biography

Born in The Bronx on July 1, 1923, actress Constance Ford attended St. Barnabas High School, a Catholic girls school in New York, during the depths of the Great Depression. Following graduation, she began modeling for the Harry Conover modeling agency while a student at Hunter College. She made quite a splash when cosmetics firm Elizabeth Arden used a photo of Ford posed with the American flag in an advertising campaign for Arden's "Victory Red" lipstick in 1942. After completing her studies at Hunter College in 1945, she studied drama at the famed HB Studio in New York, which at the time had just opened. After several years of stage work, Ford made her Broadway debut in February 1949 as Miss Forsythe, a prostitute, in the original production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, which ran for 740 performances.

Finding work on early New York-based television programs while acting onstage, in 1952 she was cast alongside James Dean in the Broadway production See the Jaguar, but the drama closed after only five performances. Ford then concentrated on television, acting in a number of popular New York-based programs such as Lights Out and Suspense. In 1954, she accepted the lead role in the short-lived CBS daytime drama Woman with a Past (1954) on which Ford portrayed a young mother whose past involved an illegitimate daughter, but the series was canceled after just seven months. During the following year, she was cast on another CBS daytime drama, Search for Tomorrow, staying on for about a year. As soap operas were broadcast live until the late 1960s, Ford's stage training made her a natural in the genre. Moving on to bigger things, her first theatrically released film was the MGM western The Last Hunt (1956; with Robert Taylor and Stewart Granger), shot in South Dakota. After a few more films, including the B western The Iron Sheriff (1957; with Sterling Hayden) the B drama Bailout at 43,000 (1957; with John Payne) and a couple of Broadway plays, Ford set her sights on Hollywood.

Constance FordConstance FordConstance Ford

LEFT: Mid 1950s portrait. CENTER: Glamorous early 1960s photo. RIGHT: A 1968 shot of Ford from the NBC series Another World

In her mid 30s and no longer a Broadway ingenue, the still-glamorous Ford made a go of it in Hollywood in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Her best role came in the Warner Bros. potboiler A Summer Place (1959; with Richard Egan and Troy Donahue). Her outstanding performance as Sandra Dee's bitter, hateful mother got her noticed, and she landed a number of other good film roles. Her early 1960s output includes another turn as a prostitute in MGM's Home from the Hill (1960; with Robert Mitchum and Eleanor Parker), the Warner Bros. romance Rome Adventure (1962; with Troy Donahue and Suzanne Pleshette), and the 20th Century Fox thriller The Cabinet of Caligari (1962; with Glynis Johns and Dan O'Herlihy). With the end of her association with Warner Bros. in 1963, she decided to return to her native New York and take another stab at Broadway in the comedic play Nobody Loves an Albatross, in which Ford portrays a ruthless actress, actually a thinly veiled version of Lucille Ball. After 212 performances, the play closed. Ford's career in films, television, and on the stage slammed to a halt in the mid 1960s. While she had worked extensively in television, guest-starring on numerous programs from 1950 through the early 1960s, even these roles dried up. In 1967, needing work, she took the role of Ada Lucas, an impoverished hairdresser whose daughter, Rachel, climbed the social ladder into a life of wealth and privilege, on the NBC daytime drama Another World. At the time, Another World was in danger of cancellation, and Ford, along with Robin Strasser in the role of Rachel, was credited with rescuing the show.

the films of constance ford

Climax! (1954–1958 CBS TV Series)

Constance Ford

From a 1956 episode of the CBS anthology series Climax! titled The Chinese Game

The Iron Sheriff (1957)

Kathleen Nolan, Darryl Hickman, Sterling Hayden, and Constance Ford

With Kathleen Nolan, Darryl Hickman, and Sterling Hayden in the western The Iron Sheriff

A Summer Place (1959)

Dorothy McGuire, Troy Donahue, Constance Ford, Arthur Kennedy, Sandra Dee, and Richard EganConstance Ford and Sandra Dee

LEFT: From the Warner Bros. romance A Summer Place with Dorothy McGuire, Troy Donahue, Arthur Kennedy, Sandra Dee, and Richard Egan. RIGHT: Ford turns in an excellent performance as Sandra Dee's frigid, tyrannical mother

