Harrison Ford Statue in Chicago Rejected Over ‘1923’ Star’s Memories of Being Bullied

by Alex Falls

A Chicago suburb has voted against a proposal to install a statue of actor Harrison Ford. The legendary actor was born in the city and attended high school in the area where organizers were hoping to build the statue.

Alderman for the Park Ridge, Illinois city council, Harmony Harrington, expressed concern over the cost of the statue. She also noted the pitch came from an organization that resided outside the city and the uncertainty that Ford would actually appreciate the recognition.

Although Ford attended Maine East High School in Park Ridge, there’s no lost love for the town. In an interview in 2017, Ford described his bullying encounters while going to school. On his walks home, he’d often encounter older bullies.

“So I was the new kid, and I was kind of short and geeky, I guess,” Ford said. “I’d come up the hill, and then they pushed me down the hill, and I’d come up the hill, and if there was enough time they’d push me down the hill again.”

Harrison Ford’s Feelings About His Hometown

All in all, Ford said thinking about his past does not bother him. He noted he doesn’t have any “emotional attachment” to the events of his childhood from bullying. He said at time, he was more focused on girls showing sympathy for him because of the bullying.

Park Ridge Mayor Marty Maloney noted these sentiments from Ford as hesitation to raise a memorial for him in the town he no longer feels connected to.

“Based on some things I’ve heard just through Park Ridge lore about Harrison Ford and leaving Park Ridge, I would just want to make sure he was comfortable with what we’re doing if we’re taking that step on this,” Maloney said.

The pitch for the statue came from Omri Amrany. The artist owns Rotblatt Amrany in Highwood, Illinois. He’s behind the statues of other celebrities like Michael Jordan at the United Center in Chicago, Magic Johnson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and Napolean Dynamite outside 20th Century Studios in LA.

“He has an enormous fan base and it’s easy to imagine people from nearby communities stopping by to have their picture taken with a sculpture,” Amrany said to the city council. 

Amrany argued the statue could increase tourism to the area. But Harrington expressed concern that the pitch did not come from a local business. Nor does it have backing from the community.

“I know we were approached from a very reputable fine art studio with perhaps greater vision than some of us have about what this could be for our town,” Harrington said. “But for me, I’d love to see projects like this come from the ground up; that means that the public and others are really invested in wanting this.”