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Profiles of Harry Potter, Harrison Ford

Aired June 21, 2003 - 11:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Next, on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, the young wizard who's conjured up a movie and literary franchise.

CHRIS COLUMBUS, DIRECTOR: People respond to the idea of maybe there's some magic, maybe there's some hope in our lives.

ANNOUNCER: He was orphaned at an early age and raised by a dysfunctional family.

DANIEL RADCLIFFE, ACTOR: He's had an incredibly tough life.

ANNOUNCER: His talent was discovered when he got the invitation of a lifetime. Now, the latest edition of his saga is fueling even more Harry hype and hoopla, the wizard and wizardry behind "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

Then, one of the silver screen's most bankable action stars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He sort of epitomizes manliness I suppose.

ANNOUNCER: He's come a long way from living the life of a struggling actor.

HARRISON FORD, ACTOR: I found that Los Angeles had more use for good carpenters than fair actors.

ANNOUNCER: He's played the role of hero on and off the screen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He does have a helicopter hanging around and he's willing to get in it and fly up and help people out.

ANNOUNCER: Now, he's romancing Ali McBeal and taking a chance at comedy with "Hollywood Homicide."

FORD: You have the responsibility to try and push the envelope a little bit.

ANNOUNCER: Reluctant actor, Harrison Ford. Their stories and more now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. For Paula Zahn, I'm Anderson Cooper. He's the young wizard in training who's conjured up an international phenomenon. Harry Potter is back, back at Hogwart's, back on bookshelves, and back to cast another spell on adults and children alike.

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is the latest installment of a series that has sold more than 195 million books worldwide. Here's Bruce Burkhardt.


BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Harry Potter lives in a world of fantasy in a place far, far away. Just a boy, he's beloved and admired by millions.

HARRY POTTER: What are you all doing here?

HERMIONE GRANGER: It will be OK, Harry, you're a great wizard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's brave and adventurous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he doesn't care what people tell him to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry's friendly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry's not scared of anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Harry Potter is braver than anyone I've ever met.


BURKHARDT: Harry Potter is back with a much anticipated release of the series' fifth installment, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," flying onto bookshelves to go on sale midnight, June 21st, Harry is once again setting publishing records with an unprecedented 6.8 million copies printed for its first edition with another 1.7 million to come.

But the story behind "The Order of the Phoenix" has been closely guarded since its inception and security has been tight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They'd have to break through out gates, break through the door, and break through the back door to get here.

BURKHARDT: All this is feeding the Potter frenzy. Retailers and merchandisers are scrambling to capitalize on Harry hyper mania. But it has been Harry's transition to the big screen, with the help of a little movie magic that has captivated audiences around the world.



BURKHARDT: And brought this literary character to life. Warner Brothers, which is owned by CNN's parent company AOL Time Warner, has turned "Sorcerer's Stone" and "Chamber of Secrets" into box office bonanzas.

The film's director saw the appeal in Harry's story immediately.

COLUMBUS: People respond to the idea of magic. In this day and age people respond to the idea that maybe there's some magic, maybe there's some hope in our lives.

BURKHARDT: And the actor who portrays Harry recognizes one of his best qualities.

RADCLIFFE: He's the underdog which I think is one of the appeals of Harry. He's the underdog who triumphs.

BURKHARDT: But for all his goodness, Harry's life story begins sadly. It's believed he was born on July 31, 1980. A year later, he's an orphan. His father James a wizard, his mother Lily (ph) a witch are murdered by an evil dark lord. Harry is bundled up and delivered to his aunt and uncle's home at 4 Privet Drive, with Harry a letter explaining his tragic circumstance.

DAVID COLBERT, AUTHOR, "THE MAGICAL WORLDS OF HARRY POTTER": He's the only person to have survived the killing curse. He's obviously an incredibly powerful wizard. That's how he got his lightning scar.

WEASLEY: Do you have the scar? Wicked.

BURKHARDT: There are also less visible marks, says Lee Williams, a fourth grade teacher.

LEE WILLIAMS, TEACHER: His loneliness, his isolation, the fact that he's an orphan, that he's been abused physically and emotionally by the Dursleys, and he's very much alone in the world.

BURKHARDT: To his surprise, Harry discovers he can talk to snakes infuriating his magic fearing uncle.

VERNON DURSLEY: What have you got to say for yourself?

