Harrison Ford: Imperfect Hero

Garry Jenkins, Author
Garry Jenkins, Author Birch Lane Press $22.5 (408p) ISBN 978-1-55972-443-2
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
The man who brought Indiana Jones and Han Solo to life gets a serviceable but superficial biography from English entertainment writer Jenkins (Daniel Day-Lewis: The Fire Within). Born in 1942 in Chicago, Ford, the son of an ad man, proved to be an unimpressive student in high school and college, and his frustrating early years in Hollywood--when he had bit parts in TV shows such as Ironside and Love, American Style--seemed to end with his career as a Hollywood carpenter. His leap to stardom in Star Wars and his subsequent rise to superstar status are related in a perfunctory fashion by Jenkins, who relies mainly on previously published interviews and profiles. The book's chief flaw, however, is its persistently sour attitude toward its subject, which may arise from lack of original insight into the actor's character and work. The imperfections Jenkins comes up with amount--in the celebrity world, anyway--to misdemeanors: ingratitude toward former teachers and friends, tabloid whispers of affairs with co-stars Carrie Fisher and Lesley Anne Down, some star petulance on location and a few youthful hijinks (flinging Richard Dreyfuss off a motel balcony into a pool during the making of American Grafitti). At his worst, Ford comes across as merely grumpy. There's little here that a regular reader of People or Vanity Fair won't already know. (Nov.)
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