Actor / Producer / Director
Ford Austin is a direct descendant of Stephen F. Austin. He attributes growing up in Oklahoma and Texas as the reason he is able to stay grounded in reality while working in Hollywood. As a child, Ford’s father produced a feature film called 30 Dangerous Seconds and cast a one year-old Austin in the movie. For the remainder of his childhood, Ford continued to act in smaller roles through college when he attended Oklahoma City University and graduated with a BA in Theater. While in Oklahoma, he performed in Woman in Mind, The Learned Ladies, Romeo and Juliet (Oklahoma Shakespeare), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (The Pollard), The Elephant Man (won best supporting actor) and Voice in The Dark. In his fourth year, Ford attended the U.R.T.A.s in Chicago and as the result of an intense audition process in front or 150 organizations, Ford was passed onto the finals where he received 16 full scholarships for Universities across the country. He chose Temple University where he received a Professional Teacher Acting Scholarship for a 3-year MFA program where he studied Shakespeare, Shepard, Beckett, Tennessee Williams, Pinter, Mamet and many more. Ford Austin is certified in stage combat (rapier and dagger, hand-to-hand, quarterstaff) and has studied Suzuki Method, Stanislavski, Meisner and Grotowski. While in Philadelphia, he performed in the The Tempest, The Hostage, The Foreigner, The Homecoming, The Grapes of Wrath, Macbeth, and The Servant of Two Masters.
After receiving an MFA in Acting from Temple University, Ford moved to New York City where he performed in Death of a Salesman with Ralph Waite (Papermill Playhouse), Lawyers with Kevin Conway (Westport Country Playhouse), Treasure Island with BH Barry (Pirate Playhouse) and several off-off broadway plays. Ford also performed on “Saturday Night Live” with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt and had a recurring role on “Another World” for NBC Television.
Once “Another World” went off the air, Ford moved to Los Angeles where he hoped to use his New York stage training in motion pictures. Ford’s first step in LA was to audition for The Groundlings where he studied improvisation under Jim Rash, Patrick Bristow and Chase Winton. After that, he landed a part in Disney’s Pearl Harbor when Michael Bay handpicked him to play one of the legendary Doolittle Raiders alongside Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Alec Baldwin, Kim Coates and Michael Shannon. When he returned from location, Ford booked a lead role in Family Tree, the live action debut of SHREK and Sharktale director Vicky Jenson. The movie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, featured Ford Austin opposite Harland Williams, Talia Shire, Ethan Phillips, Gretchen German, Jackie Katzman and Alix Koromzay. Family Tree became a darling of the festival circuit where it won the Jury prize at SXSW and qualified for The Academy Awards.
Following Pearl Harbor and Family Tree, Ford started to write and direct his own short film for the festival circuit. His first few films included The Layoff, which was written and starring fellow Groundling Kurt Long; Soiree, Austin’s first award-winning film, and Ford Austin’s cult classic Cerebral Print: The Secret Files, which won the Grassroots Cinema “Monty Python Award for Comedic Excellence. The success of these movies gave Ford all the encouragement he needed and soon he was hired to direct feature films for a living such as The Curse of Lizzie Borden, Attitude for Destruction, Gothic Vampires from Hell, COMMUTE, Falling Down and Dahmer vs Gacy, all of which are available in Best Buy, Fry’s, Family Video, Netflix, ITunes and more.
In 2003, Ford took a break from filmmaking to star in the national tour of the one man show “Male Intellect: An Oxymoron.” After a year on the road in theaters in Arizona, Florida and California, Ford returned to Hollywood where he wrote, directed and starred in the Channel 101 series “The Wright Stuff” working side-by-side with his partners Scott Ingalls and Tomas Arceo. Then he wrote and directed Tiny Dancer which won the Southern California Motion Picture Council’s Golden Halo Award and became Ford’s second film to qualify for the Academy Awards Live Action Short category. The attention he received from Tiny Dancer led to a pitch meeting at Paramount Studios where Ford sold an original idea for a TV show called “Judge by Jury” to CBS/Paramount Television Studios which went to pilot. About this time, Ford was approached by Stephen Chao (“COPS,” “America’s Most Wanted”) and Mike Goedecke (“Belief”) to serve as Vice President of Original Content and launch the wildly successful How To website WonderHowTo.com where he co-wrote, produced, codirected and starred in over 200 viral videos to market the company. On the day of launch, the site had 90,000 unique users and by the time Ford went back to making feature films a year later, they had built their users to 2 million uniques. Ford Austin is still part owner of WonderHowTo.com and uses the site frequently as a resource for everything from acting tips to tying his bowtie on New Years Eve.
On March 9th, 2011 Ford Austin was in a catastrophic car accident while coming home from his office at The Lot in Hollywood, California. The accident was so severe, doctors gave him a 1% chance of survival and placed him in a medically induced coma for two weeks so his body could heal. At the time of the accident, he was working on several feature films: The Ghostmaker (LionsGate Films), The Right to Love: An American Family (Snag Films), Radical (George Cameron Romero), and Morella. All filming stopped so Ford, with his wife Lauree Dash by his side, could relearn to walk, speak, eat, breathe and become independent once again. As he worked to recover, Ford produced The Right To Love from his hospital bed and attended both the cast and crew screening at Skywalker Ranch and New York City premieres on crutches.
After three years, 30 surgeries, 12 months in a wheelchair, seven hospitalizations on two coasts and $6.5 million dollars in hospital bills, Ford Austin is back to work in Los Angeles as an actor and since his recovery, Ford has starred in a campaigns for Cadillac, Downy fabric softener, played starring roles in the feature films Heels and Six Pack Sam, shot a role in the Brian Gallivan pilot for ABC called “Bambi Cottages” with Molly Shannon and Paul F. Thompkins, and auditioned to become a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio where he is learning to act again with Martin Landau, Mark Rydell Lou Antonio, Lisa Richards, Cathleen Leslie and James DiStefano. Ford, along with his wife, Emmy award-winning producer Lauree Dash, are also very involved in the charity Artists For Trauma, which helps victims of trauma overcome adversity through artistic endeavors.