Glenn Ford dies, aged 90
August 31, 2006 12:00am
Article from: Agence France-Presse
GLENN Ford, the handsome, quiet American character actor who made his mark in big films such as The Big Heat, died in his Beverly Hills home yesterday. He was 90.
The specific cause of death was not immediately known.
Ford never quite reached superstar status, but won the hearts of millions of cinemagoers in a variety of roles.
He made his mark with low-key appearances in more than 200 movies, and became one of the most enduring stars of the silver screen.
Away from the cameras, Ford led an intensely private existence, shunning nightspots in favour of a quiet home life.
He appeared in many westerns, but is best remembered for a variety of quietly intense heroes and villains.
After serving with the Marines in World War II, he starred in his first big-budget film: the romance Gilda, with Rita Hayworth.
Other career highlights were The Big Heat (1953), The Blackboard Jungle (1955) and The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956).
Even when his career declined in the 1960s, his popularity with audiences remained as fixed as his reserved screen personality and wry smile.
The unsuccessful remake of Cimarron in 1960 started Ford's career slide into B-grade movies and low-budget productions such as A Pocketful of Miracles (1961), The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962), The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963) and The Money Trap (1964).
He compared his enduring popularity with that of other strong but quiet stars of his generation, such as Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda.
"It's the way we say our lines," Ford said.
"We don't memorise them, but take the sense and alter the lines to fit our own personalities."
Ford was born Gwyllyn Ford in Quebec, Canada, on May 1, 1916. At the age of seven, he moved with his family to Santa Monica, California, where he worked as a stable boy for cowboy humourist and actor Will Rogers.
After high school, he drove buses and worked as a salesman while planning an acting career.
Ford was married four times, most notably to actor Eleanor Powell, from 1943 to 1960.
He is survived by his son Peter, 61, also an actor.