Australian actor, writer, director, and screenwriter Rachel Ward was born in the United Kingdom. She dropped out of school to focus on modeling, and she has been featured on the covers of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Harper’s & Queen. Additionally, she appeared in several television ads, including Revlon’s “Scoundrel Girl” and Lincoln Mercury’s “Cougar Girl.”
She received a Golden Globe nomination for “New Star of the Year” for her portrayal of Dominoe in the movie “Sharky’s Machine.” Her second Golden Globe nomination came as a result of her portrayal of Meggie Cleary in the television miniseries “The Thorn Birds,” which marked her actual breakthrough.
The Umbrella Woman, Wide Sargasso Sea, and television movies like “On the Beach” are just a few of the large and small screen projects in which Rachel Ward has appeared. She received another Golden Globe nomination for the latter. She co-wrote and directed the short films “The Big House” and “Blindman’s Bluff,” the latter of which won multiple accolades. The movies “Martha’s New Coat” and “Beautiful Kate” were both directed by her.
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Rachel, the daughter of Claire Leonora (née Baring) and the Hon. Peter Alistair Ward, was born in Cornwell, a town close to Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, England. Giles Baring, a cricket player, and William Ward, the 3rd Earl of Dudley, are her grandfathers. Ward is also the sister of Tracy Louise Ward, Duchess of Beaufort, an environmental activist and former actress, and the great-granddaughter of William Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley, Governor-General of Australia from 1908 to 1911.
Hatherop Castle School in Hatherop, Gloucestershire, and the Byam Shaw School of Art in Kensington, West London, were both places she attended. At age 16, she dropped out of school to pursue a career as a fashion and photography model. Her brief relationship with David Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy.
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Rachel Ward’s Career
Rachel Ward has worked as a model and has appeared on the covers of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Harper’s & Queen. She moved to the US in 1977, when she appeared in television ads for Revlon’s “Scoundrel Girl” and Lincoln Mercury’s “Cougar Girl.” A few years later, she made an appearance in the television movie “Christmas Lilies of the Field.”
In 1981, she made her feature film debut as Eleanor Adjai, the lead character in the American erotic slasher movie “Night School.” The same year, she portrayed Dominoe in the American drama-thriller movie “Sharky’s Machine,” for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for “New Star of the Year.” The 1982 neo-noir comedy-mystery film “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” featured her alongside Steve Martin.
In the American television miniseries “The Thorn Birds,” in which she co-starred with Richard Chamberlain as the adult Meggie Cleary, the next year she made her major breakthrough. From March 27 to March 30, 1983, it aired on ABC and was a great hit. It ranks after “Roots” as the second-highest-rated miniseries in US history.
For her work in “The Thorn Birds,” Rachel Ward received not only a lot of praise but also a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film. She gives a lot of thanks to Sandra Seacat, an acting instructor, for both helping her land the role and helping her deliver a strong performance in it. Ward participated in a makeover program with Seacat during the show’s five-month filming period.
During the filming of “The Thorn Birds” in 1983, she met Australian actor Bryan Brown, who would later become her husband. Following their meeting, Brown is rumored to have read Ward’s palm and foretold that she would give birth to three children. Brown portrayed Ward’s character Luke O’Neill’s husband in the television show.
In 1983, US audiences selected her as one of the top ten most attractive women in the world. In subsequent years, she appeared in a number of movies, including “The Final Terror” (1983), “Against All Odds” (1984), “The Umbrella Woman” (1987), in which she reteamed up with Brown, and “After Dark, My Sweet” (1990).
She was nominated for a 2001 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film for her outstanding performance as Moira Davidson in the made-for-television movie “On the Beach” (2000), which she co-starred in alongside Brown and Armand Assante.
The Big House, a short drama film that was released on October 18, 2001, was written and directed by her. At Flickerfest in 2001, the movie took home awards from the Australian Film Institute for Best Short Fiction Film and Best Australian Film, as well as the Film Critics Circle of Australia for Best Short in 2002. In addition to the 2003 ATOM Award, Rachel Ward’s film “Martha’s New Coat” also took home the Film Critics Circle of Australia award.
In 2005, she was named a Member of the Order of Australia. The Australian drama “Beautiful Kate,” which had its world premiere at the Sydney Picture Festival in June 2009 and a limited release in Australia on August 6, was her first full-length film as a filmmaker.
The script for the movie, which featured Ben Mendelsohn, Rachel Griffiths, and Brown among others, was written by Ward and was based on Newton Thornburg’s 1982 novel of the same name. Ward has also directed the television movies “An Accidental Soldier” (2006) and the TV series documentary “Knot at Home Project” (2013).
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Rachel Ward’s Personal Life
In 1979, Rachel Ward had a brief relationship with David Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy. They met in a Manhattan disco. On April 16, 1983, she wed Australian actor Bryan Brown. Rose, Matilda, and Joseph are the three children they were blessed with.
Who is Bryan Brown?
Actor Bryan Neathway Brown hails from Australia. The son of John (Jack) Brown, a housekeeper, and Molly Brown, a pianist in the early years of the Langshaw School of Ballet, Brown was born on June 23, 1947, in Sydney. He was born and raised in the Bankstown neighborhood in southwest Sydney, where he also started working at AMP as an actuarial student. He began performing in amateur theater productions, where he first developed a love for acting.
In 1964, Brown traveled to England and eventually landed bit parts at the Old Vic. He eventually made his way back to Australia, where he joined the Genesian Theatre in Sydney and performed in Colleen Clifford’s A Man for All Seasons before joining the Queensland Theatre Company. He participated in numerous more Australian movies over the course of the following two years after making his cinematic debut in 1977 with a small part in The Love Letters from Teralba Road.
In 1980, Brown’s performance in Breaker Morant helped him gain recognition among viewers worldwide. He continued to act in Australian productions while also making appearances in American TV miniseries. His performance in A Town Like Alice brought him fame in the US (1981).
He is most known to American television viewers for his Golden Globe and Emmy nominated performance as Luke O’Neil in The Thorn Birds (1983), starring Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward, whom he later married. He appeared in a number of foreign projects, such as Tai-Pan with Joan Chen, Gorillas in the Mist with Sigourney Weaver, and Cocktail with Tom Cruise.
He is one of the few Australian performers that consistently portrays an Australian, keeping his accent. Tai-Pan and his part in the TV series Against the Wind, which required an Irish accent, are the two exceptions.
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Rachel Ward’s Net Worth
Rachel Ward makes most of her money as an actress, film director, television director, and screenwriter. Her estimated net worth is $10 million USD.