An old-school movie star in the contemporary age of cinema, Ford's rise to megastardom was the antithesis of overnight success. During the '60s the twentysomething player tackled bit parts in film and on TV but by the end of that decade, he was so frustrated with his lack of progress that he abandoned the biz and switched his focus to carpentry. (One of his projects was the entrance to Francis Ford Coppola's offices. The director later cast him in his films The Conversation and Apocalypse Now.) In the '70s Ford resumed his quest for acting success and soon landed a meaty role in George Lucas' 1973 nostalgia-fest American Graffiti. Finally a working actor (though by no means a name), he had turned in solid work in a string of supporting parts when Lucas asked if Ford could help out at an audition for his new project, a sci-fi saga called Star Wars, by reading the part of Han Solo opposite potential Luke Skywalkers. With his rugged good looks, laid-back attitude and innate comic timing, Ford perfectly embodied the lone laser-slinger, and Lucas eventually offered him the breakthrough role. Suddenly the Force seemed to be with Ford as he proceeded to become one of the most bankable stars ever. In addition to the Star Wars franchise, he launched the Indiana Jones movies after Tom Selleck was forced to turn down the part. And in the '90s he took over the role of CIA agent Jack Ryan from Alec Baldwin in two film adaptations of Tom Clancy novels. Along the way, Ford tackled more challenging fare: He earned his sole Oscar nod as a hard-bitten cop trying to protect an Amish boy in Witness, played an obsessive inventor in Mosquito Coast and embodied a noirish antihero in Blade Runner. But audiences preferred Ford as an uncomplicated, manly hero, the kind guys want to be and gals want to be with. Off screen, Ford led a very quiet life with his second wife, E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison (his marriage to his college sweetheart ended in divorce in the late '70s), eschewing the media except when forced to promote one of his projects. In the '90s Ford, now in his 50s, slowed down his pace by appearing in one big-budget flick per year. Some were hits (The Fugitive, Air Force One), but when he deviated from the formula (the romantic comedy Six Days Seven Nights, the historic thriller K-19: The Widowmaker, in which he sported an unconvincing Russian accent), he foundered. After his second marriage fell apart, he began a long-term relationship with actress Calista Flockhart, 22 years his junior, in 2002. Several years later, Ford's fans rejoiced when he finally agreed to return to the role of everyone's favorite archaeologist in 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.