Megan Marie Ward was Born on September 24, 1969 in Los Angeles, California, and raised primarily in Honolulu, Hawaii. Megan was the youngest of four children, which includes two brothers and a sister.
A few years after her father, a pharmaceutical representative, accepted a position in Honolulu, he and his wife began teaching acting classes in their free time, a hobby that eventually spawned a fully-fledged school. Her parents were stage actors who performed small parts in "Magnum P.I." and "Hawaii Five-O." They met when they were both young actors, but set aside their professional theatrical ambitions once they started a family, but never gave up their love for acting. The family moved from Los Angeles to Hawaii when Megan was four years old, and her mother and father founded The Talent Development Center in Hawaii, which involved teaching drama and modelling. Megan is one of the lucky few who always knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. While her parents taught classes, she would spend hours playing with the costumes and make-up. "When I was five, I would sit between my parents while they practiced their lines, and I would tell them when they got them wrong. Acting was always there in my life. And they would always have this baby bunny or something running on-stage - and that would be me." At the age of twelve Megan landed her first professional acting role as the part of Pease Blossom in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at her parents Talent Development Center.
When Megan was nine, her mother was working at a modelling agency, and that's how Megan started modelling. In the mid-1980's, Japan was a lucrative market for many Western models, and Megan had a fresh, youthful look that landed her one assignment after another. She lived in Tokyo and did really well because she had brown hair and almond eyes, so kind of looked kind of Asian, but European, and yet had an All-American smile. It was just perfect timing for Megan.
Megan was fifteen the first time she travelled to Japan, and turned nineteen during her last trip. The first two times, she was chaperoned, but by the third time, at just sixteen, she had her own apartment, and was responsible for herself. Earning more in a day than her parents did in a month, while living alone and unsupervised thousands of miles from home in a kinetic environment like Tokyo, provided ample opportunities for corruption. The one-two punch of too much money and too much free time has knocked out many young models, but Megan's parents must have done something right, because unlike some of the women she worked with, she managed to resist the temptations and make it through the high-gloss labyrinth with her mind and body intact.
Contrary to the glamorous image of pencil-thin stunningly beautiful women who do nothing but wear fabulous clothes, hang out at nightclubs, and hobnob with rock stars, Megan described modelling as a gruelling, parasitic, cutthroat business, and definitely not for the weak of spirit. The allure of relatively easy money and constant pampering can make modelling difficult to quit, but after four years Megan was ready to move on. Looking back on her experience as a model today, she has mixed feelings, but doesn't miss it at all.
More than anything, she still wanted to act, so she moved to Los Angeles, where she enrolled in college for one year and began studying at the Loft Studio while continuing to make the occasional pilgrimage to Japan to replenish the coffers. When her Japanese agency saw that she was growing disenchanted with modelling, they tempted her to stay with a Japanese-language television show and movie, but she finally realized that the projects were nothing more than enticements to keep her there and make them money, which prompted her to make a difficult and scary decision.
"Even though modelling was exciting and profitable," Megan said, "I was finally growing up, and I realized, I have to do this, I have to walk away. And that was a very, very tough time in my life, because even though I knew what I was walking away to, modelling had taken away all of my confidence, because it is just the worst profession. It's destructive. You have to be able to protect yourself in order to succeed emotionally in that environment where it's so competitive, where you're hot one day, and nothing the next."
She found herself in a paradoxical situation: she was finally committed exclusively to acting, but the insecurity fostered by modelling made her afraid to pursue it. "I had been so defeated emotionally by modelling that I was scared," Megan admitted. "I had this horror of actually putting myself on the line and auditioning, and saying, "This is who I am - do you like me or do you hate me?' Acting had always been a passion, a creative process, something competitive," she continued. "I was able to believe in the art of acting, the expression of acting, the joy of acting, and that's a very important thing to have - I think I'm lucky that way. It wasn't like a flash, which is why I hated modelling. It wasn't the flip of my hair, it wasn't how good I looked in that outfit, or how much attitude I had in the audition. It was, 'I have to be good in order to get this part. I don't have to be pretty, I have to be good.' And I was afraid I wasn't good enough, so I studied, and did plays." This lasted for almost two years until finally she began to audition.
