There are plenty of reasons why Harrison Ford has continued to be one of the most successful and beloved movie stars of the past half-century. His iconic characters like Han Solo and Harrison Ford have remained in the public consciousness all these years, and his appearances in two of the best Jack Ryan movies certainly don’t hurt either. But, on top of all his iconic roles and the massive franchises that have featured him in one capacity or another, it doesn’t hurt that he’s had one remarkable and interesting life.
Here are 25 fun facts about Harrison Ford and the actor’s legendary career.
Harrison Ford Came Up With His Famous ‘I Know’ Empire Strikes Back Line
Remember when Han Solo (Ford) responds to Princess Leia’s (Carrie Fisher) declaration of love just before the scoundrel is frozen in carbonite in The Empire Strikes Back, a.k.a., the best Star Wars movie? Well, as told in J.W. Rinzler’s The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (via Yahoo! News), it was Ford who came up with the famous “I know” line the day of the shoot, instead of going with the written “I Love you, too.”
The Han Solo Actor Thought The Scoundrel Should Have Died In Return Of The Jedi
Han would end up on the receiving end of Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver) lightsaber in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but if it were up to Ford, the character would have died a long time ago, in Return of the Jedi. During a 2015 chat on Conan, he revealed that he thought the “best utility of the character” would be for Han to sacrifice himself for something larger than his life, and that it could have added more gravitas to the original trilogy.
There Are Species Of Ants And Spiders Named After Him
There are planets named after celebrities, and even entire star systems named after famous people, but Ford has the distinction of having two different species in the animal kingdom bearing his name. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a species of ant – Pheidole harrisonfordi – and a species of spider – Calponia harrisonfordi – were named after the actor/environmentalist.
Ford Was The Reason The Raiders Of The Lost Ark Sword Fight Was So Brief
The brief sword fight, which stops before it really starts, in Raiders of the Lost Ark has gone down as one of the most iconic moments in the Indiana Jones movie franchise, but it wasn’t the original plan. As Frank Marshall revealed in a Hollywood Reporter roundtable discussion, Ford was “not feeling well” when it came time to shoot what was to be a “huge fight scene between the whip and sword,” and the producers decided it was best to scrap the already troubled scene for something shorter. That’s when the gun came into play.
He Once Asked Adam Sandler To Wash His Car At A Carrie Fisher Party
Fisher apparently used to throw the best Hollywood parties, big affairs that would bring out the brightest stars in the industry. Shortly after the actress’ December 2016 passing, Adam Sandler appeared on Conan and talked about the first time he was invited to one. Not long after arriving, he was approached by Ford, who asked if the SNL alum could come over and wash his car because he thought his kids would get a kick out of it.
The Actor Has A History Of Rescuing People With His Helicopter
Ford’s heroic exploits aren’t reserved solely for the screen, as the actor has saved multiple people in real life, including at least two with his helicopter. According to ABC News, he rescued a boy scout in Wyoming back in 2001 after the 13-year-old got lost near Yellowstone National Park. A year before that, he rescued a hiker near Table Mountain in Wyoming, according to ET.
Ford Was Once Seen Directing Traffic In New York City
In September 2017, Ford made the most of his car getting stuck on the streets of New York City by helping his fellow drivers get around the obstacle his car created. In a video shared by Today, he can be seen directing traffic so that cars could get back into the flow and go about their business.
He Was A Japanese Beer Spokesman
Hollywood A-listers have a long history of appearing in over-the-top Japanese commercials. Sylvester Stallone has that ridiculous sausage ad, and there are all those iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger commercials that have become the stuff of legend. Well, Ford got in on the fun decades ago, appearing in multiple commercials for the Kirin beer company. Some of these TV spots, like the one in a jungle, are just wild!
People Magazine Named Harrison Ford The Sexiest Man Alive In 1998
Ford is, was, and forever will be one of the hunkiest movie stars in the history of Hollywood, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1998. This was around the time Six Days, Seven Nights was released, and just one year removed from Air Force One and The Devil’s Own, which featured fellow Sexiest Man Alive, Brad Pitt.
Ford Was A Philosophy Major In College
Ford has had multiple number-one movies, appeared in some of the best sci-fi films of all time, and continues to be a major player in Hollywood in an all-time great run, but acting wasn’t his original plan. When speaking with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, he revealed that he was originally going to college as a philosophy major, but was looking for something that “was challenging and would provide” experiences. And, probably better job prospects, as well.
His Main Line Of Work Was Carpentry Before Getting A Break In Acting
He'd had a couple of roles before he was cast to play Han in Star Wars, including in George Lucas’ 1973 retro comedy American Graffiti. However, acting wasn’t his main source of income at the time. During a 2014 Reddit AMA, Ford explained how his “principal job at the time” was that of a carpenter, which allowed him to be more selective with the roles he took then. That pretty much changed as soon as he went to the galaxy far, far away.
He Was On The Camera Crew For A Documentary About The Doors
If someone were to ever make a movie about Ford’s life, a section early on would definitely need to cover the week he spent on the road with The Doors when he was a cameraman on a documentary about the legendary rock band. During a 1989 appearance on MTV’s Big Picture Show, Ford recalled the experience, joking that he thought he was hip and cool before going on the road, a sentiment that changed after realizing he couldn’t keep up with the group.
