Action star Harrison Ford turns 80 | Cinema | DW

Whether he’s playing Han Solo in “Star Wars,” Rick Deckard in “Blade Runner” or “Indiana Jones,” Harrison Ford has made a name for himself as one of Hollywood’s most successful actors. Sure, he’s got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and too many awards to count, including an Oscar nomination.

A latecomer to the film industry, Ford trained and worked as a carpenter until he was 30 years old. A husband and father of two, he then began supplementing his income with television appearances. These minor roles included bit parts in westerns like “Gunsmoke” and “The Virginian.”

Action hero with a crooked smile

Things changed when director George Lucas cast him in a supporting role in his low-budget production, “American Graffiti,” in 1973. The small role was enough to impress Lucas, who cast him for his next project. : At 35, Ford made his debut as space smuggler Han Solo in the first “Star Wars” in 1977.

That wouldn’t remain his only adventure role. Lucas cast the friendly actor with the crooked smile in his “Indiana Jones” films, where Ford travels the world as an archaeologist with a whip and a leather hat, saving valuable cultural treasures from Nazis and other villains. Three “Indiana Jones” films were released between 1981 and 1989, followed by several more between 1992 and 2008.

Already a Hollywood name, Ford caught the eye of star director Ridley Scott, who cast him in his dark sci-fi film ‘Blade Runner’ (1982) – an underrated film at first, but then become cult.

Harrison Ford starred in the 1982 cult sci-fi classic, ‘Blade Runner’

Ford ages with his roles

Now with a sizable resume under his belt, Ford continues to make movies. In April 2022, just months before her 80th birthday, the Hollywood star accepted her first major role in a television series. For the Apple TV streaming service, he will star in the comedy series “Shrinking” alongside Jason Segel.

Director Steven Spielberg, along with producer George Lucas, has also come up with something Ford fans are sure to love: Professor Dr. Henry Walton, aka “Indiana” Jones, will return to the big screen in 2023, with a whip and a leather hat.

His co-star Mads Mikkelsen recently attested to Harrison Ford’s impressive physical shape: “Harrison is a freak, a very nice freak,” Mikkelsen said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in April. On the first day of shooting, a night shoot, they worked until five in the morning, he said. “And then he got on his mountain bike and rode 50 kilometers (31 miles).”

It’s once again that Ford returns to one of his old roles. In 2015, he returned to “Star Wars” as an older Han Solo. In “Blade Runner 2049”, released in 2017, he again plays ex-policeman Rick Deckard alongside Ryan Gosling.

Director Steven Spielberg, American producer George Lucas and American actor Harrison Ford look at each other.

Dream team: director Steven Spielberg, producer George Lucas and actor Harrison Ford have teamed up for four ‘Indiana Jones’ movies

Hollywood star without major scandals

Ford has been known to keep his private life more or less under wraps — despite going through one of Hollywood’s most expensive divorces. After 20 years of marriage to his first wife Melissa Mathison, he paid $72 million in child support in 2004.

But that’s a drop in the pond for Ford, who, according to the 2009 Forbes list, was once Hollywood’s highest-earning actor with an annual income of around $57 million.

Today, Ford is married to actress Calista Flockhart, who has made a name for herself as “Ally McBeal.” He has five children and two grandchildren and lives on a ranch in Wyoming.

Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart pose at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.

Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart have been married since 2010

The passion for airplanes

Ford’s hobby is flying. He collects old planes and flies them regularly. But his aerial passion was not without incident.

In 2015, Ford crashed on a golf course near Los Angeles. He survived, but was seriously injured. In February 2017, he landed on a taxiway instead of a runway and approached a jet airliner. Again in 2020, he had a close call at Los Angeles Hawthorne Airport when he crossed a runway where another plane was landing. He almost lost his pilot’s license.

The Harrison Ford plane crashed into a golf course in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles in 2015.

The Harrison Ford plane crashed into a golf course in Los Angeles in 2015

For years, Ford has been committed to protecting the environment, particularly in the fight against pollution of the Hudson River. He has advocated for the protection of the rainforest in Indonesia and sits on the board of directors of Conservation International, an NGO committed to the preservation of biodiversity. He also traveled to the World Climate Conference in Madrid in 2019, where he called for action on the climate crisis.

Ford was honored for his environmental commitment by having two living creatures named after him: a Californian spider, Calponia harrisonfordi, and a Central American ant, Pheidole harrisonfordi.

This profile was updated for Harrison Ford’s 80th birthday.