Born February 1, 1894, John Ford was a film director born of Irish-American parents. He is famous for this westerns and well known films including Stagecoach, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Grapes of Wrath and How Green Was My Valley. Ford won four Academy Awards for Best Direct in 1935, 1940, 1941, and 1952. Ford's career has covered more than fifty years and 140 films. He is one of the most important filmmakers and directors in Hollywood. Orson Wells and Ingmar Bergman called John Ford one of the greatest directors ever. Ford's characteristic filming includes location shooting and framing his actors against harsh and sharp natural topographies.
Originally named John Martin Jack Feeney, Ford was one of eleven children. He attended school in Portland, Maine where he was a successful football player. He moved to California to direct and act with his brother Francis and took the professional name of Jack Ford. Ford began his career by working in his brother's films. He often was Francis' cameraman. He directed silent films but very few of these films remain.
In 1920 Ford married Mary McBride Smith and they had two children.
Ford had a group of actors he often used: Will Rogers, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Maureen O'Hara, Ward Bond, James Carradine and James Stewart in his films. Johnson. Most of his production team worked with him for decades.
Up the River was the film debut for Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart. Ford directed Arrowsmith which received five Academy Award nominations. His film The Informer in 1935 earned critical praise and won Ford an Academy Award for Best Director.
Stagecoach (1939) was Ford's premier western starring virtual unknown John Wayne. Drums along the Mohawk in 1939 was Ford's first color movie and won Enda May Oliver a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. The Grapes of Wrath is regarded as one of Hollywood's best films of the era. Ford directed Tobacco Road and How Green was My Valley in 1941. Ford served in the U.S. Navy during WWII and was head of the photographic unit in the Office of Strategic Service. He made documentaries for the Navy and won two academy Awards for The Battle of Midway and December 7.
Ford directed My Darling Clementine in 1946, Wyatt Earp, and The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Fort Apache in 1948, and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon in 1959 which was acclaimed for its stunning cinematography. Rio Grande in 1950 which starred John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. Ford directed The Quiet Man. His last western The Man Who Shot Library Valance was his last film. Increasing ill health plagued John Ford and he passed away on August 31, 1937 in California. He was 79.