AS SEEN IN:
'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy'
(Radio, books, TV, movie)
Originally from Betelgeuse
(And not from Guildford, after all)
From 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy' Wiki:
Ford Prefect (a.k.a, Praxibetel Ix) is a friend of Arthur Dent's. [They meet five or six years before the start of the story.] He shares three mothers with The President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox, making them semi-cousins.
Ford Prefect was born on Betelgeuse 5. His father (and uncle) was from Betelgeuse 7, which was decimated during the Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster of Gal./Sid./Year 03758. After this, he moved to Betelgeuse 5, where he died of shame because his son/nephew was not able to pronounce his name, which wasn't really a surprise because he was named in an obscure Betelgeusian dialect that died out with the planet. Unable to pronounce his name, his friends called him "Ix" which, in English is "boy who is not able satisfactorily to explain what a hrung is or why it should choose to collapse on Betelguese 7".
Ford is approximately two hundred years old, as supported by the books. When, in the first novel, Zaphod steals the Heart of Gold, it is on his (Zaphod's) two hundredth birthday. It is later mentioned that Ford and Zaphod attended school together, even having some of the same classes, which would indicate that they are roughly the same age.
Ford is a researcher for that wholly remarkable book, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and is responsible for the entry on Earth. He visited the Earth by way of a Teaser and was stranded for fifteen years. He was also later upset to learn that his masterpiece had been compressed to the two words: "Mostly Harmless."
Ford was famous for his article in the Guide about Earth, for which he spent fifteen years researching. He had originally written a competent article, but the editors cut his verbose article down to "Mostly Harmless," then later to the single word:"Harmless." When another Earth popped up in their universe from the improbability axis, the Guide reverted to Fords complete article about Earth.
Ford skimped a bit on his preparatory research, leading him to think that Ford Prefect was a nicely inconcspicous name.
Adams later observed that this joke was lost on U.S. audiences who assumed it was a typing error for "perfect." In some versions, such as the French (Le Guide Galactique) and the Greek, Ford's name was changed to "Ford Escort."
Nowadays, the joke is largely lost on younger audiences in Britain as well, since the Ford Prefect is now a rare sight on British roads.)
While on Earth, [Ford] posed as an out-of-work actor. He only revealed he was from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and not from Guildford, as he had usually claimed, to Arthur just before the Vogons arrived.
It should also be noted that one of Ford's major goals in life is to to get drunk and dance with girls.