Least Likely to Succeed
In high school, Harrison Ford might have been labeled a “nerd” except for his C grade point average. That did not stop him from becoming a target for bullies, especially since he never played sports and was a member of the school’s radio club. Unpopular, girls ignored him and he graduated without ever going on a date. His other classmates even voted him “least likely to succeed.”
He went to college after graduation and got his first taste of acting after enrolling in a few drama classes. He was not particularly interested in it, merely looking for an easy A to raise his grade point average. Then, mere weeks before graduation, he was expelled after he failed a philosophy class. Having been bit by the performing bug, he decided to move to Hollywood and look for work as an actor. Initially, he had more success finding carpentry work than acting work beyond small parts on a variety of television series. Still, he did manage to land a minor role in the movie American Graffiti. Yet when he approached the director, George Lucas, about a part in his upcoming movie, Lucas rejected him because he wanted “new faces.”
Unable to find another acting job, Ford agreed to read one of the parts during screen tests in order to earn some extra money and ended up landing the role. The movie, Star Wars, became an instant hit and Ford became an overnight sensation. So much so, that critics believed that everyone cast of the film would be forever typecast in those roles. When he was passed up for the lead role in one of Lucas’s next movies, Raiders of the Lost Ark, it appeared the critics might be right. However, after Lucas’s first choice, Tom Seleck, became unavailable, Ford stepped in and earned critical praise for his portrayal of Indiana Jones.
Today, Ford is considered one of the most successful actors alive and was listed in the 2001 Guinness Book of World Records as the richest male actor. In 2001, the American Film Institute gave him their Lifetime Achievement Award. Amazingly, he has only been nominated for an Oscar one time (Best Actor for Witness), an award he did not win.