Actor Fred Ward, a cult hero for his work on movies such as Tremors – and who also enjoyed a healthy career in the award-winning likes of The Right Stuff – has died. He was 79.
Freddie Joe Ward was born in San Diego in 1942. Following a three-year stint in the Air Force, he developed an interest an acting and studied at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York. His studies complete, Ward headed to Europe, where he helped dub Italian films into English.
His first TV role was in miniseries The Age Of The Medici in 1973, where he played Niccolò de Conti. And his career on the small screen has encompassed a huge swathe of series, including memorable turns in ER, Leverage, and Invasion Earth.
Movie-wise, he won a big fanbase for his work opposite Kevin Bacon in 1990 creature feature Tremors which, while it was somewhat swallowed by the competition at the box office, became a home video and cable TV favourite, spawning several sequels (though Ward only returned for one of them).
He was a reliable genre star for the likes of Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins and a man whose character acting versatility saw him share the screen with many and varied other performers in films including The Right Stuff, Silkwood, The Player, Short Cuts and Henry & June.
Supporting roles were often his forte, and he stole scenes in movies such as Sweet Home Alabama, Road Trip and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult.
Ward is survived by his wife of 27 years, Marie-France Ward, and his son Django Ward.