POTTER: I swear I don't know how it happened. One minute the glass is there and then it was gone. It was like magic.

DURSLEY: There's no such thing as magic.

BURKHARDT: But magic always finds Harry. A scene in the film, a very special invitation arrives at 4 Privet Drive.

POTTER: Dear Mr. Potter: We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

RUBEUS HAGRID: First years come this way please. Come on now.

BURKHARDT: Hagrid, the gentle giant is Harry's guide to all things magic. HAGRID: You're a wizard Harry.

POTTER: I'm a what?

BURKHARDT: Soon, Harry is buying school necessities, strange books, potion ingredients and, of course a wand.

In September, 1991, Harry now 11 embarks on his brand new life as captured in the first film.

POTTER: Can you tell me where I might find platform nine and three-quarters?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine and three-quarters, think you're being funny do you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a few moments you will pass through these doors and join your classmates.

BURKHARDT: Even at Hogwart's Harry has to learn to fit in.


RADCLIFFE: In the first film he's discovering this world all around him and he's kind of very reactive but in the second film when he finds out that something bad could happen to his home, he tries to protect it so he's very proactive.

POTTER: (Unintelligible).

BURKHARDT: The troubles Harry Potter faces in his first year at the school of wizardry do not disappear in his second.

When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS CONTINUES, a look a Harry's creator and how the young wizard saved her from poverty and depression.


ANNOUNCER: Also ahead, the unlikely duo of "Indiana Jones" and "Ali McBeal." Together, they're one of Hollywood's hottest couples.

FORD: She's a wonderfully talented actress.

ANNOUNCER: The new love in the life of Harrison Ford, that story later on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.




BURKHARDT (voice-over): The person who knows Harry Potter inside and out is J.K. Rowling. While on a train journey in 1990, Rowling says Harry popped into her life. J.K. ROWLING, AUTHOR "HARRY POTTER" SERIES: It came very suddenly, the idea of this boy who didn't know what he was until he was 11 and then he got this invitation to go off to wizard school and I had this very physical response to the idea of it. I felt so excited. I just thought it would such fun to write.

BURKHARDT: While the English countryside flew by images of Harry, Hermione, Ron, Hagrid, and even Hogwart's materialized. Like Harry, Rowling would come to know misery.

In 1993, she moved to Edinboro, Scotland. Divorced, she was a single mother with an infant daughter. Depressed and on public assistance, Rowling says she wrote about Harry to keep sane. Rowling would flee her dreary apartment for coffee houses where she'd fill notebooks with Harry's story. The young boy became her knight in shining armor.

ROWLING: I never dreamt Harry Potter was going to be the thing that saved us. Harry Potter was my personal ambition and I often felt selfish for pursuing it.

BURKHARDT: The pursuit was a long one. It took Rowling, who had never had anything published before five years to write book one, and then another year to find a publisher. In 1997, Rowling's quest was successful.

ROWLING: By anyone's standards, and certainly by mine, I'm now rich.

BURKHARDT: How rich? According to BBC News, J.K. Rowling is now one of the wealthiest women in Britain, even richer than the queen.

There are more than 190 million Harry Potter books in print worldwide. Harry's story is published in at least 47 languages from Albanian to Zulu.

COLBERT: Harry is recognized everywhere he goes as a hero.

BURKHARDT: David Colbert is the author of "The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter." He says Harry, as well as the creatures he meets, are not unique.

COLBERT: Many of the creatures in the books come out of J.K. Rowling's imagination and they're wonderful creatures but also many of them come from myth and literature and legend.

BURKHARDT: For instance, Harry's owl Hedwig.

COLBERT: Owls are the mail carriers in Harry's world. There's something about carrying the mail. It's almost as if they know. They know who the message is from. They know what it's about. Owls were the emblem of the Goddess Minerva.

WEASLEY: Bloody bird's a menace.

COLBERT: Who was also the goddess of wisdom. BURKHARDT: Hedwig is named for St. Hedwig, the patron saint of orphans, orphans like Harry. Harry's mentor provides another link to mythology.

COLBERT: We've met Albus Dumbledore before. He's like Merlin. He has the long gray beard and the long flowing hair and he dresses in robes. He's old. He's wise. He's somewhat mysterious but his first name, Albus, it's the Latin word for white so, of course, he's fighting the dark forces, the forces of evil, and it's the perfect name for a wizard who's doing that.

