- Ford, John
- (1895-1973)Born Sean Aloysius O’Fearna (or Feeney) in Maine, the famous movie director was the son of Irish immigrants. After brief attendance at the University of Maine, he joined his brother in California and took the name Ford while working as a film extra. He starred in The Tornado (1917), which he also wrote and directed. He began listing himself as John Ford in movie credits beginning with the much-acclaimed film The Iron Horse. He made several more successful silent movies and then did equally well in the medium of sound with Men without Women (1930), Arrowsmith (1932), and The Lost Patrol (1934). In 1935, he won an Academy Award for Best Director for The Informer. A succession of major films followed including, Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), Drums along the Mohawk (1939), and The Long Voyage Home (1940). Four of his films won him Oscars: Stagecoach in 1939, starring John Wayne; The Grapes of Wrath based on John Steinbeck’s major novel of the Great Depression and starring Henry Fonda in 1940; How Green Was My Valley in 1941; and The Quiet Man, again with Wayne, in 1952.During World War II, Ford joined the navy and became chief of the Field Photographic Branch of the Office of Strategic Services. He was wounded at the Battle of Midway, and his film, The Battle of Midway, won an Oscar for Best Documentary in 1942. He won another award for the propaganda film, December 7th. He was awarded the Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, and Air Medal for his war services.Returning to Hollywood in 1946, Ford made a succession of Westerns that became classics in the genre: My Darling Clementine, (1946), Fort Apache (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), Rio Grande (1950), The Searchers (1956), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). Other films included They Were Expendable (1945), What Price Glory (1952), the Academy Award-winning The Quiet Man (1952), and Mr. Roberts (1955). Many of these also starred Wayne.His later films in the 1960s were not as successful, but his previous movies were “rediscovered,” and in 1973 the American Film Institute awarded Ford its first Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Richard M. Nixon.See also Cinema.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.