Francis Ford

Active - 1911 - 2014  |   Born - Aug 15, 1882   |   Died - Sep 5, 1953   |   Genres - Western, Drama, Action, Comedy, Crime

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Mainly remembered for offering younger brother John Ford his first opportunities in the movie business, Francis Ford (born Feeney) was a touring company actor before entering films with Thomas Edison in 1907. In the early 1910s, he served a tumultuous apprenticeship as a director/star for producer Thomas Ince -- who in typical Ince fashion presented many of Ford's accomplishments as his own -- before moving over to Carl Laemmle's Universal in 1913. A true auteur, Ford would direct, write, and star in his own Westerns and serials, often opposite Grace Cunard, the studio's top action heroine. Contrary to popular belief they never married, but their onscreen partnership resulted in such popular action serials as Lucille Love -- Girl of Mystery (1914), The Broken Coin (1915), and The Adventures of Peg o' the Ring (1916). Both Ford's and Cunard's careers declined in the 1920s, with Ford directing mostly poverty row productions. He kept working in films as a supporting actor through the early '50s, mainly due to the influence of John, who often made Francis Ford and Victor McLaglen supply the corny Irish humor for which he exhibited a lifelong fondness. Francis Ford's son, Philip Ford, also became a director of Westerns, and also like his father, mainly of the poverty row variety.

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