The Actor Signed On For The Fugitive In Part To Grow A Beard
Rarely do we get to see a movie where Ford has any facial hair besides a great layer of stubble, and this was especially true in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. When speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, he explained that whenever he wanted a beard or mustache, former Warner Bros. Chairman Bob Daly would shoot it down. Well, that’s one the reasons he played Richard Kimble in 1993’s The Fugitive, who has a bushy beard for the first chunk of the movie.
Kevin Costner Insisted On Ford Leading Air Force One
Air Force One has since gone down as one Ford’s best movies, but the 1997 action thriller wasn’t supposed to have him in the lead role of U.S. President James Marshall. When speaking with the L. A. Times ahead of the film’s release, Ford revealed that the role was originally meant for Kevin Costner, who had to pass due to scheduling. On top of that, Costner said he would only let go of the script if Ford was able to lead the Air Force One cast.
Ford Was John McTiernan’s Original Pick For Jack Ryan
Ford played Jack Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger after Alec Baldwin left the franchise. But, as John McTiernan, who directed the Baldwin-led military thriller, and who was originally supposed to direct its follow-up, told The Directors in 1997 (via Vanity Fair), Ford was the actor he originally wanted to play Ryan in The Hunt For Red October in the first place.
Harrison Ford Only Has One Oscar Nomination
There’s a long list of incredible actors who have never won an Academy Award, and near the top of that list is Ford. The likes of Tom Cruise, Edward Norton, and Johnny Depp have each received multiple nominations over the years, but Ford has one nod to his name: Peter Weir’s 1985 neo-noir crime drama, Witness, according to EW.
He Received The 2010 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy
As mentioned, Ford is a well-trained pilot with countless hours controlling various aircraft. While he’s never won an Oscar, the actor did receive the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy in 2010, according to the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association.
The Blade Runner Star Was Not A Fan Of The Voiceover Idea
There are a lot of things to love about Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, but the narration is not one of them. The seemingly phoned-in voiceover work by Ford’s Rick Deckard has been a topic of discussion for decades, and even Ford himself has never been a fan of it. In a 1999 interview with Empire Magazine, he said he was “very, very unhappy” with the material and the fact that no one from the studio provided any notes or feedback.
Despite Indiana Jones’ Fear Of Snakes, Ford Is Quite Fond Of Them
One of the running gags in the Indiana Jones franchise is the adventurer’s fear of snakes, but the same can’t be said for Ford. In another comment in his 2014 Reddit AMA, the actor admitted that he actually likes snakes, adding that he once helped collect snakes and build an environment for them while he was a boy scout nature camp counselor.
Harrison Ford’s Movies Have Brought In More Than $10 Billion At The Box Office
Though he may not be the highest grossing actor of all time, Ford’s box office numbers are very impressive. According to The Numbers, his movies have made more than $10 billion at the worldwide box office. With franchises like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and countless other movies, it’s easy to see how the box office receipts add up.
The Story Behind His Signature Chin Scar
One of Ford’s distinct features is the scar along the top of his chin, which is the result of a “a fast car crash,” as he told Parade. He was driving to work when he was much younger and veered into a telephone pole while trying to put on his seatbelt.
He Sipped Whiskey With Ryan Gosling And Alison Hammond During An Iconic This Morning Interview
Before she became the new Great British Baking Show host, Alison Hammond became a viral sensation thanks to her incredible 2017 interview with Ford and Ryan Gosling on This Morning. The actors were in Britain to promote Blade Runner: 2049 when they discovered that Hammond had never seen the original movie. Hilarity, and one of the most honest interviews followed. And yes, it included all three sipping whiskey early in the morning.
Harrison Ford Narrated The Original Empire Strikes Back Trailer
Though Ford’s Blade Runner narration lacks excitement/emotion, the same can’t be said for his voicework for the Empire Strikes Back theatrical trailer. The preview, which came out in 1979 (just months from the movie’s May 1980 release), is animated, full of action, and features an excited and bombastic Ford introducing the characters and situations that would follow.
Ford’s Most Requested Quote Is A Great, Yet Unlikely, Line
Ford’s 2014 Reddit AMA is a treasure trove of information about his life and career, including when it comes to something as random as the line he’s asked to quote the most. During his Q&A session, the actor revealed that he is most often asked to say “Get off my plane” from Air Force One. Surprising, but that line is amazing.
Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny Will Actually Be Ford’s Sixth Time Playing The Character
Though Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will be the fifth installment in the beloved film franchise, the movie will actually be the actor’s sixth time playing the character. In 1993, the L. A. Times reported that Ford was being brought in to film a guest spot on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, George Lucas’ ABC live-action series about a younger version of the adventurer. The appearance was brief, with Ford only appearing in the bookends of a single episode.
Harrison Ford has had one remarkable life; on and off camera. If you’re in the mood for more, now’s a great time to watch all the Indiana Jones movies streaming.