Her first acting job was a part in a commercial which never aired because the product never came out. However, because of this job she got the SAG card, which she needed. Work in commercials soon led to a string of parts in mostly forgettable low-budget films and her career path might be characterized as more that of a long-distant runner than a sprinter. Rather than landing a breakthrough role at the outset, she slogged her way through the trenches of low-budget and direct-to-video releases. Her first film role was in the 1990 Sci-Fi feature film "Crash And Burn."
Crash And Burn
It's the year 2030 and man's worst nightmares have become an oppressive reality. Big Brother has come to life in the form of UNICOM. A group of dissenters has surfaced to fight UNICOM's autocracy and stop the murderous Synthoid -a human-like robot- programmed to kill all those who pose a threat to UNICOM.
Megan's next two feature films were the Sci-Fi adventures "Trancers II" (1991) and "Trancers III" (1992) playing Alice Stillwell opposite Tim Thomerson. Then followed "Amityville 1992: It's About Time" (1992).
If the projects themselves were undistinguished, Megan herself was steadily building both her craft and her confidence, and each performance was consistently better than the one preceding it. "I feel like I paid my dues," Megan said, reflecting unapologetically on her resume. "I didn't get lucky like that, where the first thing I did was huge. I did a bunch of B-movies. I did a bunch of things where I had to learn. I mean, I am not the same actor I was when I got my first job, but it's because of those movies where you're doing twelve pages of script a day, thrown into this environment where it's, 'O.K., produce,' that I improved. It was fantastic, because I did make mistakes, and there are things I cringe at when I watch them, but I'm still nonetheless proud of them, because I can say, 'That's my education. Look guys, you can watch me learn how to do my job!' And it prepared me for the opportunities that eventually came around, like when I got Encino Man. That was the truly biggest thing for me."
In "Encino Man" (1992), renamed "Californian Man" outside the U.S.A., a hit comedy starring Pauly Shore and Sean Astin as two high-school nobodies who become the coolest dudes on campus when they discover a frozen caveman played by Brendan Fraser while digging a hole for a swimming pool, Megan played Robin Sweeney, the most happening girl in school. However, she had a lot of storyline cut out because Pauly Shore and Brendan Fraser tested higher with preview audiences.
But the happiest moment of her career coincided with the saddest moment of her life. The week she landed the role of Robin Sweeney, her two brothers who were working as grips on a film being shot in Houston, Texas, were hit by a drunk driver early one morning on their way to work. Her eldest brother was killed, and the other sustained a broken neck and other injuries, and almost didn't make it. Dealing with such a personal tragedy while trying to shine in her first studio film was difficult to say the least, but the support of the crew and the distraction of constant work saw her through the emotional hardship.
"The director Les Mayfield was so helpful, and everyone was so kind to me, because the crew knew my brother well, and they were like my big brothers," Megan said. "Whenever I was getting down, they were right there to help me get through the biggest challenge of my life - overcoming my brother's death, and being the lead in a feature film. I don't know how I did it. Then, after I did Encino Man, I went right into another film, and then right into a series, so I didn't let myself get down, or get out of the business. I was just able to keep going. It was, 'I gotta go, I gotta go. I can't let this get to me, I gotta go.'"
The next film, "Freaked" (1993), an oddball, little-seen special-effects-and-make-up-inundated comedy co-written, co-starring, and directed by Alex Winter was not released until after her series, "Class of '96" (1993) which was filmed at the University of Toronto, had begun airing on Fox. As Patty Horvath, a freshman drama major whose mother is a well-known actress, Megan flourished on the series.
"It's the thing that most people know me from," Megan said. "People think she's most like me. There was always an unconscious effort with Patty; it just came out of me. It was so clear; I just read the page, and I said it. Certainly I was acting, but I didn't need to put the same into it because it was all so there." Despite rave reviews unfortunately the series never built a large enough audience to sustain it beyond the first seasons seventeen episodes, but Megan had obviously caught the eye of producers and casting directors, because she immediately found work in "PCU" (1994), a Fox feature which was also filmed at the University of Toronto, and "Winnetka Road" (1994), an NBC series.
