CALISTA CARES FOR HARRISON'S DYING EX

Published on: August 3, 2005
CALISTA CARES FOR HARRISON'S DYING EX

By MYDRIM JONES

Warm-hearted Calista Flockhart is helping lover Harrison Ford care for his first wife as she nears death.

Frail Mary Marquardt, who married the Indiana Jones hunk when he was a humble high-school football star, is in the advanced stages of multiple sclerosis.

Multi-millionaire Ford has bought Mary a home in Encino, Calif., and paid for it to be adapted so she would be more comfortable.

He even pays for her enormous medical bills along with the costs of a helper and a housekeeper.

"Harrison has been a true friend and a great love," said silver-haired 61-year-old Mary in her first interview about the man who left her when he found fame. "Calista has been wonderful, too. I could not ask for more.

"Harrison has stood by me, quietly asking for nothing in return, through my darkest days.

"He is a wonderful human being. These days, you hear so many awful stories about people. But Harrison has always been there for me whether the world has known it or not. I shall always love him for what he has done. He and I will forever be family. I realize how much love and support he has given me and continues to give me."

Mary, who was diagnosed with the crippling disease five years ago, married Ford, now 63, in 1964 after meeting in a college amateur dramatics group.

They had two sons, Ben and Willard, before Ford walked out and the couple divorced in 1979. The actor went on to marry screenwriter Melissa Mathison in 1983. They separated in 2001 and divorced three years later.

Said Mary: "Harrison and I just grew apart. But we remained great friends through the years. "He bought me this house and has been incredibly supportive through my illness. We are family and he has stuck by me through thick and thin.

"In this town, it is refreshing, if not unique. People want to hear nasty things about people but Harrison has done all this and expected nothing back."

Said Ford: "Sometimes I've been a better actor than husband or father. My greatest regret is the failure of my first marriage and the pain that it caused. I made mistakes in my youth that I would rather not admit to. I have changed."

Ford said he's happy he can now help Mary. "I've always tried to make sure my family is properly provided for," he added.