Harrison Ford, the Hollywood star who has played some of the most recognizable and enduring movie characters, returned Saturday to the town where it all started, Laguna Beach.
Ford was one of the guests at a dinner sponsored by the Laguna Playhouse, a city landmark and Orange County's oldest theater, where the actor made his first West Coast stage appearance nearly four decades ago.
Guests at the home of gala chairwoman Sindi Schwartz waited in quiet anticipation early Saturday evening for Ford to arrive.
"We are just thrilled," said Ronald Schwartz, Sindi's husband and a playhouse trustee.
"The young people are even more excited than us older folks."
Young and old gasped as Ford entered the Schwartz home in Laguna Beach's Montage Resort & Spa.
The gathering for about 40 guests preceded the $500-a-ticket dinner for 340 in the resort's ballroom.
Ford arrived in a tuxedo with actress Calista Flockhart, who wore a form-fitting black dress.
The couple posed for pictures and exchanged pleasantries.
Long before his screen hits, Ford appeared in "John Brown's Body" at the Laguna Beach Playhouse in 1965. A music director working in the play introduced Ford to a casting director at Columbia Pictures.
"The people here" in Laguna Beach, Ford said, "were pivotal to the good fortune I've had."