"PCU", a comedy about political correctness on college campuses co-stars Chris Young, Jeremy Piven, and David Spade. Loosely based on the producer and screenwriters' own experiences as undergraduates at ultra-crunchy Wesleyan University, "PCU", Megan said, "doesn't offend anybody, because it offends everybody." Indeed, every imaginable campus group - from Feminists to tie-dye-wearing, hacky-sacking Deadheads - is lampooned shamelessly.
In the entertainment industry, PC has been chic for years, and Megan has witnessed plenty firsthand. "As an actor, I'm surrounded by political correctness," she said, "because actors do things, they promote causes and raise money for organizations. But it's become almost mandatory; it's as if you're not really 'in' unless you have at least three causes on your resume - and there's nothing wrong with that. But when becoming part of a group overtakes the actual cause - to help people, or animals, or the environment, or whatever - I think that's when it becomes a little perverse."
"It's wonderful to do things to change," she continued, "but I'm only an actor. If my name can help people have a better understanding of a cause or need, that's wonderful, but I can't educate the world, and I can't take responsibility for that, either. And I think we're at a time when we need to look around us and see what the problems are, and to learn from the mistakes of the 1980s not to be selfish individuals and run up the national debt and just think about what kind of car we have or what kind of clothes we're wearing. I think that's the important thing about political correctness - that there are things to think about that don't involve ourselves, to be unselfish toward humanity. And when it becomes a selfish thing to become unselfish about humanity, that's when it becomes sordid."
On the heels of "PCU", Ward completed a guest spot in the first six episodes of Aaron Spelling's NBC series "Winnetka Road", a sort of "Knots Landing" for the 1990s, created by John Byrum and starring an ensemble cast that includes Ed Begley, Jr. and Meg Tilly. The series chronicled the ups and downs of the residents of Winnetka, an affluent Chicago suburb, and Oak Bluff, the town on the other side of the tracks. Megan's role, that of the femme fatale in a love triangle, is an important one for her, because it marks a transition in her career - for the first time, she played an "adult" character. The series unfortunately only lasted these six episodes with the final episode still remaining unaired.
Megan also starred in the film "Arcade" opposite Peter Billingsley and John DeLancie, and was also in the first independently produced film made in Hawaii called "Moon Over Paradise."
Moon Over Paradise
This is a poignant story about life, love and finding your identity. This critically acclaimed film is a combination of "The Joy Luck Club" and "Cheers." A sensitive portrait of the changing of a culture, the changing of the times and the changing of its people. "Moon Over Paradise" is about the small victories, the individual triumphs that we all hope and wish for... the ones that keep us going from day to day.
After two years without a break Megan took some time off during which she and her boyfriend of six years, were engaged. After the new year, she began to audition again.
Megan discovered that success had brought a few changes, and she had to start thinking differently about her career. Instead of taking any role, she now had to be more selective, which may mean being out of work longer than she would like. "The more successful I am, the harder it becomes," Megan admitted. "I'm going to have to accept that in order to have the career I want, I'm going to have to survive the insecurity, I'm going to have to survive unemployment. So far, it's been 'If people want me, I'll take the job. No question. I'll just do the best I can do at it, whether I think it's good or not, I'm just going to try my best.' But I'm getting to a point where I have to say, 'Is it good for my career? If I take this job, will it portray me in a good light? Will this make people think I can do other things? Will this stereotype me? Is this a bad movie? Will it hurt my career?' those things matter, and the best agents and managers and the smartest actors can predict."
Megan's next role was a guest star in the first season of the tv series "Party Of Five" playing the part of Jill Holbrook, a fun-loving coffee shop waitress. She appeared in nine episodes: 'Grownups', 'Not Fade Away', 'It's Not Easy Being Green', 'Aftershocks', 'In Loco Parentis, Who Cares', 'The Trouble With Charlie', 'All-Nighters', and 'The Ides Of March'. Her character died from a cocaine overdose in the last episode of season one.
