Rachel Claire Ward
12 September 1957
|Occupation(s)||Actress, film director, screenwriter, television director|
|Children||3; including Matilda Brown|
|Relatives||Tracy, Duchess of Beaufort (sister)|
|Website||Rachel Ward – New Town Films|
Ward was born in Cornwell near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England, the daughter of Claire Leonora (née Baring) and the Hon. Peter Alistair Ward. Her grandfathers were William Ward, 3rd Earl of Dudley and the cricketer Giles Baring. Ward is also the great-granddaughter of William Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley, Governor-General of Australia 1908–11, and sister of environmental campaigner and former actress Tracy Louise Ward, Duchess of Beaufort. She attended Hatherop Castle School, Hatherop, Gloucestershire, then the Byam Shaw School of Art in Kensington, West London. She left school at age 16 to become a fashion and photography model. She briefly dated David Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy.
During her modelling career, she was featured on the covers of Vogue, Harper's & Queen, and Cosmopolitan magazines. After moving to the United States in 1977, she appeared in television advertisements such as the Lincoln Mercury "Cougar Girl" and Revlon's "Scoundrel Girl". In 1981, she received a Golden Globe Award nomination for "New Star of the Year" for her role in the film Sharky's Machine starring with Burt Reynolds. The following year, she starred in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid with Steve Martin. Her big break came in 1983, when she starred opposite Richard Chamberlain as the lead role portraying Meggie Cleary in the television miniseries The Thorn Birds, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film. Ward assigns much of the credit for this breakthrough performance to acting coach Sandra Seacat, first for simply helping her get the job (after her disastrous first reading) and then for the quality of the finished performance, assembled over the course of a grueling five-month shooting schedule, while undergoing a simultaneous and no less grueling makeover program at the hands of Seacat. Also in 1983, U.S. audiences voted Ward one of the world's 10 most beautiful women. In 1984, she played Jess in the film noir remake Against All Odds, with Jeff Bridges. After filming Fortress in 1985, Ward then disappeared from film for a few years to study acting.
She reappeared in 1987 playing opposite her husband, Bryan Brown (whom she met on the set of The Thorn Birds), in The Umbrella Woman. In 2001, she was again nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film for her role in On the Beach (2000). Also in 2001, Ward won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Short Fiction Film for The Big House, and Best Australian Film at Flickerfest. The film also won the Film Critics Circle of Australia award, as did her 2003 film Martha's New Coat. That film also won the 2003 ATOM Award.
|1970s photo of Ward with Peter Cook by Michael White, The Daily Telegraph|
|Portrait of Rachel Ward by Jan Williamson|
In 2003, a portrait of Ward by artist Jan Williamson won the Packing Room Prize at the Archibald Prize competition. In 2005, Ward was made a Member of the Order of Australia "for service to raising awareness of social justice through lobbying, mentoring and advocacy for the rights of disadvantaged and at-risk young people, and support for the Australian film and television industry".
In 2007, Ward returned to television, headlining the new ABC drama Rain Shadow. She played a country veterinarian named Kate McDonald, a free spirit who confronts personal and professional obstacles in a rural, drought-affected town.
