Fred Ward

A recognizable character actor of Cherokee heritage, Fred Ward was born in San Diego on Dec. 30, 1942, and studied theater at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York. After moving to Italy, where he occasionally worked as a mime, he was hired to dub English dialogue in Italian films.

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"