BURKHARDT: And, don't forget the troll, the giant, and the phoenix that rises from the flames. But it's Harry himself who's most legendary.

COLBERT: Harry is a universal hero. He's a hidden monarch like King Arthur was. He was hidden away as a child so that he would be protected. He doesn't even know that he's a great wizard.

BURKHARDT: All heroes go on adventures and receive magical charms like Harry does in the film.

COLBERT: Heroes have always had friends who help them or they had friends with special skills. Luke Skywalker didn't go anywhere without R2D2 and C3PO.

WEASLEY: Do you think there really is a chamber of secrets?


BURKHARDT: And our hero, Harry, goes nowhere without Ron and Hermione.

RADCLIFFE: Well, he had an incredibly tough life and he just comes through it all with the help of his friends Ron and Hermione.

WEASLEY: Ugh, essence of crab.

GRANGER: Cheers.

BURKHARDT: As seen in the film, Harry can't make things change without them. While Harry may follow in King Arthur's footsteps...

DRACO MALFOY: Scared Potter?

POTTER: You wish.

BURKHARDT: Most of his young fans miss the legendary nuance.

WILLIAMS: I think the children all see Harry as a hero but in the very simplest of forms he's the superman of Hogwart's. He rescues his friends. He saves the day. He always comes out on top.

BURKHARDT: When the story of Harry Potter continues, Harry's magic launches a movie franchise.


COOPER: Elves, spiders, and snakes, oh my. J.K. Rowling goes from welfare to riches when PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, but first here's this week's "Passages."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Veteran movie actor Hume Cronin died this week after a long battle with prostate cancer. Born in Canada, Cronin first hit the big screen in Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt."

Appearing in more than 40 films in his career he was best known for his role in 1985's "Cocoon," playing opposite wife Jessica Tandy who died in 1994. Hume Cronin was 91.


ANNOUNCER: Women's magazine "Redbook" is in a lot of hot water over a picture of cover girl Julia Roberts. "Redbook" doctored the photo of the actress cutting and pasting a picture of Julia's head to a different shot of Julia's body. The magazine, which also gave the same treatment to Jennifer Aniston has apologized to Roberts. Luckily "Redbook" has canceled next month's cover photo that would have pasted a picture of Ernest Borgnine's head to Britney Spear's body.

We always knew this former NFL star, William "the refrigerator" Perry liked to eat but now he's taking his appetite to the masses. The 400-pound fridge has qualified for the annual July 4th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island.

Perry will be a huge underdog against the defending champion, 130-pound Japanese buzzsaw Takiro Kobayachi (ph). Kobayachi holds the world's record for downing 50 dogs in 12 minutes. Hopefully, Perry is better at eating than he is at Super Bowl shuffling.

To satisfy your appetite for celebrity news, pick up a special double issue of "People" magazine featuring the list of the 25 hottest bachelors.

Our profile of Harry Potter will continue after this.



BURKHARDT (voice-over): The orphan boy who grew up to be a wizard is now famous around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry has a thin face, knobby knees, black hair, and bright green eyes.

BURKHARDT: By the summer of 2000, Rowling had written and published four novels all of which were wildly successful. Captivating children around the world, Harry Potter had at last reached legendary status. Hollywood was salivating but Warner Brothers had already (unintelligible). The film studio has secured rights for the first three Harry books at a bargain basement price of $700,000.

They're expecting to roll naked in hundreds of millions of dollars, you know. I mean this is it for Warner Brothers.

BURKHARDT: Daniel Fierman is with "Entertainment Weekly." Like Warner Brothers and CNN, all part of the AOL Time Warner company.

DANIEL FIERMAN, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": If you're a movie studio, the thing you want more than anything is a franchise something you can go back to it again and again and get all sorts of ancillary revenue streams from, you know, the merchandise, the tie-ins, the coke bottles, the games, the blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

BURKHARDT: Warner Brothers got the franchise deal by promising the anxious J.K. Rowling they'd stay true to her story and Harry's millions of young fans. But, Hollywood still had to find its Harry.

ROWLING: We're looking for Harry. I did actually meet my physically perfect Harry in Northern Ireland. Yes, I was talking to a group of about 200 kids and doing the reading and I, you know, kept looking up as you do when you're doing a reading and then I looked dead center and he was just sitting there staring at me and I completely lost my place. I went, Harry.

