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Also Known As: Sela Ann Ward Died:
Born: July 11, 1956 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Meridian, Mississippi, USA Profession: actress, model, advertising art director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Dark-haired and fair-complected with fine features and expressive brown eyes, actress Sela Ward began her career as a model before beginning work in features and television and eventually hitting the big time with memorably evocative regular roles on the series "Sisters" (NBC) and "Once and Again" (ABC). This Southern belle moved to New York City following her graduation from the University of Alabama, expecting to pursue work in advertising. She instead began modeling and went on to appear in dozens of national television commercials. Ward soon moved to Los Angeles, where she studied acting and launched a career in that capacity. In 1983 the actress made her feature debut in Blake Edwards' remake "The Man Who Loved Woman" and bowed on the small screen that same year with a regular role as privileged ice princess Hilary Adams on the CBS primetime soap "Emerald Point, N.A.S." (1983-84). Ward could next be seen as a controlled businesswoman dating Tom Hanks in Garry Marshall's comedy-drama "Nothing in Common" (1986), before making her feature co-starring debut in the actioner "Steele Justice" (1987). Long and lean, with a stately air of cool composure, Ward racked up numerous television credits, both...

Dark-haired and fair-complected with fine features and expressive brown eyes, actress Sela Ward began her career as a model before beginning work in features and television and eventually hitting the big time with memorably evocative regular roles on the series "Sisters" (NBC) and "Once and Again" (ABC). This Southern belle moved to New York City following her graduation from the University of Alabama, expecting to pursue work in advertising. She instead began modeling and went on to appear in dozens of national television commercials. Ward soon moved to Los Angeles, where she studied acting and launched a career in that capacity. In 1983 the actress made her feature debut in Blake Edwards' remake "The Man Who Loved Woman" and bowed on the small screen that same year with a regular role as privileged ice princess Hilary Adams on the CBS primetime soap "Emerald Point, N.A.S." (1983-84). Ward could next be seen as a controlled businesswoman dating Tom Hanks in Garry Marshall's comedy-drama "Nothing in Common" (1986), before making her feature co-starring debut in the actioner "Steele Justice" (1987).

Long and lean, with a stately air of cool composure, Ward racked up numerous television credits, both as a series guest star and in TV-movies, most often cast as refined, upper-crust characters. While guest spots on "Night Court" (NBC) and "Hotel" (ABC) kept her in the public eye and starring roles in the movies "Cameo by Night" (NBC, 1987), "Bridesmaids" (CBS, 1989) and USA Network's "The Haunting of Sarah Hardy" (1989) fortified her resume and offered her valuable experience, she wouldn't really arrive until she broke down her reserve entirely to play the highly emotional recovering alcoholic Teddy Reed on the NBC drama series "Sisters". Portraying a black sheep, the most down-to-earth, stubborn and tormented of the four siblings, Ward turned in a bare-bones and sometimes painfully candid performance, a risky and ambitious undertaking for the actress that proved most successful and earned her an Emmy Award in 1994. While not always likable, Teddy Reed and her character rang truest, due in no small part to Ward's skillful performance.

While starring on "Sisters", the actress kept busy with consistent television movie work, generally playing self-possessed women working their way out of traumatic situations. Among the more notable entries was the 1992 Showtime drama "Double Jeopardy", in which she starred as a lawyer defending her husband's former lover of murder and a woman who captures the hearts of brothers on either side of the law in "Killer Rules" (NBC, 1993). Ward shone with a small but effective role as the beautiful slain wife of Harrison Ford's Richard Kimble in the blockbuster feature adaptation of "The Fugitive" (1993) and impressed audiences with her unflinching award-winning portrayal of the troubled TV anchorwoman in the 1995 Lifetime biopic "Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story".

Following the departure of "Sisters" from the NBC lineup, Ward did some feature work, including cameos in "54" (1998, as an older woman who seduces an impressionable bartender) and in "Runaway Bride" (1999, as a woman in a bar) but found that as a woman in her 40s without an already established film career, roles were few and far between. Having sworn off of hour-long series drama after the "Sisters" workload interfered too much with her family life, Ward reconsidered in order to join the cast of ABC's "Once and Again" (1999-2002), playing Lily Manning, a divorced mother of two who falls in love with a divorced father and must deal with both the highs and lows of the new relationship and its repercussions on the secure family life she has worked hard to create for her daughters. The series was a critical and popular hit, and the actress brought graceful determination to her flawed character, making Lily both admirable and identifiable. Ward earned her second career Emmy Award for her role in 2000. She next starred in and was executive producer of the CBS TV-movie "Catch a Falling Star" (2000), playing a popular actress who moves to a small town, finding love while dodging the spotlight, and took a supporting role in the crime drama "The Badge" (2002) before appearing in "Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights" (2004) as a ballroom dancer and the mother of Romola Garai's character, an American girl who moves with her family to the revolution-era capital and falls hard for a local dancer. The actress' next big-screen outing was as Dennis Quaid's wife in director Roland Emmerich's big-budget disaster film about the sudden onlsaught of a new ice age, "The Day After Tomorrow" (2004)

In 2003 Ward also turned author with her book Homesick: A Memoir, a well-reviewed chronicle of her life growing up in the Southern culture of Meridian, Mississippi, "worshipping Bear Bryant on Saturday night and Jesus Christ on Sunday morning."

