Fred Ward, a veteran actor who brought a gruff endearment to tough roles in the films Tremors, The Right Stuff and The Player, has died. He was 79.
Ard died on Sunday, his publicist Ron Hofmann announced on Friday. At the request of the family, no cause or place of death was disclosed.
Ward was a former boxer, Alaskan lumberjack, and short-term cook who served in the US Air Force. Ward was from San Diego and part of the Cherokee. He had an early major role opposite Clint Eastwood in 1979’s Escape From Alcatraz.
Ward received a Golden Globe and shared the Venice Film Festival Ensemble Award for his performance in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts and as the title character in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. He also reached new heights when he played Mercury 7 astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom in the Oscar-nominated 1983 film The Right Stuff.
In the horror comedy Tremors, Ward stars with Kevin Bacon as two mechanics who end up saving a hard-fought Nevada desert community plagued by giant subterranean snakes.
Bacon responded to the news of Ward’s death by tweeting: “So sad to hear from Fred Ward. When it came to fighting underground worms, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. I will always remember talking about his love for Django Reinhardt and jazz guitar during our long, hot days in the high desert. Rest in peace Fred.”
So sad to hear from Fred Ward. When it came to fighting underground worms, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. I will always remember talking about his love for Django Reinhardt and jazz guitar during our long, hot days in the high desert. Rest in peace Fred. pic.twitter.com/WLOB0iVwkd
— Kevin Bacon (@kevinbacon) May 13, 2022
Ward’s other roles included a wrinkled cop in pursuit of a psychotic criminal, played by Alec Baldwin in George Armitage’s Miami Blues.
Ward played President Ronald Reagan in the 2009 Cold War spy thriller Farewell and had a supporting role in the 2013 action film 2 Guns, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.
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He also reunited with Altman for the role of a studio security chief in the director’s 1992 Hollywood satire The Player, and played a labor activist and Meryl Streep’s co-worker in Mike Nichols’ 1983 Silkwood.
On the small screen, he has had recurring roles on NBC’s ER, where he played the father of Maura Tierney’s Abby Lockhart in 2006-2007, and has made guest appearances on shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Leverage and United States of Tara.
Most recently, Ward appeared in the second season of the HBO series True Detective as the retired cop father of Colin Farrell’s detective Ray Velcoro.
Ward is survived by his 27-year-old wife, Marie-France Ward, and son, Django Ward.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/actor-fred-ward-of-tremors-and-the-right-stuff-fame-dies-aged-79-41648883.html Tremors and The Right Stuff actor Fred Ward has died aged 79