BURKHARDT: A look-alike but not an actor, so the search continued.

FIERMAN: Finding Harry Potter was incredibly difficult. It took months and months and months. They saw thousands of children.

BURKHARDT: Only weeks before cameras were to roll on the first movie, actor Daniel Radcliffe was finally cast to play the literary hero.

RADCLIFFE: I have read the least of Harry Potter in my class. I managed to get the part somehow.

POTTER: Who are you?

DOBIE THE ELF: Dobie the house elf.

BURKHARDT: As the star, the 13-year-old Radcliffe holds the key to a huge movie franchise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck, Potter.

POTTER: Thank you, sir.

BURKHARDT: It's a ton of pressure.

RADCLIFFE: It's obviously kind of quite kind of nerve-racking but as well as that it's just a lot of fun because you get to kind of -- you do get to inspire people. BURKHARDT: So far, Warner Brothers' commitment to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter's fans has paid off. The first two movies have grossed nearly $2 billion worldwide. The third Potter film is in production and set to release in June, 2004.

But there are questions about what will happen after the third movie is made. Director Chris Columbus has stepped down from his directing role to spend more time with his family and Daniel Radcliffe has signed on only through the third movie. The young actors in the film remain optimistic about their involvement in the movies.

RUPERT GRINT, ACTOR: I think I'd like to do most of these films because I really do enjoy them.

BURKHARDT: But Columbus has some advice for them.

COLUMBUS: If you were asking me I think it would probably be a good idea for them to start to live lives as real kids after they finish the third film.

BURKHARDT: The death of Richard Harris, the actor who portrays Dumbledore at the end of October leaves at least one role for Warner Brothers to fill.

ROWLING: We had known he was ill but hadn't expected that it was imminent and it's going to be very difficult to replace him. I honestly don't know if they've even thought about who.

BURKHARDT: Despite the setback there are more movies to come. Hoping that fans will not tire of looking at the world through Harry's glasses, Warner Brothers has bought the rights to Rowling's next three books.

Now, after three long years of waiting, fans across the world are standing in line this weekend for the latest copy of Harry Potter, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to find out what happens to Harry.


BURKHARDT: And J.K. Rowling has two more books in the works. After that, her publisher says, she's calling it quits. But those Harry enthusiasts who think it might be another three years until the next book shouldn't worry. At 896 pages, 220,000 words, "The Order of the Phoenix" should keep fans busy for some time.

For now, Harry Potter has the world under his spell and from the looks of things, that's not going to change anytime soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us hope Mr. Potter will always be around to save the day.

POTTER: Don't worry, I will be.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" may be flying off the shelves but it's not going cheap. The book retails for $29.99, a hefty price in the realm of children's books.

ANNOUNCER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, one of the most recognizable movie stars today but a master of disguise.

BRIAN DENNEHY, ACTOR: You can go into a restaurant with Harrison. He puts on these glasses and he doesn't exist anymore.

ANNOUNCER: How, Hans Solo flies under the radar, a look at Harrison Ford is next.



COOPER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Harrison Ford is Hollywood's all-time box office bohemian, think Hans Solo, Indiana Jones, Jack Ryan. That's just for starters.

His movies have earned an estimated $6 billion worldwide but Ford's latest film "Hollywood Homicide" is taking a back seat to the real life action and revelations in his personal life. Here's Bill Hemmer.


BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Harrison Ford may be a 60-year-old grandfather but you would not know it from his latest film "Hollywood Homicide." In this latest incarnation of the buddy cop movie, Ford co-stars with another Hollywood hunk from a much younger demographic, Josh Hartman.

Ford also takes a chance at comedy, a genre that this action hero is not often noted for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what do you think?

FORD: Write this down, cheeseburger well done, ketchup, pickle, nothing else.

That's one of the things that attracted me to it. After you've been around for a long time you have the responsibility to kind of try and push the envelope a little bit.

HEMMER: He's intense. He's macho and in the eyes of Hollywood he is still the leading man.

KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS, ACTRESS: He sort of epitomizes manliness I suppose.

BRIAN DENNEHY, ACTOR: He's a movie star in the same sense that Gary Cooper was a movie star or Humphrey Bogart. They're tough, reliable, substantial people, genuine American alpha males.

PAT MCQUEENEY, FORD'S AGENT: Men don't feel threatened by him and women of course are just absolutely mad for him.

