Fred Ward, the veteran character actor best known for his diverse roles in “Tremors,” “The Right Stuff” and Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts,” has died. He was 79.
A rep for the “Exit Speed” star confirmed to The Post that he died last weekend.
“I am sad to announce the passing of acclaimed actor Fred Ward, who passed away on Sunday, May 8, 2022, at age 79,” the statement read.
“The Golden Globe winner, actor and producer is best known for ‘The Right Stuff,’ ‘Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins,’ ‘Tremors,’ ‘Miami Blues,’ ‘Henry & June,’ ‘The Player’ and ‘Short Cuts.’”
Ward’s rep Ron Hofmann told The Post his cause of death would not be revealed at this time — but they did share his last wishes:
“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. Please visit https://bit.ly/BUSMCTE or contact 617-358-9535 for more information.”
Ward spent the last years of his life developing his second-favorite art form — painting, his rep said.
Fred Ward and Joel Grey in “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.”Orion Pictures The family will not be disclosing the cause of death, his rep said.FilmMagic Fred Ward and Whoopi Goldberg in “The Player.”Everett Collection Fred Ward starred in “Tremors” (1990) alongside Kevin Bacon.Universal Pictures
He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Marie-France Ward, and his son, Django Ward.
News of his passing circulated Friday on Twitter with Rolling Stone editor Alan Sepinwall calling out Ward’s beloved cult status.
“RIP, Fred Ward, a great character actor whose big shot at leading man status, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, unfortunately flopped, but who kept giving great, lived-in performances for the rest of his career,” he wrote.
Fred Ward at the “Feast of Love” premiere in 2007.FilmMagic Keanu Reeves and Fred Ward in 1988’s “The Prince of Pennsylvania.”Everett Collection Anne Archer and Fred Ward in “Short Cuts.”Everett Collection
Film critic Robert Daniels also shared condolences, writing: “Fred Ward was absurdly good. A professional in everything he did from TREMORS to THE PLAYER. He could even turn in a great performance is something as patently dumb as JOE DIRT. Totally underrated.”
Ward began his career in 1979 alongside Clint Eastwood as his jailbreak buddy in “Escape From Alcatraz.” Before his breakout role, the San Diego native performed in cabarets in Europe and Northern Africa, Turner Classic Movies reported, before making his way to Los Angeles, where he supported himself by selling jewelry on the street.
Ward (left) in “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.”©Orion Pictures Corp/Courtesy E Fred Ward as Remo Williams.©Orion Pictures Corp/Courtesy E
RIP, Fred Ward, a great character actor whose big shot at leading man status, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, unfortunately flopped, but who kept giving great, lived-in performances for the rest of his career. pic.twitter.com/X3NnD3PgnX
— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) May 13, 2022
After his “Alcatraz” success, he went on to star in “Southern Comfort” (1981), “Timerider: The Adventures of Lyle Swann” (1982) and “Uncommon Valor” (1983).
After working in television throughout the ’80s and ’90s, he landed a role alongside Kevin Bacon in “Tremors” and starred in its sequel, “Tremors II: Aftershocks.” He also starred in fan favorites such as “Exit Speed,” “Joe Dirt” and “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Randall “Tex” Cobb, Patrick Swayze, Fred Ward, Reb Brown, Gene Hackman, Tim Thomerson and Harold Sylvester in “Uncommon Valor.”Getty Images Fred Ward and his wife, Marie-France Ward, in 2002.Getty Images Fred Ward and Morgan Freeman at the “Feast of Love” premiere in 2007.WireImage Leslie Nielsen, Kathleen Freeman, Fred Ward and Anna Nicole Smith in “Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult.”Paramount Pictures Fred Ward and Jennifer Lopez in 2002’s “Enough.”Columbia Pictures
Ward also starred in “Miami Blues” (1990) alongside co-stars Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Jason Leigh and played Jennifer Lopez’s long-lost father in 2002’s “Enough.”
His latest buzzy role was in two episodes of the hit HBO series “True Detective.”