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Stepfather, The (2009)
2.
 Guardian, The (2006)
3.
 Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004) Jeannie Miller
4.
 Day After Tomorrow, The (2004) Dr Lucy Hall
5.
 Suburban Madness (2004) Bobbi Bacha
6.
 Catch A Falling Star (2000) Sydney Clarke/ Cheryl Belson
7.
 Passion's Way (1999) Anna Leath
8.
 Runaway Bride (1999) Pretty Bar Woman (New York)
9.
 54 (1998) Billie Auster
10.
 Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Women (1997) Marie-Rose Gineste ("Woman On A Bicycle")
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Moved to New York City and began modeling for the Wilhelmina agency
1983:
Moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting
1983:
Feature acting debut in Blake Edwards' remake of "The Man Who Loved Women"
1983:
Debut as a TV series regular on the CBS primetime soap, "Emerald Point, N.A.S."
1986:
Featured as Tom Hanks's love interest in Garry Marshall's "Nothing in Common"
1987:
Co-starred with Shelley Long in the supernatural comedy, "Hello, Again"
1987:
Starred in the TV-movies "Cameo by Night" (NBC) and "The King of Love" (ABC)
1989:
Cast as the titlular heiress in the USA TV-movie, "The Haunting of Sarah Hardy"
1990:
Appeared in the "Christine Cromwell" mystery telepic, "In Vino Veritas" (ABC)
1991:
Starred in the USA Network thriller, "Child of Darkness, Child of Light"
1991:
Cast in the starring role of Teddy Reed, the alcoholic black sheep of the family, in the NBC series "Sisters"; earned Golden Globe (1994) and SAG (1996) nominations
1992:
Played a lawyer defending her husband's ex-lover charged with murder in the Showtime drama, "Double Jeopardy"
1993:
Played murder victim Helen Kimble, the wife of Harrison Ford's falsely accused Dr Richard Kimble, in the feature adaptation of "The Fugitive"
1995:
Received praise for her portrayal of TV anchorwoman Jessica Savitch in the Lifetime movie, "Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story"
1997:
Starred in the Showtime drama, "Rescuers: Stories of Courage: Two Women"
1998:
Featured in "54," a nostalgic portrait of a New York City disco club famous in the late 1970s
1999:
Had a cameo in Garry Marshall's romantic comedy, "Runaway Bride"
1999:
Returned to series TV as divorced mother Lily Manning in the ABC drama series, "Once and Again"; earned Golden Globe (2000, 2002), SAG (2001) and Emmy (2001) nominations for Lead Actress in a Drama Series
2000:
Had leading role and served as executive produer of the CBS TV-movie, "Catch a Falling Star"
2002:
Co-starred with Billy Bob Thornton and Patricia Arquette in "The Badge"
2002:
Published her autobiography, <i>Homesick: A Memoir</i>
2004:
Played the mother in "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights"
2004:
Played Dennis Quaid's wife in Roland Emmerich's "The Day After Tomorrow"
2004:
Portrayed private investigator, Bobbi Bacha of Blue Moon Investigations, in the CBS TV movie "Suburban Madness"
2005:
Had a recurring role on the FOX drama "House" as Stacy Warner, the hospital's former attorney
2006:
Played Kevin Costner's wife in "The Guardian"
2009:
Co-starred in the remake of "The Stepfather"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Alabama: Tuscaloosa , Alabama - 1977
University of Alabama: Tuscaloosa , Alabama - 1977

Notes

Her name "Sela" is pronounced "See-lah" and comes from the Bible; it means hallelujah or amen.

Ward on taking on the title role in "Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story", Lifetime's biopic of the tragic broadcaster: "In almost every script I see, the women are the token girlfriend, the obligatory wife. This was a chance to play an incredibly complex, driven woman." --quoted in TV Guide, September 2, 1995.

"In the film world, there are so few roles for women over 30. Unless you're Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone or Meryl Streep who proved themselves in their 30s, the work isn't there, so we go to TV. This is where it's happening." --Ward quoted in USA Today, September 21, 1999.

Ward on her role as a divorced mother in the acclaimed ABC drama "Once and Again": "I don't have to go very far, in terms of stretching or pretending, to understand where she's coming from. Whether it's painful or fearful or vulnerable, there's a little piece of me that maybe has been there, done that, seen that, knows what that smells like and tastes like and feels like.

"So in the most positive way, I'm able to bring a lot of myself to that. It's just effortless to me--I feel like I'm cheating in some way.

"I finally feel like I get it. I used to think acting was some secret in a black box that everybody had a key to but me. And now I really get it." --quoted in Daily News, September 21, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Bob Baumhower. Professional football player. Dated while the two were in college; Ward was the head cheerleader and Baumhower the star quarterback; went on to a pro football career with the Miami Dolphins.
companion:
Richard Dean Anderson. Actor. Together c. 1983-86.
companion:
Peter Weller. Actor. Involved from 1987 to 1990; had announced engagement and planned to marry in 1990 before separating.
husband:
Howard Sherman. Real estate executive. Born c. 1955; met on a blind date in 1991; married in 1992.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Granberry Holland Ward. Electrical engineer.
mother:
Annie Kate Ward. Homemaker.
sister:
Jenna Ward. Born c. 1958.
brother:
Berry Ward. Born c. 1959.
brother:
Brock Ward. Born c. 1961.
son:
Austin Ward Sherman. Born on May 13, 1994.
daughter:
Anabella Raye Sherman. Born on May 30, 1998.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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