HEMMER: One woman apparently mad for Ford is actress Calista Flockhart. The two have been an item for more than a year. In a recent edition of "People" magazine the normally shy Ford admits his strong feelings for the actress who played Ali McBeal.

He tells the magazine, and quoting: "I was not surprised that I was able to fall in love and I was nor surprised that I did. I am very grateful."

But Hollywood buzz and publicity in general is something that makes this reluctant movie star bristle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there an engagement in the future?

FORD: I'm here to talk about "Hollywood Homicide."

DENNEHY: He doesn't really feel comfortable talking about himself which makes you wonder why the hell he's in this business in the first place, you know, because that's what we all do. But that's what makes him such an interesting character, one of the things that makes him such an interesting character. He puts it on the screen which is where it should be.

HEMMER: He's been putting it on the screen for more than three decades drawing in box office dollars with every scene he films.

LEAH ROZEN, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Whether it's with the spaceship in "Star Wars," whether as "Indiana Jones" he's now going to get the bad guys.

FORD: I'm going after that truck.


FORD: I don't know. I'm making this up as I go.

ROZEN: Same thing in "Air Force One" years later when he single- handedly as the president has to, you know, whoop the behinds of the terrorists.

FORD: Get off my plane.

HEMMER: Long before he was pushing bad guys from airplanes, Harrison Ford was himself pushed around as a shy school boy in suburban Chicago.

FORD: The school was built level with the road but 20 or 30 feet above surrounding soybean fields and it was the school sport at recess for some period of time to push me over the edge of the embankment and for me to crawl back up only to be pushed down again.

HEMMER: In 1960 after a lackluster high school career, he entered Wisconsin's Rippen College.

FORD: I was a philosophy and English major. My grade point average was unspectacular and in searching around for a class to take that would help me get my grade point average up, I came across drama not realizing that one of the requirements of this course in drama was that I participate in a school play that I act, get up on stage and act.

I thought that it was simply a study of plays and when I first was required to be on stage I was incredibly nervous. My knees were shaking and people could see it from the back of the theater which gave me an obstacle to overcome.

HEMMER: His knees did not shake for long. After three college plays, Ford not only mastered his stage fright but he also found his calling.

FORD: I had a degree of success in college. I had a good time doing it. Ii was encouraged to continue.

HEMMER: He also found a girlfriend, classmate and fellow actress Mary Markart (ph). The young performer had plenty of passion for acting but apparently none for schoolwork. After failing to complete several key assignments, Ford flunked out of Rippen College.

He quickly found work as a summer stock performer at a local Wisconsin theater, splitting his focus on acting and his girlfriend Mary. The couple tied the knot in the middle of the season.

BILL FUSIK, COMMUNITY THEATER DIRECTOR: I think he had a matinee that day and he ran off and they ran off to get married and got back for the evening performance or something along that line. I know it was a rushed thing.

HEMMER: In the fall of 1964, Ford wrapped up his performances at the local theater. Now a married man, he pondered earning a living as an actor.

FORD: All I knew about acting was that you had either to go to New York or Los Angeles to get paid for it and Mary and I put all of our possessions in her Volkswagen Beetle. I loaded the cat and flipped a coin. It did come up New York so we made it two out of three.

HEMMER: In California, Ford met up with Bill Fusik, the theater director from his summer stock days in Wisconsin. Fusik was casting roles for a play at the Laguna Beach Playhouse. Harrison got a part but was hardly on his way.

The next few months were an exercise in humiliation and in frustration. He was turned down repeatedly after reading for countless roles. It was also during this period that a minor car accident left Ford with his trademark scar. Having suffered insult and injury and desperate to make ends meet, the determined actor carved out a niche.

FORD: I found that Los Angeles had actually more use for good carpenters than fair actors.

HEMMER: Armed only with his experience building sets in theater class, Ford offered up his services as a carpenter.

RICHARD FLEISCHER, DIRECTOR: Harrison came on the job mainly to build our bookcases. We have a lot of bookcases here. He did some of the framing for the room. He did a lot of work but the main thing really was the bookcases and he did a wonderful job with those.

HEMMER: When we come back, the carpenter gets angry.

MCQUEENEY: Harrison has so much dignity that he did not like being humiliated at all so he was cranky all the time.





HEMMER: In 1966, Harrison Ford was finally making a name for himself through his craft.

