Deborah Smith Ford
Deborah Smith Ford (born Deborah Jean Smith July 10, 1950) is an American actress, author and celebrity tribute artist or impersonator. She gained fame for her starring role as Farmer Ford in TV and radio spots for the vitamin supplement Citracal.
Ford was born in Sodus, New York to Richard Charles Smith, a Chemical engineer and Betty Jane Pike, a former waitress and dental assistant. The family lived in Wolcott, New York on an apple farm. Ford's younger siblings include Matthew, Victoria, Walrod, Jacqueline, Pamela, Theresa and Daniel. Ford's maternal grandparents were Charles Pike, a farmer and Rebina Kennedy, a wife and mother. Ford's nationality on paternal and maternal sides is from England, Ireland, Scotland, France and of Native Americans in the United States. From her father's side Ford is related to three U.S. presidents, Martin Van Buren, Theodore Roosevelt and Teddy's fifth cousin, Franklin Roosevelt.
In the mid 1950s Ford moved with her mother to Florida. There her mother remarried. Later as a widow she married Ellis Keene. He was a retired police officer who grew up in Fort Myers, Florida. In the 1920s-1930s Keene and family lived near Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Keene played in the famous mens' backyards, and he played in Thomas Edison's laboratory. Once young Keene was chased out of the lab by Edison himself. Keene's responsibility as a rookie police officer in the 1950s was to handle crowd control and escort celebrities. Elvis Presley was one of those celebrities. In later years Ford wrote about her stepdad's experiences in online articles and in a book.
In 1968, Ford graduated from Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida however she attended most of her compulsory education in Daytona Beach, Florida. She was active in sports, Future Homemakers of America and French Club. In 1967 she attended college and continued her formal education part time until graduating with a B.S. degree with honors in elementary education in 1988 from the University of South Florida.
In 1985, Ford wrote a rough draft of her first book. Years later, after a rewrite, it was published in 2009 later developing into a book series. During the 1990s she continued her college studies in communications and theatre and attended modeling and acting classes at multiple workshops. Casting director Lori Wyman, film director Tom Logan and actor Richard Hatch were a few of Ford's acting instructors.
In the 1960s-1970s Ford worked as an assistant in the areas of pharmacology, dentistry and veterinary medicine. She helped babysit Snooty, a wounded manatee, from 1969-1974 at the Manatee Aquarium in Bradenton, Florida, and she volunteered at the Manatee Performing Arts Center helping back stage.
In the late 1980s Ford and her husband worked with World Concern as volunteer shuttle missionaries to third world countries. In the 1990s their daughters followed in their footsteps. All four Fords volunteered in Africa. They worked in Morocco, South Africa and Kenya and on a variety of islands. The Fords, among other missionaries, provided guidance and leadership in agriculture, music, veterinary medicine, tutoring, English language skills, creative arts, cooking, sports and carpentry.
From the late 1990s into the 21st century Ford has worked behind the scenes on various television and film projects. Her acting career began when she had to work in front of the camera when an actress failed to show. Ford has worked with award-winning filmmakers for a majority of those 90's projects; one of them was David Nixon (director) of Making Waves.
From the mid 1970s to mid 1990s Ford married and raised a family in SW Florida. She and veterinary husband Alton Ford had two daughters.
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