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SHORT TAKES : Reluctant Subject of HBO Movie

September 19, 1990|FROM TIMES WIRE SERVICES

ROCKFORD, Ill. — Fred Ford prefers running airports to television stardom, but the spotlight will be on him anyway in a made-for-TV movie.

"It's scary because you could end up looking like the village idiot," Ford, director of the Greater Rockford Airport, said of the Home Box Office film "Lockerbie: The Bombing of Pan Am 103."

It dramatizes events before and after the explosion that killed 259 passengers and crew and 11 residents of Lockerbie, Scotland, in December, 1988.

Ford, the film's central character, emerged as a key figure in international efforts to learn what went wrong with airline security systems.

More than two years before the ill-fated flight, Ford said, he was sacked from a top job at Pan Am in part because he raised a red flag over flaws in such systems. The company denies his version of the firing.

A critical memo Ford wrote has emerged as a key document in congressional hearings as well as lawsuits arising from the Lockerbie disaster.

Ford, who became director of Rockford's airport in July, 1988, will be played by Peter Boyle, known for his portrayal of the title character in the 1970s movie "Joe."

An HBO spokesman in New York said the cable channel will broadcast the film in December.

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