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13 Things You Didn't Know About Harrison Ford

Updated September 23, 2021 105.7k views13 items
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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 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.

  • He Only Began Taking Drama Lessons To Overcome His Shyness

    He may be one of the most successful actors ever, but Ford didn't get the acting bug until college. While studying philosophy at Ripon College in Wisconsin, he began to take drama classes. This was not just a way to gain what he thought would be easy credit, but also an opportunity to overcome his shy nature.

    Ford enjoyed the experience so much that he ended up pursuing a career in Hollywood. 

  • Photo: John Griffiths / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    He Was A Carpenter On Set For George Lucas Before He Was An Actor

    When he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting, Ford struggled to find on-screen work. To support himself, he learned carpentry from books in the Encino Public Library. He quickly took to the trade and worked for a few famous faces in Hollywood, including directors George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola.

    At one point, Ford even worked as a stagehand for the Doors, setting up the stage and equipment behind the scenes for their performances. The legendary band wound up returning the favor years later, as their song "The End" famously set the stage for Coppola's Vietnam epic Apocalypse Now, a film that featured none other than Ford himself in a small supporting role.