It’s a sad day in Hollywood as veteran actor Fred Ward has died. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the Tremors franchise star passed away on Sunday with his death confirmed by his publicist. It’s not clear how he passed, as the family opted not to disclose Ward’s cause of death. He was 79 years old.
Bornon Dec. 30, 1942, Ward was a United States Air Force veteran who got his start in acting in the 1970s. He began with dubbing Italian films before making his big screen debut in Sissy Spacek’s Ginger in the Morning in 1974. Going on to appear in TV shows of the era like Quincy, M.E. and The Incredible Hulk, Ward stood out with his role in the popular 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz with Clint Eastwood.
In 1983, Ward took on one of his more acclaimed roles as Gus Grissom in the historical drama The Right Stuff, a Best Picture nominee at the Academy Awards. Ward is also known for appearing in the 1993 film Short Cuts for which he received a Golden Globe as part of the ensemble cast. The actor also starred as the titular hero in the 1985 action movie Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. His many other film roles include Henry & June with Uma Thurman, Cast a Deadly Spell with Julianne Moore, Joe Dirt with David Spade, and Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon. He last appeared in the HBO series True Detective in 2015.
Fred Ward May Be Best Known for Tremors
Horror fans fondly remember Fred Ward for his role as Earl Bassett in the cult classic 1990 film Tremors. After starring in the original film alongside Kevin Bacon, Ward reprised his role for the first sequel in the long-running horror series, Tremors II: Aftershocks. In 2018, it was reported that Ward would reprise his role alongside Bacon for a television series spinoff tied to the first Tremors film. Unfortunately for horror fans, Syfy declined to move forward with that series. Last year, Bacon said he was still trying to get a new Tremors follow-up made.
“We were around the 25-year anniversary,” Bacon said of rebooting Tremors, which would have reunited him with Ward. “I went to Blumhouse, and they were totally into the idea. Universal didn’t want to remake it as a feature and also maybe because it didn’t work as a feature the first time. So we put it aside. Then they came back to me and said, ‘What would you think about doing it as a series?'”
Still hopeful for the reunion, Bacon added, “I would still love to do it, believe me. Maybe it needs to be the 30th anniversary or the 35th. We’ll keep going.”
Fred Ward had been married three times in his life, and his survivors include his wife of 37 years, Marie-France Ward, along with his son, Django. Our condolences go out to the family as well as all of Ward’s friends and loved ones at this time. May he rest in peace. According to his rep, Ward’s last wish was for any memorial tributes to be made to Boston University’s Traumatic Encephalopathy Center.
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