|1981||Night School aka 'Terror Eyes'||Eleanor Adjai||Feature film, US|
|1981||Sharky's Machine||Dominoe Brittain||Feature film, US US Nominated – Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress|
|1982||Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid||Juliet Forrest||Feature film, US|
|1983||The Final Terror||Margaret||Feature film, US|
|1984||Against All Odds||Jessie Wyler||Feature film , US|
|1985||Fortress||Sally Jones||TV film, AUSTRALIA|
|1987||Hotel Colonial||Irene Costa||Feature film, US/Mexico/Italy|
|1987||The Umbrella Woman||Marge Hills||Feature film, AUSTRALIA|
|1989||How to Get Ahead in Advertising||Julia Bagley||Feature film, UK|
|1990||After Dark, My Sweet||Fay Anderson||Feature film, US|
|1992||Christopher Columbus: The Discovery||Isabella I of Castile||Feature film, UK/US/Spain|
|1992||Double Obsession||Grandmother||Feature film, US|
|1993||Wide Sargasso Sea||Annette Cosway||Feature film|
|1994||The Ascent aka "Revenge Of The Virgin"||Patricia||Feature film, CANADA/US|
|2007||Shotgun! [An Opening Sequence]||Adrianna||Film Short|
|2013||The Last Impresario||Herself - Interviewee||Feature film documentary, AUSTRALIA/US/UK/FRANCE|
|2016||The Death and Life of Otto Bloom||Dr. Ada Fitzgerald||Feature film|
|2018||Peter Rabbit||Josephine Rabbit (voice)||Animated Feature film|
|2020||I Am Burt Reynolds||Herself||Feature film documentary, CANADA|
|1979||Christmas Lilies of the Field||Jenny||TV film, US|
|1979||Fashion||Herself||TV series US, 1 episode|
|1981||Dynasty||Edna Macready||TV series US, 1 episode "The Dinner Party"|
|1982||39th Annual Golden Globe Awards||Herself - Nominee||TV special, US|
|1982||The 54th Annual Academy Awards||Herself - Presenter||TV special, US|
|1982||NBC Today Show||Herself - Guest||TV series US, 1 episode|
|1983||The Thorn Birds||Meggie Cleary||TV miniseries US, 4 episodes|
|1984||The 41st Annual Golden Globe Awards||Herself||TV special, US|
|1987||The Australian Film Institute Awards||Herself - Presenter||TV special|
|1988||Mike Willesse's Australians||Lead role: Vivian Bullwinkle||TV film series, episode 9: "Vivian Bullwinkle"|
|1989||The Arsenio Hall Show||Herself - Guest||TV series US, 1 episode|
|1989||Shadow of the Cobra||Chris Royston||TV miniseries, 2 episodes|
|1989||Down To Earth||Herself||TV special|
|1990||The 62nd Annual Academy Awards||Herself - Presenter||TV special, US|
|1990||1990 MTV Video Music Awards||Herself - Presenter||TV special, US|
|1991||The 48th Annual Golden Globe Awards||Herself - Presenter||TV special, US|
|1991||The 62nd Annual Academy Awards||Herself - Presenter||TV special, US|
|1991||And the Sea Will Tell||Jennifer Jenkins||TV film, US|
|1991||World Vision: The Silent Tragedy||Herself||TV special|
|1992||Black Magic||Lillian Blatman||TV film, US|
|1992||Double Jeopardy||Lisa Burns Donnelly||TV film, US|
|1992||Getaway||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|1992;1998||The Midday Show||Herself - Guest||TV series, 1 episode|
|1992||The 1992 Australian Film Institute Awards||Herself - Host||ABC TV special|
|1993;1998||A Current Affair||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|1994||All You Need To Know||Role unknown||TV film, US|
|1994||In the Name of Love||Herself - Hostess||TV series, US|
|1994||Mulray||Herself - Guest||TV series, 1 episode|
|1994;1995||World Vision Appeal: Vision For A Better World||Herself||TV special|
|1995;1998||Ten Eyewitness News||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|1995||The Australia Remembers Gala Tribute||Herself||ABC TV special|
|1995||World Vision Appeal: Vision for a Better World||Herself||TV special|
|1996||Twisted Tales||Sara||TV film series, 1 episode 3: "Third Party"|
|1996||World Vision: Power of One||Herself - Presenter||TV special|
|1996||World Vision Appeal: A Christmas Wish||Herself||TV special|
|1997||Gary Sweet's World||Herself||TV special|
|1997||My Stepson, My Lover||Caitlin Cory / Wife||TV film, US|
|1998||Eleven A.M.||Herself - Guest||TV series, 1 episode|
|1998;2003||Ten News||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|1998;2003||Seven Nightly News||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|1998;2003||National Nine News||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|1998;2003||ABC News||Herself||ABC TV series, 1 episode|
|1998||A Current Affair||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|1998||Laws||Herself - Guest||TV series, 1 episode|
|1998||Midday With Kerri-Anne||Herself - Guest||TV series, 1 episode|
|1998;2000||Good Morning Australia||Herself - Guest||TV series, 1 episode|
|1999||Seasons of Love||Kate Linthorne||TV miniseries US, 2 episodes "1.1", "1.2"|
|2000||On the Beach||Moira Davidson||TV miniseries, 2 episodes|
