Some Hollywood actors are lucky enough to be remembered for an iconic role, whether that’s via their remarkable skills on camera or via a cultural breakout. Harrison Ford has achieved this numerous times. Now celebrating his 81st birthday today, July 13th, Ford left his native midwest for California in 1964, but it wasn’t until a decade later that he assumed his role as a titan of leading men in film. At the height of his powers, Ford became a true powerhouse film star, whose longevity and status has never really been threatened across his 50+ year career.
It’s safe to say those nine years of bit parts and failed auditions paid off for Ford in his early Hollywood days — after turning to carpentry to support his acting career, Ford was introduced to George Lucas, who quickly recognized Ford’s charming star power.
Lucas cast him in his first major role in 1973 with American Graffiti, and from there, his ascent was cemented. Both Star Wars and Indiana Jones became celebrated franchises, with Ford’s effortless personality — and, of course, his undeniable good looks — coming to the fore. He continued his action hero streak throughout the ’80s and ’90s, with films like Blade Runner, The Fugitive, Clear and Present Danger, and Air Force One becoming oft-quoted successes.
As the 21st century rolled around, Ford took more time in between roles and enjoyed some much-needed rest — that being said, he did reprise his iconic roles in Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Blade Runner‘s long-awaited revivals in the 2000s and 2010s. And now, in the streaming era, Ford has delved into a couple of main roles in television for the first time in his career, appearing in Paramount Plus’ Yellowstone prequel 1923 and Apple TV+’s much lauded dramedy, Shrinking.
As he wraps up his final turn as Indiana Jones in Dial of Destiny this summer, it’s clear that Ford’s beloved legacy will be worth celebrating for years to come. Whether he’s telling remarkably funny on-set stories in interviews, flying his airplanes and helicopters for leisure, or (allegedly) sharing joints with other elite celebrities, Harrison Ford is simply one of a kind. We’d say we love him, but of course, he knows that already.
— Paolo Ragusa