In 1964, Fred Ward quit acting school in New York after six months and set out in various places across the country which included stops in Florida, California, New Orleans, and Alaska. “I was stranded in Houston, bumming around, hoping to get on some ship. Hit a dock strike,” he said about his adventurous youth when speaking to The Washington Post in 1990. Ward used those life experiences to craft his characters.
The actor was given a chance at a starring role in 1985 but the film did not fare well at the box office. “RIP, Fred Ward, a great character actor whose big shot at leading man status, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, unfortunately flopped, but who kept giving great, lived-in performances for the rest of his career,” Rolling Stone editor Alan Sepinwall tweeted after Ward’s death.
Ward was once again given a starring role in 1990’s “Henry & June” opposite Uma Thurman, where he played novelist Henry Miller. Unfortunately, the movie was given an NC-17 rating, which hurt its commercial viability. True to form, Ward took the rating in stride. “My rear end seemed to have something to do with it,” he joked to the Washington Post at the time. Although the film failed to produce substantial box office receipts, Ward was elated with the opportunity. “It was a dream part for me,” he added.