Born Paul Ford Weaver
November 2, 1901(1901-11-02)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Died April 12, 1976 (aged 74)
Mineola, Long Island, New York, U.S.
Paul Ford (November 2, 1901 – April 12, 1976), born Paul Ford Weaver, was an American actor born in Baltimore, Maryland.
Ford was a well-known character actor who came to specialize in authority figures whose ineptitude and pompous demeanor were played for comic effect. Ford became an "overnight" success at age 54 when he had the role of Colonel Hall opposite Phil Silvers on Silvers' Sergeant Bilko TV show. His signature role may well be the part of Mayor George Shinn, a befuddled politico in the film adaptation of the Broadway show The Music Man. Ford played the role straight, and received glowing reviews. Ford had an active career in both films and television until his retirement in the early 1970s.
Early life and acting career
At a young age, he showed an adept talent for performance, but was discouraged when directors thought he was tone-deaf. However, in later years, he made his hollow, reverberating voice one of the most recognized of his era. His success was long in the making, and he did little acting, but instead raised his family during the Great Depression.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Public Works programs provided Ford with work, and to the day he died he was a passionate Democrat. Ford auditioned for a play under his birth name, and didn't get the part, so he dropped his surname Weaver and became Paul Ford.
His feature film credits include The Matchmaker, Perfect Strangers, The Music Man, Advise and Consent, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (which also starred Phil Silvers, although they shared no scenes).
Most actors who worked with Ford claimed he was a kindly and very funny man. He was known for his quotes about the Depression in later years, including his most famous: "My kids used to think everyone lived on peanut butter sandwiches".
Paul Ford died, aged 74, after suffering a massive heart attack at his home in Mineola, Long Island, New York in 1976.
Ford was cremated, and his ashes were given to his family.