11:08am PT by Ryan Parker
Harrison Ford Once Joked the Studio Executive Who Disliked His First Film Became His Butler
Everyone has to start somewhere, even the iconic Harrison Ford.
Before he was one of the most recognizable people on the planet, Ford was a contract actor who was paid $150 a week, beholden to Columbia Pictures to appear in whichever projects the studio mandated.
Ford, who turns 74 today, said in a 1984 interview, around the time Return of the Jedi was released, that his first, small performance as a bellboy in 1966's Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round did not go over well with a Columbia executive who called the then 22-year-old into his office to berate him.
"He called me into his office and said, 'I want to tell you a story, kid.' Kid, he always called me kid. He was about 15 minutes older that I was," Ford began. "He said, 'First time Tony Curtis was ever in a movie ... he delivered a bag of groceries, a bag of groceries, kid. And you took one look at that guy, and you knew that was a movie star.'"
Ford fired back: "Well I thought that was supposed to be a delivery boy!"
Ford was fired, he said.
Although Ford — most identifiable with the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises — has told that story of the sour encounter in previous talk show appearances, it was in the Jedi interview that he joked that the executive ended up working for him once he became a star.
At the end of Ford's story, the interviewer asks if he knows where that executive is now.
Ford looks around and responds, "Jerry, can we have some more coffee?"
Today, Ford is "out of town," celebrating his birthday, his rep told The Hollywood Reporter.
Watch the full 1984 interview below.