Francis Ford (born Francis Feeney, August 14, 1881 –
September 5, 1953) was a prolific film actor, writer, and director. He was the
mentor and elder brother of film director John Ford. He also appeared in many
of John Ford's movies, including Young Mr. Lincoln and The Quiet Man.
Francis Ford was born in Portland, Maine. He was the son of
John A. Feeney, who was born in the village of Spiddal, County Galway, Ireland,
on June 15, 1854. By 1878, John had moved to Portland, Maine and opened a saloon,
at 42 Center Street, that used a false front to pose as grocery store. John
opened four others in following years.
After service in the infantry in the Spanish-American War,
Francis left home. He drifted into the film business in New York City, working
for David Horsley, Al Christie, and the Star Film Company's San Antonio
operation under Gaston Méliès. He adopted the name Ford from the automobile.
From San Antonio Francis began his Hollywood career working for Thomas H. Ince
at Ince's Bison studio, directing and appearing in westerns.
Francis Ford's younger brother, John M. Feeney, was a
successful fullback and defensive tackle on a Portland High state championship
football team, nicknamed "Bull". In 1914 Bull followed Francis to
Hollywood, changed his name to John Ford and would eventually surpass his elder
brother's considerable reputation.
Francis Ford's son, Philip Ford, was also a film