13 Things You Didn't Know About Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford may be one of the world's most famous actors, but there are plenty of stories about him that will surprise even his most ardent fans. With a Hollywood career spanning five decades (and counting), the veteran movie star has long been a household name. That's what happens when you star in a pair of franchises - Indiana Jones and Star Wars - that change the face of popular culture. Harrison Ford's movies also include other box-office hits and classics like Blade Runner, The Fugitive, and Air Force One. But while he may have been a permanent guest in your living rooms and movie theaters over the years, there are probably still plenty of things you didn't know about Harrison Ford.

Ford is one of the most enigmatic figures in the movie industry. He can be a bit grumpy in interviews, but is also playful and entertaining when caught in the right mood. What makes him interesting, though, is not just his mercurial personality but also his unique set of interests and hobbies. Turns out his adventures (and misadventures) off-set and behind the scenes can be as bizarre - and as dangerous - as anything he's ever done in front of the camera, and the best Harrison Ford stories are almost too good to believe. 

  • He Uses His Planes To Find Missing Hikers

    Although Ford has made headlines for several flying mishaps over the years, the veteran actor has also put his planes to use helping others. From time to time, he has piloted his helicopters and small planes in the service of search and rescue missions.

    In 2000, he was able to locate and rescue a hiker named Sarah George, who was stranded on Table Mountain in Wyoming. A year later, when a 13-year-old Boy Scout became separated from his group in Yellowstone National Park and went missing overnight, it was Harrison Ford who found him. 

  • He Got His Ear Pierced At Claire's Accessories In 1997
    Photo: Mireille Ampilhac / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    He Got His Ear Pierced At Claire's Accessories In 1997

    Although it is not uncommon for men to have their ears pierced, most don’t wait until they're 55 to do the deed. While out at lunch with some friends in 1997, Ford realized he was the only one at the table without any jewelry in his ear. He immediately set out to rectify the situation.

    Ford and his then-wife, screenwriter Melissa Mathison, went to Claire's Accessories to get the job done. The actual piercing was entirely painless, and Ford left a personal note for the employee who carried out the procedure. He wrote, "To Tavora. You made a hole in me. Harrison Ford."

  • He Has Been Involved In A Number Of Flying Mishaps

    As an avid pilot and aircraft collector, Ford is often flying planes and helicopters in his time off. He has also been involved in a series of close calls over the years. The actor once mistakenly landed on a taxiway rather than a runway, only narrowly missing a waiting passenger plane.

    He and his PT-22 Recruit had to make an emergency landing on a golf course in 2015, and in 1999, Ford crashed a helicopter during a training session. Thankfully, he has escaped each of his aerial incidents without seriously harming himself or others.

  • He Rescued A Woman From A Crash

    In November 2017, Ford was in Ventura County, CA, when he got word about a woman who had been involved in an accident. Her vehicle ran into a tree off the motorway in Santa Paula, north of Los Angeles.

    When Ford arrived, he - along with a few others - helped get the woman out of the car and worked to provide medical assistance until emergency services could get there. Police praised Ford as a "good Samaritan" and noted that the woman escaped with minimal physical harm, thanks in large part to the on-screen action star's heroic off-screen effort.

  • He Ad-Libbed Some Of His Most Memorable Moments

    In The Empire Strikes Back, Princess Leia confesses her love for Han Solo and he responds, "I know." This exchange has become immortalized across generations of Star Wars fans. As it turns out, Ford added the line himself. After a discussion with director Irvin Kershner, the two agreed that the originally scripted, "I love you, too," wouldn't have had quite the same impact.

    Ford improvised yet another beloved moment, this time from Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indiana Jones faces off against an immaculately skilled warrior. The adventurous archeologist simply fires on his opponent and moves on. Ford proposed the scene because he was suffering from dysentery and needed a way out of what could have been an arduous fight that would take three days to film.

    Thankfully, the simple solution to the proposed whip-versus-saber showdown proved to be the right choice, not just the most time-efficient.

  • He Did A Terrible Job On His 'Blade Runner' Narration On Purpose

    Blade Runner is often considered to be one of the best science fiction films of all time, but it's never been a finished product, having gone through several revisions. A major gripe with the original release was Ford's rather lackluster narration.

    It turns out the mundane voiceover was a conscious decision by the actor because he disagreed with it being in the movie at all. When he was not consulted about the script and only received the narration moments before stepping into the recording studio, he decided to read it in the least enthusiastic manner possible.