Before acting, Fred Dryer played football for 14 years. In college, Dryer played for the Aztecs of San Diego State University. Dryer started his professional career on the football field when he was first drafted by the New York Giants (1969) and later by the Los Angeles Rams (1972); he retired in 1981.
In 1979, he began studying acting with actress and acting coach Nina Foch. His first important role was in The Starmaker, where he played Melanie Griffith's stepfather. In 1982, Fred auditioned for Cheers - being one of the 3 finalists, he lost the male lead to actor Ted Danson. Later, he made several guest appearances on the show as Dave Richards, Sam's former Boston Red Sox teammate turned sportscaster. In 1984, Fred was chosen to play the leading role of the TV series Hunter: LAPD Homicide Detective Sergeant Richard Hunter, who, being on air for 6 years, turned him a worldwide famous actor.
After Hunter, he started his company Fred Dryer Productions, and since then he has been producing his own projects (like the TV series Land's End and the movie Highway 395), besides appearing as guest star in several TV shows.
Fred got married in 1983 to actress and Playboy centerfold Tracy Vaccaro; they divorced in 1988. Fred and Tracy have one daughter, Caitlin Dryer, who was born on April 12, 1984. Fred lives in Los Angeles.