Home from the Hill (1960)

Constance Ford and George HamiltonRobert Mitchum, George Peppard, and Constance Ford

LEFT: From MGM's drama Home from the Hill with George Hamilton. RIGHT: With Robert Mitchum and George Peppard

The Untouchables (1959-1963 ABC TV Series)

Lee Marvin and Constance Ford

From a 1961 episode of ABC's The Untouchables titled The Nick Acropolis Story with Lee Marvin

Claudelle Inglish (1961)

Constance Ford and Diane McBain

With Diane McBain in the Warner Bros. drama Claudelle Inglish

Surfside 6 (1960-1962 ABC TV Series)

Troy Donahue and Constance Ford

From a 1961 episode of the ABC series Surfside 6 titled Little Star Lost. Also pictured is Troy Donahue

Alcoa Premiere (1961-1963 ABC TV Series)

Constance Ford and Edward Andrews

With Edward Andrews in a 1962 episode of Alcoa Premiere titled It Takes a Thief

The Cabinet of Caligari (1962)

Constance Ford, Dan O'Herlihy, and Glynis Johns

With Dan O'Herlihy and Glynis Johns in the 20th Century Fox thriller The Cabinet of Caligari, a remake of the classic 1920 German horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

House of Women (1962)

Barbara Nichols, Constance Ford, and Shirley KnightConstance Ford

LEFT: With Barbara Nichols and Shirley Knight in the campy Warner Bros. prison drama House of Women. RIGHT: Ford as inmate Sophie Brice

Rome Adventure (1962)

Suzanne Pleshette and Constance Ford

With Suzanne Pleshette in the Warner Bros. romance Rome Adventure

The Caretakers (1963)

Constance Ford and Polly BergenConstance Ford and Van Williams

LEFT: As Nurse Bracken, Ford wrestles with Polly Bergen in the drama The Caretakers. RIGHT: With Van Williams

Another World (1964–1999 NBC TV Series)

Constance Ford

A 1975 promotional photo of Constance Ford as Ada Lucas from the long-running NBC daytime drama Another World. Ford was a cast member from 1967 to 1992

later years

Soon after Ford signed on to portray Ada Lucas on NBC's long-running Another World, the show became that network's highest-rated drama, thanks to Ford's intensity and a great storyline created around her character. She made only one more film, John Frankenheimer's comedy/adventure 99 and 44/100% Dead (1974; with Richard Harris, Bradford Dillman, and Chuck Connors). Otherwise, Ford stayed with the role until 1992, when illness prevented her from continuing. Constance Ford passed away on February 26, 1993 at age 69, after a bout with cancer. She was survived by her niece, screenwriter Katie Ford.

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filmography

FILM
99 and 44/100% Dead (1974) with Richard Harris, Chuck Connors, Edmond O'Brien, Bradford Dillman, and Ann Turkel
The Caretakers (1963) with Robert Stack, Polly Bergen, Diane McBain, Joan Crawford, Janis Paige, and Van Williams
Shoot Out at Big Sag (1962) with Walter Brennan, Luana Patten, Chris Robinson, Leif Erickson, Les Tremayne, and Virginia Gregg
The Cabinet of Caligari (1962) with Glynis Johns, Dan O'Herlihy, Richard Davalos, J. Pat O'Malley, Vicki Trickett, and Estelle Winwood
House of Women (1962) with Shirley Knight, Andrew Duggan, Barbara Nichols, Margaret Hayes, Jeanne Cooper, Virginia Gregg, and Jason Evers
All Fall Down (1962) with Eva Marie Saint, Warren Beatty, Karl Malden, Angela Lansbury, and Brandon De Wilde
Rome Adventure (1962) with Troy Donahue, Angie Dickinson, Rossano Brazzi, Suzanne Pleshette, and Chad Everett
Claudelle Inglish (1961) with Diane McBain, Arthur Kennedy, Will Hutchins, Claude Akins, Chad Everett, and Ford Rainey
Home from the Hill (1960) with Robert Mitchum, Eleanor Parker, George Peppard, George Hamilton, and Luana Patten
A Summer Place (1959) with Richard Egan, Dorothy McGuire, Sandra Dee, Arthur Kennedy, and Troy Donahue
Bailout at 43,000 (1957) with John Payne, Karen Steele, Paul Kelly, and Richard Crane
The Iron Sheriff (1957) with Sterling Hayden, John Dehner, Kent Taylor, Darryl Hickman, and Walter Sande
The Last Hunt (1956) with Robert Taylor, Stewart Granger, Lloyd Nolan, Debra Paget, and Russ Tamblyn
Span of Time (1953) with Edwin Cooper and Rusty Lane

