On this date in 1942, Harrison Ford was born in Chicago. His father was Irish-American and his mother's ancestry was Russian Jewish. Ford dropped out of Ripon College, Wisconsin, to act. He had found acting jobs by the late 1960s, but his career was slow to take off, so he worked as a carpenter in Hollywood. His big break came as the swash-buckling Han Solo in "Star Wars" (1977), which would be followed by many other heroic leading roles. Some of his many other films include "American Graffiti" (1973), "The Conversation" (1974), "Hanover Street" (1979), "Apocalypse Now" (1979), "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" (1980), "Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom" (1984), "Witness" (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, 1985), "The Mosquito Coast" (1986), "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (1989), "Presumed Innocent" (1990), "Patriot Games" — his first movie cast as Jack Ryan (1992), "The Fugitive" (1993), "Clear & Present Danger" (1994) and "Sabrina" (1995). Ford's fourth "Indiana Jones" movie was released in 2008. His former wife, Melissa Mathison, wrote the screenplay for the movie, "E.T." A pilot, the actor rescued a stranded hiker near his Wyoming ranch by air in 2000. Ford has called "The Mosquito Coast," in which he plays an unraveling back-to-nature character, one of his favorite roles. Co-starring with him in that movie was atheist actress Butterfly McQueen.
“My parents did not practice any organized religion, although my father was raised Roman Catholic and my mother was Jewish. But there was always an ethical context to our lives, a very strong notion of individual moral responsibility.”
Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor
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