Harrison Ford was born on July 13, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, to Dorothy (Nidelman), a radio actress, and Christopher Ford (born John William Ford), an actor turned advertising executive. His father had Irish and German ancestry, and his maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from the Russian Empire. He was a lackluster student at Maine Township High School East in Park Ridge Illinois (no athletic star, never above a C average). After dropping out of Ripon College in Wisconsin, where he did some acting and later summer stock, he signed a Hollywood contract with Columbia and later Universal. His roles in movies and television (Ironside (1967), The Virginian (1962)) remained secondary and, discouraged, he turned to a career in professional carpentry. He came back big four years later, however, as Bob Falfa in American Graffiti (1973). Four years after that, he hit colossal with the role of Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). Another four years and Ford was Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).