'Tremors' And 'The Right Stuff' Star Fred Ward Dead At 79

'Tremors' And 'The Right Stuff' Star Fred Ward Dead At 79

The famed character actor also starred in several episodes of 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Leverage'.

Fred Ward, a veteran character actor with over 40 years of experience in film and television, has died, according to his publicist Ron Hofmann. He was 79 years old. Details including the cause and location of death have not been shared, respecting his family's wishes. The Golden Globe winner who has been married three times is survived by his wife of 27 years, Marie-France Ward, and son Django Ward.



Ward started acting in the early 1970s, following three years of service in the U.S. Air Force. He's also worked various jobs including as a lumberjack in Alaska, a boxer, and a short-order cook. Over the course of his career, the character actor took up several diverse roles which showcased his range when it came to acting. "The unique thing about Fred Ward is that you never knew where he was going to pop up, so unpredictable were his career choices," Hofmann told NPR. "He could play such diverse characters as Remo Williams, a cop trained by Chiun, Master of Sinanju (Joel Grey) to become an unstoppable assassin in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins." 



Ward started off in film with 1974's Ginger in the Morning after appearing on television and later went on to appear in series like Quincy, M.E., and The Incredible Hulk. The actor later appeared in The Right Stuff (1983), Henry & June (1990), Tremors (1990), and its 1996 sequel. Ward was also featured in Southern Comfort (1981), Swing Shift (1984), UFOria (1985), Secret Admirer (1985), The Prince of Pennsylvania (1988), Bob Roberts (1992), Road Trip (2000), Joe Dirt (2001), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), The Wild Stallion (2009) and 2 Guns (2013). The actor's last onscreen appearance was as Eddie Velcoro on True Detective in 2015.



“Ward has played many heroes, each with a subtlety that removed them from the cardboard cutout figures that they could have been,” the Chicago Tribune’s Julia Cameron wrote in a 1985 profile of the actor according to The Hollywood Reporter. “In many ways, his work, like that of Robert Duvall, can be viewed as a meditation on America’s notions of masculinity.” According to CNN, Ward, who is also an artist, spent his creative talent on painting in recent times. "It was Fred Ward's wish that any memorial tributes be made in the form of donations to the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center," Hofmann shared, per PEOPLE. "Please visit trusted.bu.edu or contact (617) 358-9535 for more information."


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