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Harrison Ford’s Younger Women

Harrison Ford‘s krazy-hair appearance at the Oscars has us thinking about his leading-man status.

Harrison Ford was born in 1942, so he’ll be straining the actuarial charts as a swashbuckler in this summer’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

But the new Indiana Jones film will be a milestone in another way: With Karen Allen returning as Marion Ravenwood, this will be the first time in eons that Ford’s had a leading lady within a decade of his own age.

Here’s the tally of his last eight leading ladies:

Virginia Madsen, b. 1963    (Firewall, 2006)
Lena Olin, b. 1956    (Hollywood Homicide, 2003)
Michelle Pfeiffer, b. 1958    (What Lies Beneath, 2000)
Kristin Scott Thomas, b. 1960    (Random Hearts, 1999)
Anne Heche, b. 1969    (Six Days Seven Nights, 1998)
Wendy Crewson, b. 1956    (Air Force One, 1997)
Margaret Colin, b. 1957    (The Devil’s Own, 1997)
Julia Ormond, b. 1965    (Sabrina, 1996)

Well, we should all be so lucky. And we all know Hollywood; Zac Efron won’t be romancing Judi Dench onscreen anytime soon.

Still, it’s been awkward to watch the scriptwriters strain to make it all work for Ford, with the self-deprecatory age wisecracks scripted carefully in. Hollywood Homicide finally gave up on even that, putting him in a cockeyed patrolman’s hat and having him chomp donuts in bed during jokey Mature Congress with Lena Olin. Ai! If Ford doesn’t deserve better, Lena Olin certainly does.

Karen Allen was born in 1951, was grand in the original Raiders of the Lost Ark (don’t get us started about Kate Capshaw), and has a whole different post-Raiders career from Ford. She picked quirky films like Shoot the Moon and Scrooged (she was Bill Murray‘s girlfriend in the latter) and played small New Englander parts in The Perfect Storm and In the Bedroom. For the last few years she’s been ignoring Hollywood entirely and making some very nice scarves in western Massachusetts.

Our hopes aren’t high (to be frank) for the new Indiana Jones movie, but they’re high for Ms. Allen — and for the coming post-leading-man phase of Ford’s career, where he can wear his hair as krazy as he likes. (It worked for Walter Brennan, after all.) Good luck, Harry!

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