Ward made his feature film debut in a pair of Robert Rossellini movies. But it was his first American film role, playing a cowboy in Hearts of the West (1975), that led to a big break starring opposite Clint Eastwood in Escape from Alcatraz (1979). He's worked steadily ever since, turning in memorable performances in The Right Stuff (1983), Tremors (1990) and Henry & June (1990), among a long list of other films.
Ward's forceful on-screen presence works equally well in lighter fare such as Road Trip (2000) and Sweet Home Alabama (2002). He also enjoyed a brief run as a recurring character on "ER"