TELEVISION SERIES
Another World, 1964-1999 NBC daytime drama. Ford portrayed Ada Lucas from 1967 to 1992
The Edge of Night, 1956–1984 CBS/ABC daytime drama. Ford portrayed Eve Morris from 1964 to 1965
Search for Tomorrow, 1951–1986 CBS/NBC daytime drama. Ford portrayed Rose Peterson from 1955 to 1956
Woman with a Past, 1954 CBS daytime drama. Ford portrayed Lynn Sherwood for the series run

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
Shane, episode The Great Invasion: Part 1, originally aired December 17, 1966
Temple Houston, episode The Dark Madonna, originally aired December 26, 1963
East Side/West Side, episode No Hiding Place, originally aired December 2, 1963
Twilight Zone, episode Uncle Simon, originally aired November 15, 1963
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Shifty Shoebox, originally aired October 3, 1963
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Potted Planter, originally aired May 9, 1963
Dr. Kildare, episode The Great Guy, originally aired January 17, 1963
The Dakotas, episode Red Sky Over Bismarck, originally aired January 14, 1963
Rawhide, episode Incident of the Buryin' Man, originally aired January 4, 1963
Sam Benedict, episode Nothing Equals Nothing, originally aired October 6, 1962
Alcoa Premiere, episode It Takes a Thief, originally aired June 19, 1962
Target: The Corruptors, episode A Book of Faces, originally aired April 27, 1962
Gunsmoke, episode Wagon Girls, originally aired April 7, 1962
Frontier Circus, episode Naomi Champagne, originally aired March 29, 1962
Adventures in Paradise, episode The Dream Merchant, originally aired March 18, 1962
Target: The Corruptors, episode One for the Road, originally aired January 12, 1962
Naked City, episode A Wednesday Night Story, originally aired November 1, 1961
87th Precinct, episode Lady in Waiting, originally aired October 2, 1961
The Untouchables, episode The Nick Acropolis Story, originally aired June 1, 1961
'Way Out, episode I Heard You Calling Me, originally aired May 5, 1961
The Deputy, episode The Lonely Road, originally aired February 18, 1961
Outlaws, episode The Waiting Game, originally aired January 19, 1961
Wanted: Dead or Alive, episode The Last Retreat, originally aired January 11, 1961
Surfside 6, episode Little Star Lost, originally aired January 2, 1961
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, episode Outlaw in Town, originally aired November 15, 1960
Thriller, episode Worse Than Murder, originally aired September 27, 1960
Thriller, episode The Twisted Image, originally aired September 13, 1960
Bat Masterson, episode Stage to Nowhere, originally aired April 14, 1960
Law of the Plainsman, episode Rabbit's Fang, originally aired March 24, 1960
Tombstone Territory, episode Silver Killers, originally aired February 26, 1960
State Trooper, episode And Baby Makes Two, originally aired June 4, 1959
Bat Masterson, episode Lottery of Death, originally aired May 13, 1959
Father Knows Best, episode An Extraordinary Woman, originally aired March 23, 1959
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Deadly Double, originally aired March 1, 1958
Have Gun - Will Travel, episode The Bostonian, originally aired February 1, 1958
The Phil Silvers Show, episode Bilko and the Flying Saucers, originally aired December 31, 1957
Climax!, episode Murder Has a Deadline, originally aired November 28, 1957
Trackdown, episode Self-Defense, originally aired November 22, 1957
The 20th Century-Fox Hour, episode Man of the Law, originally aired June 2, 1957
The Phil Silvers Show, episode Bilko the Marriage Broker, originally aired April 30, 1957
Studio One in Hollywood, episode Eight Feet to Midnight, originally aired April 29, 1957
Playhouse 90, episode The Comedian, originally aired February 14, 1957
Studio 57, episode The Big Leap, originally aired January 20, 1957
