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John Martin Ford (Feeney)

Also Known As: "John Ford"
Birthplace: Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland County, Maine, United States
Death: August 31, 1973 (79)
Palm Desert, Riverside County, California, United States (stomach cancer)
Place of Burial: Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Augustine Feeney and Barbara Feeney
Husband of Mary McBryde Ford
Father of Barbara Ford
Brother of Delia Edith Feeney; Francis Joseph Ford; Bridget Feeney; Edward C. Feeney; Hannah Feeney and 1 other

Managed by: Randy Stebbing
Last Updated:

About John Ford

John Ford (February 1, 1894 – August 31, 1973) was an American film director. He was famous for both his westerns such as Stagecoach, The Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and adaptations of such classic 20th-century American novels as The Grapes of Wrath. His four Academy Awards for Best Director (1935, 1940, 1941, 1952) is a record, and one of those films, How Green Was My Valley, also won Best Picture.

In a career that spanned more than 50 years, Ford directed more than 140 films (although nearly all of his silent films are now lost) and he is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers of his generation. Ford's films and personality were held in high regard by his colleagues, with Ingmar Bergman and Orson Welles among those who have named him as one of the greatest directors of all time.

In particular, Ford was a pioneer of location shooting and the long shot which frames his characters against a vast, harsh and rugged natural terrain.

Ford was born John Martin "Jack" Feeney (though he later often gave his given names as Sean Aloysius, sometimes with surname O'Feeny or O'Fearna; an Irish language equivalent of Feeney) in Cape Elizabeth, Maine to John Augustine Feeney and Barbara "Abbey" Curran, on February 1, 1894 (though he occasionally said 1895 and that date is erroneously inscribed on his tombstone). His father, John Augustine, was born in Spiddal, County Galway, Ireland in 1854. Barbara Curran had been born in the Aran Islands, in the town of Kilronan on the island of Inishmore (Inis Mór). John A. Feeney's grandmother, Barbara Morris, was said to be a member of a local (impoverished) gentry family, the Morrises of Spiddal, headed at present by Lord Killanin.

John Augustine and Barbara Curran arrived in Boston and Portland respectively within a few days of each other in May and June 1872. They were married in 1875, and became American citizens five years later on September 11, 1880. They had eleven children: Mamie (Mary Agnes), born 1876; Delia (Edith), 1878–1881; Patrick; Francis Ford, 1881–1953; Bridget, 1883–1884; Barbara, born and died 1888; Edward, born 1889; Josephine, born 1891; Hannah (Joanna), born and died 1892; John Martin, 1894–1973; and Daniel, born and died 1896 (or 1898). John Augustine lived in the Munjoy Hill neighborhood of Portland, Maine with his family, and would try farming, fishing, working for the gas company, running a saloon, and being an alderman.

Feeney attended Portland High School, Portland, Maine. He moved to California and began acting and working in film production for his older brother Francis in 1914, taking "Jack Ford" as a stage name. In addition to credited roles, he appeared uncredited as a Klansman in D.W. Griffith's 1915 classic, The Birth of a Nation, as the man who lifts up one side of his hood so he can see clearly. He married Mary McBryde Smith, on July 3, 1920, and they had two children. His daughter Barbara was married to singer and actor Ken Curtis from 1952 to 1964. The Ford marriage lasted until his death, although he had many extramarital relationships.

Directing career

Personality and directing style

Awards and Honors

Politics and Influence

John Ford Ireland


American Director. Born John Martin Feeney, he directed nearly 150 films in a career that spanned more than 50 years and is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers of all-time. He is best known for his Westerns and for pioneering the 'long shot' and location shooting. Ford, who served in the U.S. Navy during WWII and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds he received during combat, won four Academy Awards for Best Director for 'The Informer' (1935), 'The Grapes of Wrath' (1940), 'How Green Was My Valley' (1941) and 'The Quiet Man'. He also won two Oscars for Best Documentary, 'The Battle of Midway' (1941) and 'December 7th' (1943). One of his most notable features is that he used a 'stock company' of actors, far more so than any other director. Among stars who appeared in at least two or more of his films, include John Wayne, Harry Carey, Sr., Henry Fonda, James Stewart, Maureen O'Hara, Richard Widmark, Victor McLaglen and Jeffrey Hunter. In 1973, he received the American Film Institutes first-ever Lifetime Acheivement Award and The Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-president Richard Nixon. Ford, who along with Frank Capra and John Huston were featured on a U.S. Postal Stamp in 2012, died after a battle with cancer. (bio by: [fg.cgi?page=mr&MRid=46599444" target="_blank Louis du Mort)] Cause of death: Cancer Inscription: Portland ME.-Hollywood Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 01, 2001

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John Ford's Timeline

February 1, 1894
Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland County, Maine, United States
August 31, 1973
Age 79
Palm Desert, Riverside County, California, United States
Holy Cross Cemetery (Plot M L304 5), Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, United States