SERGIO MENDEZ, RECORDING ARTIST: As I recall him telling me that yes I'm going to be an actor, and as you know in Hollywood everybody's going to be an actor, so I said OK. Can you please finish the studio?

HEMMER: Though there was a baby on the way, he had grown jaded and sullen from Hollywood rejection. It was through a contact at the community theater where Ford first worked in L.A. where the brooding actor finally got his big break, an audition with the head of new talent at Columbia Pictures.

His first role was a 42nd appearance in the film "Dead Heat on a Merry-go-round." Columbia's director of new talent was less than impressed with the performance.

FORD: He saw my appearance as a bell boy, called me into his office and said look, I don't think you're going to make it in this business. You might as well give it up.

He said and by way of explanation he told me that when Tony Curtis was first in a movie he delivered a bag of groceries and he emphasized that, he delivered a bag of groceries and you took one look at that person and you knew that was a movie star and I leaned across his desk and said I thought you were supposed to think it was a grocery delivery boy and, of course, he threw me out of his office.

HEMMER: In 1970, a casting director referred Harrison Ford to Patricia McQueeney, an agent specializing in up and coming actors.

MCQUEENEY: He was difficult to represent. Harrison has so much dignity that he did not like being humiliated at all so he was cranky all the time.

He would go out on appointments and scare the casting directors to death and they'd call me up and they'd say Pat, why did you send that surly guy in here. He didn't want to be here. I thought he was going to punch me out.

HEMMER: He may have scared casting directors but he also got parts, mostly in TV shows like "Gunsmoke."

FORD: I had decided that I was wearing out my face doing episodic television playing the same kind of character over and over again.

MCQUEENEY: I would bring him a script and he'd say I'm not going to do that. I'll go build a cabinet. And, I'd say but Harrison they're offering you $30,000. He'd say I don't care. I'm not doing it. It's a piece of, and he'd use a nice word.

HEMMER: Ford was holding out for feature films, a strategy that paid off with George Lucas' 1973 film "American Graffiti." Harrison played the part of Bob Falfa (ph) the rough drag racer who sported a cowboy hat. The film marked the beginning of a relationship with Director George Lucas, a relationship that would blast Ford's career to intergalactic heights.

"Star Wars" still one of the highest grossing movies of all time and lightning in a bottle for the 35-year-old Harrison Ford. He played the swaggering mercenary Han Solo.

ROZEN: He was the most charismatic figure in the film. He was a man's man. He was an adventurer. He had a rugged sense of humor. He was the guy you most wanted to be in that movie.

HEMMER: If "Star Wars" thrust Harrison Ford to stardom, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" cemented his place. In the dynamic role of Indiana Jones he rode and climbed and fought his way into global pop culture.

FORD: The character of Indiana Jones gave me the opportunity to express the enthusiasm that that character had for his life, his indomitable. I never considered myself indomitable but I knew how to pretend it. I never thought myself brave but I knew how to represent it.

DENNEHY: He shows a certain uncertainty about himself at critical times in the movies so that we worry for him. We care about him. We want him to succeed. We want him to come through.

IVAN REITMAN, DIRECTOR: I always thought that Harrison had this sort of wonderfully endearing grumpy side, you know, and he uses this grumpiness both to frighten people and to make them laugh.

HEMMER: Since "Raiders of the Lost Ark" Harrison Ford has played 17 different roles, ranging from conflict lawman John Book (ph) in "Witness," the only role for which he was ever nominated for an Oscar, to the intrepid doctor on the lam in the movie "The Fugitive." But the long periods away on location took a toll. Shortly after the release of "Star Wars" Harrison Ford and Mary Markart divorced.

MCQUEENEY: He said I will be divorced to Mary for the rest of my life which I think is just an incredibly great line. I think, you know, I think every woman in America should have Harrison Ford as their ex-husband. They should all be so lucky because he's, you know, so warm and so kind to her and they're such good friends.

HEMMER: In 1983, Ford married Melissa Mathison (ph) the screenwriter who penned that blockbuster film "E.T." Some felt they seemed like the ideal show biz couple. Harrison Ford was then a man (unintelligible), an A-list actor, the toast of tinsel town a town he really wanted no part of.

ANNE-MARIE O'NEILL, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: As a young man he had to be part of it to a degree, you know, to make his career. Now, he's reached a stage that he doesn't need it.

