Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Harrison Ford's Extraordinary Measures

    In his latest movie, the actor and producer brings to life the story of a father's quest to cure his children of Pompe disease.

    Harrison Ford: Airplane Pilot continued...

    Just don't call Ford that -- at least not to his face. The "action star" moniker, he thinks, comes from "my films that have made the most money. But [those who elevate him to such status] are not relating to my whole body of work." Even if Ford's biggest parts admittedly do involve light sabers, swords, or the occasional bullwhip, his protagonists are, without exception, "in way over their heads," he insists. He sees himself as a character actor who just happens to be a leading man. Extraordinary Measures included, he gravitates to plum roles that reveal "a path of development … I'm not a professional showoff. I'm a storyteller."

    But if acting is all about taking action, look no further than to one of Hollywood's biggest icons. Ford has never rested on his Han Solo-Indiana Jones-Jack Ryan laurels. He challenges himself. Here at the Santa Monica Airport, he houses three of his own small planes and a helicopter.

    "Around 14 years ago, I realized I hadn't learned anything new in a very long time," he says. "I wanted to learn how to fly: the skill of it all, the interface between responsibility and the freedom it grants you. It reinvented the world for me, and how I answer the question, 'What do you do?' Well, I now can say 'pilot.'"

    These days, when Ford isn't busy searching for the next great script, he's hanging out in remote northern Idaho with his flying buddies.

    "We set up a camp in one of these wilderness strips," he says, "and each day we break up into five or six flights and land in challenging places. It's beautiful, but it's about practicing, about what gets you safely up and down."

    Ford also regularly flies between Los Angeles and his home in Jackson Hole, Wyo., one of several residences he shares with his fiancée, actor Calista Flockhart, and her son, Liam, 9. The actor also has four grown children -- Benjamin, Willard, Malcolm, and Georgia -- from two previous marriages.

    Environmental Agent

    Ford takes action in other ways, too. His commitment to environmental issues is long-standing, from humorous public service announcements where he waxes his chest hair (ouch) to illustrate deforestation to another PR push to help save endangered tigers.

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
     
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
     
    mother and daughter talking
    Tool
    child brushing his teeth
    Slideshow
     
    Sipping hot tea
    Article
    boy drinking from cereal bowl
    Article
     
    hand holding a cell phone
    Article
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
     
    girl being bullied
    Article
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow