Log In

Paul Ford Edit Profile


Paul Ford was an American character actor who came to specialize in authority figures whose ineptitude and pompous demeanor were played for comic effect.


Ford, Paul was born on November 2, 1901 in Baltimore. Son of Louis Clarence and Effie (Ford) Weaver.


Broadway appearances include Decision, Another Part of the Forest, Command Decision, Thurber Carnival, Teahouse of the August Moon, Never Too Late, Three Bags Full. Motion picture appearances include House on 92d Street, The Matchmaker, Teahouse of the August Moon, Advise and Consent, Music Man, Never Too Late, Big Hand for the Little Lady, The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, The Comedians. Various television appearances, including The Bilko Show, others.

President Grandandy Prodns., Inc., New York City, 1964-1976.


At an early 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, but did not get the part. Later, he dropped his surname and was known professionally as Paul Ford.

Ford became an "overnight" success at age 54 when he played Colonel John T. Hall opposite Phil Silvers on Silvers' The Phil Silvers Show TV show (often known as Sergeant Bilko or just Bilko). 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.

The other role he is most identified with is that of Horace Vandergelder opposite the Dolly Levi of Shirley Booth in the 1958 screen version of The Matchmaker. Ford had an active career in both films and television until his retirement in the early 1970s. Despite being a respected Broadway character actor, Ford was notorious for being unable to remember his lines.

This would alternately cause difficulty forcing him and those around him to improvise. This became especially notable on The Phil Silvers Show. He appeared in the 1962–1963 season in the CBS anthology The Lloyd Bridges Show.

He starred in The Baileys of Balboa, which lasted only one season (1964–1965). His stage credits include Another Part of the Forest (1946), Command Decision (1947), The Teahouse of the August Moon (1953), Whoop-Up (1958), replacing David Burns as Mayor Shinn in The Music Man (1957), A Thurber Carnival (1960), Never Too Late , 3 Bags Full (1966), and What Did We Do Wrong? (1967). 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, "My kids used to think everyone lived on peanut butter sandwiches." Paul Ford died of a heart attack at age 74 in 1976. His final role prior to his death was a Washington Doctor in Richard.


Member Actors Equity (past. Club: Players (New York City).


Married Nell Campbell, December 27, 1924. Children: Paul, Jean (Mistress Harold Priest), Katherine (deceased), Lois A. Goehrig, Donald.

Louis Clarence Weaver

Effie (Ford) Weaver

Nell Campbell

Katherine Ford (deceased)

Paul Ford

Donald Ford

Lois A. Goehrig Ford

Jean Ford (Mistress Harold Priest)