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Boxer Micky Ward's mother fighting for her life

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aliceward.png                                    Melissa Leo as Alice Ward in "The Fighter"

Lowell-bred brawler Micky Ward has curtailed his promotion of "The Fighter" because his mother is fighting for her own life in a Boston hospital. Eighty-year-old Alice Ward, the steely matriarch memorably played by Melissa Leo in the boxer biopic starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, went into cardiac arrest Wednesday and stopped breathing for more than 30 minutes. We're told doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital worked frantically to revive Ward, and she was eventually placed on life support. Micky rushed home from New York, where he was doing press for "The Fighter," and joined half-brother Dicky Eklund, their sisters, and several grandchildren at Ward's bedside. Remarkably, the boxer's mom, who's been in failing health for the past few years, regained consciousness and is now able to speak. "She was dead for almost an hour and today she's ... doing so well," a family member wrote on Facebook. "The nurse said she's never seen anything like this in the eight years she's been working (at Brigham and Women's.)" Alice Ward, who used to manage her son's career, is portrayed in director David O. Russell's film as a fierce, sometimes foul-mouthed defender of her children. While she wasn't thrilled with the way she comes across in the movie, she confided to friends that she feared it would be worse. Leo, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 2009 for "Frozen River," is almost certain to get an Oscar nod for "The Fighter." (She's already been nominated for a Golden Globe for the role.) In a recent interview, the 50-year-old actress said she understands and respects Alice Ward. "She dressed in white when she went to the fights because it would show up on TV," said Leo. "Bless her heart, she wanted to make something out of those boys and it's a mean-ass game. I admire her so much."

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This blog features the latest local and national celebrity news from The Boston Globe's Names column team. Check back for the latest updates.
Mark Shanahan joined The Boston Globe in 2003, having worked previously at the Portland Press Herald, where he covered City Hall, and the Lewiston Sun-Journal, where he was the education reporter. A Northampton native and graduate of Bates College, Shanahan enjoys the usual - books, music, movies, etc. - as well as the unusual.
shanahan@globe.com
Follow on Twitter: @GlobeNames, @MarkAShanahan
Meredith Goldstein has worked for the Globe since 2003, covering everything from nightlife to New Kids. She keeps her eyes peeled for celebrity juice, and also writes Love Letters, a Boston.com blog for hopeful (and hopeless) romantics. Meredith chats about love problems every Wednesday at 1 p.m. If you see Justin Timberlake or someone like him at a local eatery, please e-mail her immediately. mgoldstein@globe.com
Follow on Twitter: @GlobeNames, @MeredithGoldste

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