Gunsmoke, episode Poor Pearl, originally aired December 22, 1956
Climax!, episode The Chinese Game, originally aired November 22, 1956
Zane Grey Theater, episode Lariat, originally aired November 2, 1956
Matinee Theatre, episode The Alumni Reunion, originally aired September 26, 1956
The Millionaire, episode The Anna Hartley Story, originally aired September 26, 1956
Schlitz Playhouse, episode Strange Defense, originally aired August 24, 1956
Lux Video Theatre, episode No One to Cry With, originally aired July 19, 1956
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, episode The Creeper, originally aired June 17, 1956
Climax!, episode Sit Down with Death, originally aired April 26, 1956
Armstrong Circle Theatre, episode A Baby Named X, originally aired April 3, 1956
Appointment with Adventure, episode A Thief There Was, originally aired March 18, 1956
The Phil Silvers Show, episode Mardi Gras, originally aired November 8, 1955
Studio One in Hollywood, episode The Tall Dark Stranger, originally aired July 25, 1955
Lux Video Theatre, episode Last Year's Snow, originally aired June 30, 1955
Goodyear Playhouse, episode Beloved Stranger, originally aired April 10, 1955
Cavalcade of America, episode Man on the Beat, originally aired March 15, 1955
Kraft Theatre, episode The Night Watcher, originally aired March 9, 1955
Ponds Theater, episode Anna Christie, originally aired March 3, 1955
Goodyear Playhouse, episode A Case of Pure Fiction, originally aired January 2, 1955
G.E. True Theater, episode The Dark, Dark Hours, originally aired December 12, 1954
Goodyear Playhouse, episode The Big Man on Campus, originally aired September 12, 1954
Studio One in Hollywood, episode Experiment Perilous, originally aired August 23, 1954
The Man Behind the Badge, episode The Case of the Gambling Lady, originally aired August 1, 1954
Inner Sanctum, episode Ghost Mail, originally aired June 12, 1954
Inner Sanctum, episode The Yellow Parakeet, originally aired February 27, 1954
Ponds Theater, episode Burlesque, originally aired January 14, 1954
Danger, episode Night of Reckoning, originally aired January 5, 1954
Kraft Theatre, episode A Cup of Kindness, originally aired December 30, 1953
The Philip Morris Playhouse, episode Journey to Nowhere, originally aired October 1, 1953
Kraft Theatre, episode Her Father's Butler, originally aired September 16, 1953
Kraft Theatre, episode The Blues for Joey Menotti, originally aired August 26, 1953
Studio One in Hollywood, episode The King in Yellow, originally aired July 27, 1953
Danger, episode Surface Tension, originally aired June 30, 1953
Plymouth Playhouse, episode Colonel Humphrey J. Flack, originally aired May 31, 1953
Danger, episode Jam Session, originally aired May 19, 1953
Danger, episode Last Stop Before Albany, originally aired May 5, 1953
Kraft Theatre, episode Hoodlums with a Halo, originally aired April 29, 1953
The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, episode The Recluse, originally aired April 12, 1953
Treasury Men in Action, episode The Case of the Grand Slam, originally aired April 2, 1953
The Web, episode The Patsy, originally aired February 15, 1953
The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, episode Elegy, originally aired January 25, 1953
Suspense, episode The Man in the Mirror, originally aired October 7, 1952
Lights Out, episode Twist of Fate, originally aired August 18, 1952
Goodyear Playhouse, episode The Dusty Drawer, originally aired August 3, 1952
Goodyear Playhouse, episode I Was Stalin's Prisoner, originally aired December 23, 1951
Armstrong Circle Theatre, episode Fog Station, originally aired November 6, 1951
Masterpiece Playhouse, episode The Rivals, originally aired August 6, 1950
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