Fred Ward, a veteran actor who brought gruff sensitivity to tough-guy roles, has died 79-year-old.
Ward died on Sunday, according to his spokesman. Per family wishes, no cause or location of death was published.
Ward was a San Diego native and part-Cherokee boxer, lumberjack, and Air Force short-order cook. Early roles included Escape From Alcatraz with Clint Eastwood.
Ward won a Golden Globe and shared the Venice Film Festival ensemble prize for his role in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts. In the 1983 Academy Award-nominated film The Right Stuff, he played Mercury 7 astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom.
In the horror-comedy Tremors, Ward and Kevin Bacon portray two mechanics who save a Nevada desert village plagued by gigantic underground snakes.
Bacon tweeted, “So heartbroken about Fred Ward. I couldn’t have asked for a better worm-fighting partner. During our sweltering desert days, we talked about Django Reinhardt and jazz guitar. Fred, rest in peace.
So sad to hear about Fred Ward. When it came to battling underground worms I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. I will always remember chatting about his love of 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
In George Armitage’s Miami Blues, Ward plays a ragged officer hunting a deranged criminal played by Alec Baldwin.
President Ronald Reagan in the 2009 Cold War spy thriller Farewell, and a supporting role in Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg’s 2013 action film 2 Guns
He also appeared in Altman’s 1992 Hollywood comedy The Player and Mike Nichols’ 1983 film Silkwood.
On TV, he played Abby Lockhart’s father on NBC’s ER from 2006-to 2007 and guest-starred on Grey’s Anatomy, Leverage, and United States of Tara.
Ward most recently starred in HBO’s True Detective as Detective Ray Velcoro’s father.
Ward is survived by his wife Marie-France and son Django.
“Tremors” and “The Right Stuff” actor Fred Ward has died at 79. pic.twitter.com/Nt4KKmhbQj
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 14, 2022