Francis Ford

Francis Ford

Frank Thomas Feeney (1881–1953). American Actor, Performer, Writer, Producer and Director. Elder brother of the director John Ford and himself a screen director (and John's erstwhile mentor) until the advent of sound. He had also acted in his own films and those of other directors, but turned to acting exclusively circa 1929. As actor, he would provide convincing portrayals of men of authority - men sometimes ruthless if not downright unsavory. But he also had an ample feel for light comedy.


Father of Philip Ford and Francis Joseph Ford Jr a.k.a. "Bill".  Although he and Grace Cunard made so many films together that many people assumed they were married to each other, they weren't.  His transition from the Ford family home in Maine to have a career in Hollywood as a actor and director was what motivated his little brother John Ford to do the same, largely as an act of competition.  According to Garry Wills' biography of John Wayne, "John Wayne's America," John Ford Francis as part of his stock company partly so he could humiliate him by giving him small, meaningless roles and yelling at him on the set. The younger Ford could not handle feelings of indebtedness, which was one of the reasons he only worked with Harry Carey once in the quarter-century after Carey left Universal. Carey was given the role of the prison warden and Francis the role of a corporal of the guard in Ford's The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936).  When Ford was the head of the Universal Film Manufacturing Co.'s shorts and serials department, he assigned his kid brother John Ford, who was working odd jobs around the studio, to Harry Carey's unit. When Universal boss "Uncle" Carl Laemmle gave Carey his own unit, Carey took John along as his director. Carey and Francis would later appear together in Oscar-winner John's The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936) in supporting roles. 

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