6 March 2022

Hollywood’s First Harrison Ford

Long before Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harrison Ford was starring in movies such as Her Gilded Cage (1919) and Lovers in Quarantine (1925).  Yet it wasn’t the Harrison Ford we know and love – it was someone else entirely.  Hollywood’s first Harrison Ford had a career which spanned 1915 – 1932. Above you can see him with Marguerite Clark in the 1920 movie Easy to Get.

This particular Harrison Ford was born in 1884 in Kansas City, Missouri.  Like everyone else in this day and age he trained for the stage and made his Broadway debut at the age of twenty in a play called Ranson’s Folly by Richard Harding Davis.

He appeared in a number of productions and made his name as a handsome leading man, which led eventually to movie work.

A move to Hollywood was inevitable and he left the east coast in 1915 to pursue his dream of making movies.  He was to enjoy a long and varied career, starring opposite a number of Hollywood's leading ladies of the time.

Above he poses for a picture with the actress Norma Talmadge, one of the most elegant and glamorous film stars of the roaring twenties.  Yet screen popularity was not to last for Harrison Ford – his first talkie in 1932, Love in High Gear, was also his last.  Like so many others actors he failed to make the transition from silent movies.

Yet he was able to put his screen acting career aside, moving on from earlier triumphs such as The Song and Dance Man, made in 1926 (he is the young man in the center of the picture) and returned to acting in the theatre.. Ford also directed productions at the Little Theater of the Verdugos in Glendale, California and played an active role in the United Service Organizations (the nonprofit organization that provides programs, services and live entertainment to United States troops and their families) during the Second World War.

Ford died in 1957 after having been struck by a car while out for a walk.  Although not as famous as Hollywood’s second Harrison Ford, the first will also be always remembered with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6665 Hollywood Blvd.