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Harrison Ford was told to change his name, but had the best response

Early on in his career, Star Wars legend Harrison Ford was told to change his name and look in order to break through. He ignored the advice in the best way.

Harrison Ford in Witness

Is there a single name in Hollywood that rolls off the tongue quite as well as Harrison Ford? Perhaps he has challengers in the form of Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Marlon Brando, and Keanu Reeves, but you simply can’t get away from the fact that Harrison Ford is the epitome of cool, and possibly the single greatest movie star name ever.

You undoubtedly agree. It’ll surprise you, then, to learn that early on in his career while Harrison Ford was still trying to break through (before he made all his best movies like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Blade Runner), the actor was told by an executive named Jerry Tarkovsky that he needed to change his name if he were to stand a chance.

Tarkovsky advised that Ford, one of the best actors of his generation and an Oscar nominee, go to the barbershop to get a haircut like Elvis, and come up with a snappier name. Ford recalled to GQ that he was told his own name sounded too “pretentious.” He explained, “They said, ‘Harrison Ford is not a good name for you.'”

Of course, Ford being Ford he decided to play by his own rules, and essentially ignore Tarkovsky’s nonsense advice. He didn’t get his hair cut and instead conjured up the “stupidest name I could think of,” eventually landing on the name: Kurt Affair. Explaining his thinking, Ford said, “I was just fucking with them. Because they were fucking with me.”

You can watch Ford explain the situation to Conan O’Brien below:

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After years as a struggling, unknown actor, Ford finally got his big hit with Star Wars where he took on a leading role as unarguably the best Star Wars character ever, Han Solo. Since then, he hasn’t looked back and has dominated Hollywood with his roles in high-quality blockbusters, and he isn’t slowing down.