HEMMER: Coming up, Indiana Jones meets Ali McBeal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The story goes that Calista saw Harrison and wanted to meet him and decided she would spill her drink on him.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about a big hand for Harrison Ford ladies and gentlemen?

HEMMER: By 1990, Harrison Ford was a fixture on movie screens but on the Hollywood social scene he was nowhere to be found.

O'NEILL: I think he's definitely become more distant from the Hollywood machine as the years have gone by.

HEMMER: When he's not in New York or on a film set, Ford spends a lot of time on his 800-acre ranch in Wyoming.

O'NEILL: I think generally he is a country guy. He is an outdoorsman. He loves the wilderness.

HEMMER: But his favorite place to be is up in the wild blue yonder.

FORD: I love the machines. I love the airplanes and helicopters. It's more than a pleasure. It's more than a hobby. It's one of the things I do.

HEMMER: Ford occasionally drops in on small airfields across the country and he's been known to rescue stranded people including a lost Boy Scout in the Wyoming wilderness.

O'NEILL: He's basically made himself available to the forest rangers there that if something goes wrong and they need some help he does have a helicopter hanging around and he's willing to get in it and fly up and help people out.

HEMMER: If Ford likes to fly solo in the sky, he also prefers to be left alone while he's on the ground. He has an uncanny ability to lay low in public. DENNEHY: You can go into a restaurant with Harrison. He puts on these glasses and he doesn't exist anymore. People just don't see him, don't notice him.

HEMMER: But when he is noticed, Harrison Ford handles his fans with grace.

KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS, ACTRESS: When people come up to him he's just really, he makes them feel that he's actually listening to them. I've always found him to be incredibly gracious and polite with people I frankly want to throttle.

FORD: People are generally very kind to me and I consider those people to be my customers, the people who are supporting my life and my -- not just financially but they're supporting my artistic, if you will, life and I'm grateful to them.

HEMMER: Ford has four children, two from each of his marriages, and he's always been close to his kids. But despite his devotion as a parent, Harrison separated from Melissa Mathison in 2001. Location shoots and other absences again taking their toll.

O'NEILL: They did try and get back together which is kind of telling. They did reunite for a while and try and pull it together and, you know, try and be together for the children and for themselves as well but it just simply didn't work out.

HEMMER: Tight-lipped about his private life, Ford is notoriously reticent in interviews.

FORD: I understand how this business works. I'm willing to do it. I do it with as much grace and efficiency as I can muster but it's not my favorite thing to do.

REITMAN: I think he's generally a very private man who sort of picks his friends very carefully.

HEMMER: One of Harrison Ford's friends, Calista Flockhart, has gotten a lot of attention.

O'NEILL: They're very much a couple. Their friends say that they are, you know, clearly in love with each other.

HEMMER: Though nearly 23 years apart in age, the two actors hit it off after meeting at a Golden Globes after party in 2002.

O'NEILL: The story goes that Calista saw Harrison and wanted to meet him and decided she would spill her drink on him.

HEMMER: The couple says their introduction happened differently, though they admit wine was spilled. However it happened it's led to what some think is a curious pairing.

O'NEILL: He's a big kind of plays the hero guy and she plays this like vulnerable neurotic tiny woman but, you know, they're real people. They're not those characters and so maybe it's not as funny as it seems.

HEMMER: Flockhart told "People" magazine about this May/December romance: "I keep forgetting that he's 22 years older than me. It doesn't factor into our relationship at all." Ford, for his part, has tried to keep his very public relationship as private as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you and Calista work together?

FORD: I hope so someday. She's a wonderfully talented actress and I'd love to be able to work with her.

HEMMER: "Hollywood Homicide" the buddy comedy where Ford stars as a detective alongside heartthrob of the moment Josh Hartnett just opened in theaters to less than stellar reviews. Despite the spotlight that stardom brings, this private celebrity has no plans to quit.

FORD: I've not found anything in my life other than flying that presents me with the kinds of opportunities and challenges and mental stimulation that acting does.

ROZEN: I'm guessing if Harrison Ford picks the right roles and plays it right he can be the next Sean Connery.

FORD: Sean Connery continues to be a viable leading man in action films and Sean's even older than I am.


COOPER: Harrison Ford appears as game as ever when it comes to action films. He's set to start shooting the fourth Indiana Jones movie next summer.

Well, that's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for joining us. See you next week.


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