Sunday, April 14, 2024

“The Fighter”: Real Life Mother Alice Ward Gravely Ill in Boston


At last night’s New York Film Critics Circle dinner, actress Melissa Leo revealed that the woman she plays in “The Fighter,” Alice Ward, is gravely ill in Boston.

Ward is the mother of fighter Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg in the film. Leo won Best Supporting Actress last night from the NYFCC, and is on her way to an Oscar nomination and possible win.

Leo told the story of how Alice Ward– depicted in the film as single minded and a survivor– had a massive heart attack last week, and a stroke, “died,” and came back.

According to, Ward, now 80, is now able to speak after being dead for an hour or more. If you’ve seen the movie, then it all sounds quite believable.

“She survived after CPR went on for 45 minutes,” Leo said.

Leo, Wahlberg, Christian Bale–who memorably plays Alice’s other son, Dicky–and Amy Adams are likely all headed to the Oscars. Yesterday director David O. Russell received a Directors Guild nomination for his work on “The Fighter,” which means he’s on the path to an Oscar nomination as well. After hearing this story, it wouldn’t surprise me if Alice Ward turns up at the Kodak Theater, too, on February 27th. Speedy recovery!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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