Freddie Joe Ward was born in San Diego, California on December 30, 1942. As a young adult, Fred spent three years in the United States Air Force. He was also a boxer and worked as a lumberjack, janitor and short order cook. Fred studied acting at New York’s Herbert Berghoff Studio after serving in the Air Force.
Very early in his career, Fred dubbed over Italian movies and worked as a mime while living in Italy. When he returned to the states in the early 1970s, Fred worked in experimental theater and did some television work. His first American film appearance was playing a cowboy in Hearts Of The West in 1975. His first major role came in the Clint Eastwood film Escape From Alcatraz has John Anglin a fellow escapee. He was also notable as a violent national guardsmen in Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort in 1981.
Fred’s first starring role was in the film Timerider: The Adventure of Lynn Swann in 1982. The following year he starred as the astronaut Gus Grissom in The Right Stuff. He was also in the action movie Uncommon Valor and the drama film Silkwood all in 1983.
In the mid-1980s, Fred played in a few low budget productions until returning to major cinema in 1988 as a cop in the film Off Limits, and as Rooney Dimmick in Big Business, and the father of Keanu Reeves’ character in the film The Prince of Pennsylvania.
In the 1990s, Fred’s notable films included the thriller Two Small Bodies, Shortcuts, which he won a Special Volpi Cup and Golden Globe Award for his performance, Naked Gun 3 1/3: The Final Insult, and The Blue Villa.
In the early 2000’s, Fred portrayed Police Captain John in the film The Crow: Salvation. That same year he starred in the action thriller The Chaos Factor. The following year he was nominated for a Video Premiere Award as the best male for the direct to video production Full Disclosure. In 2002, Fred starred in the films Sweet Home Alabama, Enough and Abandon.
In the mid 2000s, Fred guest starred in the TV series Grey’s Anatomy and ER. In 2009, Fred starred as Ronald Reagan in the French political thriller L’affaire Farewell.
Fred was married twice. His first marriage came in the early 1960s to Karla Yvonne Stuart and they later divorced. His second marriage was to Sylvia Ward and they have one son Django. After their divorce he married Marie France Boisselle in 1995. Marie filed for divorce in August 2013 but they later reconciled. Fred currently lives in Venice, California.
- During his time as a boxer, Fred broke his nose three times