organization’s intent is to protect nature and the institution tries to combine the services or benefits of science, field work, and partnership to find “global solutions to global problems”. Ford is also a huge supporter of archeology, inspired by his work as Indiana Jones, and believes in the conservation and preservation of human history as well.
1. He is (Currently) the Highest Grossing Actor of All Time in the U.S.
As of 2015, after the release of “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”, Harrison Ford has starred in five of the top thirty grossing movies of all time. Adjusted for inflation, he is the highest grossing US domestic box office star in history. He became the highest grossing actor of all time with the combined gross of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” added to forty one of his previous films, totaling $4.7 billion. Among Ford’s highest grossing films are “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (both in the top ten of all time domestically), as well as two other “Star Wars” films in the top 20. Outside of the top 20 is also “Raiders of the Lost Ark” at #21. Ford stared in more films in the top 25, adjusted for inflation, than any other actor and only one of those films was made in his older years (“The Force Awakens”). Judging by the hype, we should see that $4.7 billion number increase again as “Blade Runner: 2049” looks to be a certified hit already. The original grossed $33.8 million at the box office before becoming a cult classic, so it’s safe to assume the new film could very well top that number and add to Ford’s astounding box office gross in a big way.