Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Pictorial Tribute to Glenn Ford on His 100th Birthday

It was 100 years ago today that Glenn Ford was born Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford in Sainte-Christine-d'Auvergne, Quebec, Canada. He was eight years old when his family moved to the Santa Monica, California in the United States. He became a naturalised citizen of the U.S. in 1939. After graduating Santa Monica High School he started acting at various small theatres in California. He signed with Columbia Pictures in 1939 His first major roles followed not long afterwards. He played opposite Rita Hayworth in The Lady in Question (1940) and appeared in the independently produced So Ends Our Night (1941).

During World War II he served in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Marine Corps. After the war he served in the U.S. Naval Reserve.  It was following the war that Glenn Ford's career really began to take off. He starred in the legendary film noir Gilda (1946) and in such films as A Stolen Life (1946), The Big Heat (1953), and Human Desire. It was arguably with the mid to late Fifties that Glenn Ford reached the height of his career. He starred in the classic social commentary film Blackboard Jungle (1955), the classic hard-boiled Western 3:10 to Yuma (1957), the classic Western The Sheepman (1958), and the war film Torpedo Run (1958). In 1956 he entered the top ten of Quigley Publishing's Poll of Film Exhibitors for the first time, ranking at no. 5. He topped the list in 1957 and ranked no. 6 in 1959.

While Glenn Ford's career arguably reached its peak in the late Fifties, he continued to work steadily in the Sixties. He appeared in such films as The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963), Fate Is the Hunter (1964), The Rounders (1965), and Day of the Evil Gun (1968). In the Seventies he was the star of the TV show Cade's County and appeared in the films Midway (1976) and Superman (1978). His final appearance on the big screen was in the film Raw Nerve in 1991.

With a career that spanned over fifty years Glenn Ford remains one of the best remembered and most beloved stars of the 20th Century. He was an actor who was comfortable in a number of genres. While he did many Westerns and action films, he also starred in comedies, suspense thrillers, and even horror films. In honour of his 100th birthday, then, here is a pictorial tribute.

Glenn Ford in the early days of his career.
Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth in a still for Gilda
Glenn Ford as Ben Wade in 3:10 to Yuma
Glenn Ford with Phyllis Thaxter and  Aaron Smolinski in Superman
Glenn Ford in a still from Happy Birthday to Me

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