Harrison Ford, who once grew so discouraged about his acting career that he dropped out to be a professional carpenter, will become the 28th recipient of the American Film Institute's prestigious Life Achievement Award. The handsome leading man, who long ago became one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, will receive the honor at a Feb. 17 banquet at the Beverly Hilton. "It is fitting that AFI begin the new millennium by honoring Harrison Ford – the most popularly acclaimed actor of our day," AFI board chairman Tom Pollack said Monday. "To movie audiences around the world, Harrison represents the quintessential American film hero, and when the history of the 20th century art form is written, Harrison will play a leading role." Ford, most recently seen in "Random Hearts," played Indiana Jones in Steven Spielberg's trilogy of adventure films modeled on 1930s movie serials, and CIA whiz Jack Ryan in the films "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger." But whether playing a cop or the American president, Ford has come to represent the rugged individualist with a streak of both compassion and intelligence in his emotional makeup.