Glenn Ford died yesterday at his home in Beverly Hills; the actor was 90.
He turned 90 on May 1, the day the American Cinematheque held a star-studded birthday celebration, tribute and screening of Gilda in his honor -- I went and wrote this. Although Glenn had initially planned to attend, he sent a video greeting instead. He rested on a couch and looked awfully frail.
One of the beautiful things about old movies is they're so gorgeous and, if cared for, will last forever. So Glenn Ford lives: you can watch Superman to see him at 60-something, The Courtship of Eddie's Father to see him at 40-something, or The Blackboard Jungle to see him at 30-something.
In The Big Heat he's a good guy, in Gilda he's a kinda bad guy. Ford was too good an actor to become an icon; he didn't develop a persona, didn't stick to one kind of character or even one kind of movie. He did westerns and comedies and army movies and (my favorite) noirs. I'm going to my first noir class today; I hope we take a break from theory to appreciate the genius of his self-loathing Johnny Farrell in Gilda.