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Tremors Star Fred Ward Dies At 79
Acclaimed character actor Fred Ward has passed away, leaving behind an understated legacy of excellent performances in Tremors and many other films.

Tremors Star Fred Ward Dies At 79

Esteemed character actor Fred Ward has passed away at the age of 79. Born in San Diego, Ward’s tough-guy persona in many on-screen roles like Earl Basset from Tremors drew from real-life experience in the United States Air Force, in the ring as a boxer, in Alaska as a lumberjack, and the kitchen as a short-order cook. His work in the film industry began in Rome during his 20s, where he dubbed Italian films into English and acted in projects by director Roberto Rossellini, eventually studying at the Herbert Berghof Studio.

Upon returning to the United States, Ward got his first significant role in Don Siegel’s Escape from Alcatraz as a prison escapee alongside Clint Eastwood. He would star in other Hollywood films like Southern Comfort, Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann, and as real-life astronaut Gus Grissom in The Right Stuff. Arguably, some of his more beloved roles came about in the ’90s in films like Henry & June, Tremors, and The Player, and in recent years, Ward has been prominent on TV.

Rolling Stone’s Chief TV Critic, Alan Sepinwall, reports that Ward’s storied career has ended, having passed away on May 8, 2022, at age 79. The actor’s publicist details his life’s journey, emphasizing Ward’s versatility as a character actor who made unpredictable career choices and took seemingly random roles. The dispatch highlights several other key performances, including Short Cuts, Miami Blues, and The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult. Check out the post below:

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Although Ward’s career slowed in his later years, appearing in the often-disregarded True Detective season 2 and one-off roles in a few TV shows, the publicist does an admirable job showcasing Ward’s filmography of dramatically different but consistently intriguing characters. The post also mentions that Ward took up painting in the last years of his life and now leaves behind his wife, Marie-France Ward, and a son, Django Ward. While fans may no longer get to see Fred’s dynamic personality and strong jaw on the silver screen, there is hope that his legacy will live on in the form of his family.

Ward’s passing is tragic news, particularly for horror fans hoping to see him in the now-canceled Tremors TV reboot and what was likely Ward’s most iconic role. And while he never achieved the leading man status offered to him in the box office flop Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins and HBO’s Cast a Deadly Spell, he was always a memorable character actor that put on a commanding performance but whose name eluded the casual viewer. His experience and commitment made Ward an underrated Hollywood actor, and perhaps his passing will compel audiences to seek out more of his quality work. Per Fred Ward’s wish, people may make memorial tributes as donations to the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center.

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