John Ford

Film Director
Born Feb 1, 1894

John Ford was an Irish-American film director. He was famous for both his Westerns such as Stagecoach, The Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and adaptations of such classic 20th-century American novels as The Grapes of Wrath. His four Academy Awards for Best Director (1935, 1940, 1941, 1952) is a record, and one of those films, How Green Was My Valley, also won Best Picture.… Read More

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They had eleven children: Mamie (Mary Agnes), born 1876; Delia (Edith), 1878–1881; Patrick; Francis Ford, 1881–1953; Bridget, 1883–1884; Barbara, born and died 1888; Edward, born 1889; Josephine, born 1891; Hannah (Joanna), born and died 1892; John Martin, 1894–1973; and Daniel, born and died 1896 (or 1898). … Read More


1914 20 Years Old 1 More Event
He later moved to California and in 1914 began working in film production as well as acting for his older brother Francis, adopting "Jack Ford" as a professional name.
1915 21 Years Old In addition to credited roles, he appeared uncredited as a Klansman in D. W. Griffith's 1915 The Birth of a Nation, as the man who lifts up one side of his hood so he can see clearly.
During his first decade as a director Ford honed his craft on dozens of features (including many westerns) but only ten of the more than sixty silent films he made between 1917 and 1928 still survive in their entirety. … Read More
1920 26 Years Old 1 More Event
He married Mary McBride Smith on July 3, 1920, and they had two children.


1928 - 1930 2 More Events
1931 37 Years Old Ford's films in 1931 were Seas Beneath, The Brat and Arrowsmith; the last-named, adapted from the Sinclair Lewis novel and starring Ronald Colman and Helen Hayes, marked Ford's first Academy Awards recognition, with five nominations including Best Picture. … Read More
1932 38 Years Old With film production affected by the Depression, Ford made two films each in 1932 and 1933—Air Mail (made for Universal) with a young Ralph Bellamy and Flesh (for MGM) with Wallace Beery.
1933 39 Years Old In 1933, he returned to Fox for Pilgrimage and Doctor Bull, the first of his three films with Will Rogers. … Read More


1935 41 Years Old 1 More Event
Ford's first film of 1935 (made for Columbia) was the mistaken-identity comedy The Whole Town's Talking with Edward G. Robinson and Jean Arthur, released in the UK as Passport to Fame, and it drew critical praise.
1936 42 Years Old The longer revised version of Directed by John Ford shown on Turner Classic Movies in November, 2006 features directors Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, and Martin Scorsese, who suggest that the string of classic films Ford directed during 1936 to 1941 was due in part to an intense six-month extra-marital affair with Katharine Hepburn, the star of Mary of Scotland (1936), an Elizabethan costume drama. … Read More
1939 45 Years Old Stagecoach marked the beginning of the most consistently successful phase of Ford's career—in just two years between 1939 and 1941 he created a string of classics films that won numerous Academy Awards. … Read More


1946 - 1948 2 More Events
1949 55 Years Old In 1949 Ford briefly returned to Fox to direct Pinky. … Read More
1950 56 Years Old 1 More Event
His only completed film of that year was the second instalment of his Cavalry Trilogy, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (Argosy/RKO, 1949), starring John Wayne and Joanne Dru, with Victor McLaglen, John Agar, Ben Johnson, Mildred Natwick and Harry Carey Jr. Again filmed on location in Monument Valley, it was widely acclaimed for its stunning Technicolor cinematography (including the famous cavalry scene filmed in front of an oncoming storm); it won Winton Hoch the 1950 Academy Award for Best Color Cinematography and it did big business on its first release, grossing more than $5 million worldwide. … Read More
1952 58 Years Old His daughter Barbara was married to singer and actor Ken Curtis from 1952 to 1964. … Read More


In 1955, Ford made the lesser-known West Point drama The Long Gray Line for Columbia Pictures, the first of two Ford films to feature Tyrone Power, who had originally been slated to star as the adult Huw in How Green Was My Valley back in 1941.
1958 - 1960 2 More Events
1962 68 Years Old …  Also in 1962, Ford directed his fourth and last TV production, Flashing Spikes, a baseball story made for the Alcoa Premiere series and starring James Stewart, Jack Warden, Patrick Wayne and Tige Andrews, with Harry Carey, Jr. and a lengthy surprise appearance by John Wayne, billed in the credits as "Michael Morris". … Read More
1965 71 Years Old In 1965 Ford began work on Young Cassidy (MGM), a biographical drama based upon the life of Irish playwright Seán O'Casey, but he fell ill early in the production and was replaced by Jack Cardiff. … Read More
1970 76 Years Old 1 More Event
Ford's next project, The Miracle of Merriford, was scrapped by MGM less than a week before shooting was to have begun. His last completed work was Chesty: A Tribute to a Legend, a documentary on the most decorated U.S. Marine, General Lewis B. Puller, with narration by John Wayne, which was made in 1970 but not released until 1976, three years after Ford's death.
1972 78 Years Old In October 1972, the Screen Directors Guild staged a tribute to Ford and in March 1973 the American Film Institute honored him with its first Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony which was telecast nationwide, with President Richard Nixon promoting Ford to full Admiral and presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
…  He was the first recipient of the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 1973. … Read More
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