Ca. 1948 bust portrait of the handsome 1940s-60s film star
Description: (b. Gwyllyn S. N. Ford, 1916-2006) Canadian-born actor prominent during Hollywood’s “Golden Age”, one of biggest 1940s-60s box-office draws with 50+ year career. Some of his most significant roles were in “film noirs”, comedies or Westerns. He received 3 Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in a Comedy Movie, winning for “Pocketful of Miracles” (1961). Played Clark Kent’s adoptive father in “Superman” (1978). 5 of his films are on the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry as “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant: “Gilda” (1946), “The Big Heat” (1953), “Blackboard Jungle” (1955), “3:10 to Yuma” (1957), and “Superman”.
In high school, he worked for Will Rogers who taught him horsemanship. He became a US citizen 1939 and joined Columbia Pictures. His 1st major movie part was in “Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence” (1939) at 20th Century Fox, then the bigger budgeted “The Lady in Question” with Rita Hayworth. Borrowed for the independent drama “So Ends Our Night” (1941), he played a German exile on the run in Nazi-occupied Europe. After the LA premiere and a gala Miami fundraiser, he was invited to President Roosevelt’s annual Birthday Ball and became a strong FDR supporter. His 1941 film, “Texas” was his 1st Western.
After Columbia’s “Flight Lieutenant” (1942), he went on a war bond tour, made the Western “The Desperadoes” (1942) and while making the war drama “Destroyer”, volunteered for the USMC Reserves. In March 1943 he went on active duty at the San Diego Marine Corps Base and trained with Tyrone Power who got Ford to join the Marines’ radio show “Halls of Montezuma” broadcast Sunday evenings; he was promoted to sergeant when he finished then volunteered to play a Marine raider, uncredited, in Fox’s “Guadalcanal Diary”. Hospitalized with duodenal ulcers which afflicted him for the rest of his life, he was medically discharged 1944 but continued his military career in the Naval Reserve into the Vietnam War, achieving rank of captain.
Ford went to Fox for “Follows the Sun” (1951) as golfer Ben Hogan, and to Universal for the Western “The Man from the Alamo” (1953). After “Blackboard Jungle” was a big hit, MGM signed him to a long-term contract. He was in “Interrupted Melody” (1955) a Marjorie Lawrence biopic with Eleanor Parker, another success, as were the 1956 dramas “Trial” and “Ransom!” He returned to Columbia for the 1956 Western “Jubal”, then to MGM for the hugely popular 1956 Western “The Fastest Gun Alive”. Every movie he starred in at this time was a hit, incl. “The Teahouse of the August Moon” (1956), “Don’t Go Near the Water” (1957) and “Cowboy” (1958) at Columbia. Ford worked on “The Sheepman” (1958), a popular MGM Western, service comedy “Imitation General” (1958), and war movie “Torpedo Run” (1958). He made 2 1959 comedies with Debbie Reynolds, “It Started with a Kiss” and “The Gazebo”. At the end of the 50s he was one of Hollywood’s top stars. After some flops, his standing recovered with the thriller “Experiment in Terror” (1962) and the comedy “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” (1963), and one of many famous faces in “Is Paris Burning?” (1966). In 1971 he signed with CBS and did the “modern-day Western” series, “Cade’s County” (1971-72). In the “The Family Holvak” (1975–76), he was a Depression-era preacher.
Ca. 1948 ISP, 10 x 8 Columbia Pictures portrait photo by (Eddie) Cronenweth (stamp on verso), bust portrait in black sweater looking to his right. Inscribed with sentiment at top left. Paper caption on verso mentions Ford recently starring in “The Man From Colorado” with William Holden, and “The Loves of Carmen” with Rita Hayworth, both released in 1948 for Columbia.
Edward Cronenweth (1903-1990) In 1918 began at Famous Players-Lasky as a cameraman’s assistant while in high school. At 17 was hired by Universal and worked on “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) with Lon Chaney. In 1926 Cronenweth took a job as a still photographer at Warners which led to work with Paramount and Universal. By 1928, he was working exclusively at MGM and for the next 10 years regularly shot film stills and star portraits for MGM. By 1942 he was one of the most recognizable Hollywood photographers and went to Columbia Pictures for 15+ years. There he photographed many of Hollywood’s biggest stars and had special relationships with Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford. They chose him as their favorite still photographer and he shot some of their best portraits. In 1941 Cronenweth received a special Academy Award for still photography, a category long since abolished. His career ended in 1966 when his back was badly injured during filming of “PT 109” and he retired at 63.
Condition:Very good, tiny tack holes at top and bottom margins, minor scuffs & scratches, a vertical one down his black sweater