Harrison Ford Worked as Carpenter to Feed Family of 4 — After Huge Fame, He Still Works in the Woodshop on His Ranch
Although Harrison Ford is a famous actor, he had to put in a lot of effort to get there. He worked as a carpenter for a while before discovering that he was handling the casting for his breakout part. Ford is now a millionaire with numerous properties, while leading a quiet life away from the spotlight. One of Hollywood’s legends, Harrison Ford has played a number of illustrious main roles in some of the best films ever made. Ford is an Illinois native who was born in Chicago. His father, Christopher, was an executive in the advertising industry, and his mother, Dorothy, was a housewife.
The actor did not have much to say about his childhood; he described it as “relatively uneventful, middle-class – but a happy time nonetheless.” He graduated high school in 1960 and went to college to study English and Philosophy at Ripon College in Wisconsin. Ford’s time in college accidentally exposed him to acting. He decided to sign up for a drama class, thinking it would be an easy way to get good grades. He was nervous about performing in front of a crowd, but he loved the storytelling part of it.
Though Ford had found something he enjoyed in college, he was not the best student, so he left the university before graduating and decided to build his acting career independently. But the road was difficult, so he became a carpenter while scraping for acting roles. “Through carpentry, I fed my family,” revealed Ford, whose job as a carpenter allowed him to sieve through the acting roles that came his way and patiently wait for his breakthrough role.
However, Ford admitted that the waiting started to become frustrating. Regardless, he never gave up on his ambition to become a successful actor and did not let the stress distract him from achieving his goal. Ford was one of the founding actors of the “Star Wars” franchise. But there is a story behind how he landed his iconic role in the trilogy. Ford and the creator of “Star Wars,” George Lucas, had two different versions of how Ford was cast to play Han Solo. Lucas, who previously directed “American Graffiti,” had cast Ford for a minor role. While creating a list of actors to include in “Star Wars,” he swore not to bring anyone from his previous film because he did not want it to be criticized as a remake of “American Graffiti” in outer space.
Lucas’ friend and renowned producer Fred Roos suggested Ford would be perfect for the role of Han Solo. At the time, Roos had hired Ford for his carpentry services to build a door at American Zoetrope, where Lucas was hosting his casting. When Lucas saw Ford there, Ford insisted he was only there to do carpentry work, not for the casting, which Lucas found hard to believe. However, it turned out that Ford was there by coincidence. Roos admitted Ford had done a few carpentry jobs for him, and he just happened to be there the day he was cast for Han Solo. He turned out to be perfect for the part, which proved his point.
Roos hired Ford for his carpentry because he knew the actor was doing it to provide for his wife and children while waiting for the role that would change his life. Ford has two sons, Benjamin and Willard, with his first wife, Mary Marquardt, who worked as an illustrator. His eldest son was born in 1966, and at the time, the actor was in his 20s and ten years away from his breakthrough acting role. He welcomed Willard in 1969.
The actor might have kept his head high during the trials and tribulations of his upcoming acting career, but his career was said to be over before it even started, so Ford worked hard to prove these critics wrong. Ford debuted his first film in 1966 in “Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round.” He played a bellboy, and his most spoken line was “Paging Mr. Jones, paging Mr. Jones. Paging Mr. Jones.” The actor revealed the head of the talent department blatantly told him his bellboy role would be his last and to forget about ever making movies.