|2000||Good Morning Australia||Herself - Guest||TV series, 1 episode|
|2000||The Big Schmooze||Herself - Guest||ABC TV series, 1 episode|
|2001||And Never Let Her Go||Christine Sheve||TV film, US|
|2002||Bobbie's Girl||Roberta Langham||TV film, US|
|2002||Johnson County War||Queenie||TV film, US/GERMANY|
|2003||What's Going On?||Herself||TV series US, 1 episode|
|2003||Enough Rope With Andrew Denton||Herself - Guest||ABC TV series, 1 episode|
|2003||Ten News||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|2003||Nine News||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|2003||Seven News||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|2003||Sky News||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|2003||ABC News||Herself||ABC TV series, 1 episode|
|2006||Blackbeard||Sally Dunbar||TV miniseries US, 3 episodes|
|2006||Monarch Cove||Lead role: Adrianna Preston||TV series US, 14 episodes|
|2007||Rain Shadow||Lead regular role: Kate McDonald||ABC TV series, 6 episodes|
|2009||Kerri-Anne||Herself - Guest||TV series|
|2009||The Chaser's War On Everything||Herself||ABC TV series, 1 episode|
|2010||Moving Pictures Live!||Herself||TV series US, 1 episode|
|2010||Breakfast||Herself - Guest||TV series, 1 episode|
|2011||Free Rain||Herself||Film documentary|
|2012||Adam Hills In Gordon St. Tonight||Herself - Guest||ABC TV series, 1 episode|
|2013||Pioneers Of Television||Herself||TV series US, 1 episode|
|2019||Studio 10||Herself with Heather Mitchell & Jacqueline McKenzie||TV series, 1 episode|
|2019||Sunrise||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|2019||The Morning Show||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|2019||Today Extra||Herself||TV series, 1 episode|
|2019||News Breakfast||Herself||ABC TV series, 1 episode|
|2019||Better Homes and Gardens||Herself & Bryan Brown||TV series, 1 episode|
|2019||The Living Room||Herself & Bryan Brown||TV series, 1 episode|
|2022||Darby And Joan||Guest role: English Sat Nav||TV series, 1 episode|
|2000||Blindman's Bluff||Director, writer||Film Short|
|2001||The Big House||Director, writer||Film Short|
|2003||Martha's New Coat||Director|
|2006||Knot at Home Project||Director||TV series documentary|
|2006||Two Twisted||Director||TV film series, 1 episode "Heart Attack"|
|2009||Beautiful Kate||Director, writer||Feature film|
|2010||Rake||Director||ABC TV series, 2 episodes "R vs Dana", "R vs Lorton"|
|2011||My Place||Director||ABC TV series, 3 episodes "1848 Johanna", "1838 Davey", "1828 Alice"|
|2012||The Straits||Director||SBS TV series, 3 episodes "The Hunt for Vlad", "Epiphanies", "The Price"|
|2013||An Accidental Soldier||Director||ABC TV film|
|2014||Devil's Playground||Director||TV miniseries, 3 episodes "The Tail of the Serpent", "I Will Bring Fire Onto This Earth", "He Maketh My Way Perfect"|
|2019||Palm Beach||Director, writer||Feature film|
- How To Get Ahead In Advertising (1989) (US)
- Hopping To Byzantium (1990)
- The Piccadilly Bushman (1998)
- "Rachel Ward asks 'Aren’t we good enough?' " by Raymond Gill, dailyreview.com.au, 8 December 2016
- Scobie, Claire (10 July 2010). "Rachel Ward returns to Hollywood as a director". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Haller, Scott (28 March 1983). "The Torrid Trio of The Thorn Birds". People (cover story). Retrieved 15 February 2017.
At 16, she left school to pursue a modeling career.
- Wood, Stephanie (20 July 2009). "Double or nothing". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- Rothenberg, Fred (29 March 1983). "Thorn Birds Producers Gambled on Rachel Ward". The Hour. p. 12.
- Thomas, Bob (18 June 1989). "Actress Rachel Ward Cooses a low-key lifestyle in Australia". Toledo Blade. p. 37.
- "Casting Gamble in Thorn Birds". The Telegraph. Nashua. 29 March 1983. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- Preston, Marilyn (29 March 1983). "Tempo: Thorn Birds gives Ward chance to win her wings". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 September 2012. (subscription required)
- Australian Film Institute official site, retrieved 15 March 2008.
- "Winner: Packing Room Prize 2003: Jan Williamson, Rachel Ward", Art Gallery of New South Wales
- "It's an Honour website". Australian Government. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
- Marill, Alvin H. (11 October 2010). Movies Made for Television: 2005–2009. Scarecrow Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-8108-7659-0.
- Lehmann, Megan (14 September 2013). "Rachel Ward is calling the shots". The Australian. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
- "Kindred spirits: Rachel Ward & Bryan Brown". The Australian Women's Weekly. 22 July 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2019.