Harrison Ford struggled for years as an actor before George Lucas cast him in 1973's American Graffiti. Ford then hit superstardom playing Han Solo in the three original Star Wars films and as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark and the subsequent Indiana Jones films, which were all monster successes.
He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and, as a child, was targeted by bullies. Ford studied English and philosophy at Ripon College in Wisconsin. There, he discovered an interest in performing nearly by accident when he took a drama class in the final quarter of his senior year to overcome his shyness.
In 1966, Ford made his film debut in a bit part in Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round. Frustrated with his lack of success as an actor, Ford became a carpenter to supplement his income. George Lucas gave him his first important film role in his 1973 drama American Graffiti, but his career failed to progress much. He worked for Francis Ford Coppola as both a carpenter and an actor with small roles in The Conversation and Apocalypse Now. In 1977, Ford collaborated with Lucas again for his breakthrough role as Han Solo in Star Wars." His portrayal of the brash but likable rogue in this science fiction classic helped raise his profile in Hollywood. The film's two sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, made him a star.
Around this time, Ford brought another of his legendary film characters to the big screen. He played a resourceful, swashbuckling archaeologist named Indiana Jones in 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was directed by Steven Spielberg. It spawned several sequels, including Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Ford took on an unusual form of action film in 2010 with Cowboys & Aliens, facing off against Daniel Craig. That same year, his comedy Morning Glory with Rachel McAdams and Diane Keaton fared well at the box office. In 2013, he showed his dramatic talents in 42, a film about the life of African-American baseball legend Jackie Robinson. He also appeared in the science-fiction adventure Ender's Game and the thriller Paranoia.
Additionally, Ford reprised his role as Han Solo in 2015's Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, the first installment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Ford is passionate about protecting nature, and he serves as vice-chair of Conservation International, an American nonprofit environmental organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.
Ford's daughter, Georgia Ford, suffers from epilepsy, and, as a result, Ford is also an advocate for epilepsy awareness.
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