Her next two roles were parts in "Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build A Bridge" (1995) playing Ashley Judd, and a minor part in "The Brady Bunch Movie" (1995). She also guest starred in an episode of "The Single Guy." Then along came two co-starring roles in the tv movie "Crimes Of Passion: Voice From the Grave" (1996) opposite Kevin Dobson and in MTV's first feature film "Joe's Apartment" (1996) playing opposite Jerry O'Connell.
Megan's most profile role was the lead in the NBC 1996 Sci-Fi TV series "Dark Skies" playing the part of Kimberly Sayers opposite Eric Close and J.T. Walsh. The series only last one season, but it wasn't long before she was cast in the film "Glory Daze" (1996) and then followed a guest starring role in the long running tv series "Melrose Place" (1997) playing Connie Rexroth. Megan was also cast in "Four Corners" (1998) playing the part of Kate Wyatt. During 1998 Megan guest starred in an episode of "Fantasy Island" before being cast as the lead in the tv movie Wes Craven's "Don't Look Down."
In 1999, Megan guest starred in an episode of "Jesse", "Friends" and two episodes of "Sport's Night." She also played the part of Melanie in the tv movie "Say You'll Be Mine."
The new millennium saw Megan star in the feature film "Rated X" and the lead role in the tv movie "Tick Tock." Despite the first film being the story of the Mitchell Brothers and a portrait of the early days of American pornography, Megan does not appear nude in the film, but she did get to do her first on-screen girl-on-girl kiss with Kristin Minter in "Tick Tock."
In 2001 Megan appeared in the pilot episode of the short lived tv series "All Souls", and followed the next year with the lead in the short film "Mirrorman" opposite Kristoffer Winters. She then moved onto a re-curing role in the innovative tv series "Boomtown" playing the part of Kelly Stevens. Despite the series receiving critical acclaim it was cancelled six episodes into its second season. The tv executives thought the series was too complicated for the American audience with it's innovative plotlines told differently from the perspective of each character, and so dumbed downed the second season, which in the process lost a lot of it's appeal. In the end it didn't matter since the show was cancelled with many of the remaining episodes left unaired until being blocked screened in late-night time-slots over several days.
In 2003/2004 Megan guest starred in no fewer than seven tv shows including "The West Wing", "C.S.I.", "Without A Trace", "Navy NCIS" and "Boston Legal." Megan was also the lead in the Hallmark tv movie "Murder Without Conviction" playing Christine Bennett. She also completed filming the feature film "Complete Guide To Guys" which was released on dvd in 2006, as well as two tv commercials for Dawn Power Dissolver and more recently Circuit City.
2005 saw Megan guest star in an episode of "C.S.I.: Miami", "ER" and "7th Heaven" as well as several episodes of "Sleeper Cell." She also completed filming on two films, an horror film entitled "The Invited" (working title "Dark Portal"), about a spirit board gone bad which also stars Pam Grier and Lou Diamond Phillips, and the film "Waking Dreams" about intergenerational conflicts in an Indian-American family.
In 2007 Megan joined the cast of "General Hospital" on a two-year contract role playing the character Kate Howard aka Connie Falkoneri - someone from Sonny's (Maurice Benard) past in Bensonhurst who resurfaces in his life in Port Charles. Her first airdate was Friday, 04 May. After her two-year contract ended the studio do not renew (along with several other cast members) and she was placed on non-contract recurring role basis.
2009 saw Megan guest star in an episode of "Ghost Whisperer" which aired January 2010, and she continued her recurring role on "General Hospital".
In 2010 Megan recorded DVD commentaries for the release of "Dark Skies" on DVD and the film "Waking Dreams" both scheduled for release in 2011. And she continued making guest appearances on "General Hospital".
In 2011 Megan guest starred in another episode of "C.S.I." this time playing a different character. Megan's character Kate Howard was recast on the soap "General Hospital" and is now being played by Kelly Sullivan.
Megan married her long-time boyfriend Michael Shore, who is a Toy Company Executive with a doctorate in organizational psychology, in 1995. They met at the Groundlings and Loft Studios when Megan was studying there.
They have two children, a son, Oliver, born in 2001, and a daughter, Audrey, born in 2006. Megan enjoys rollerblading, skiing, and most of all, renovating her 65-year-old home.