Fred Ward of ‘Tremors’ and ‘The Right Stuff’ dies at 79

(NEXSTAR) — Actor Fred Ward, whose credits include “Tremors,” “Escape From Alcatraz” and “The Right Stuff,” has died at the age of 79, his publicist has confirmed.

Ward died on May 8, according to a statement provided by his publicist Ron Hoffman, although no cause of death was released. He is survived by his wife and son.

Ward’s film and television career spanned five decades, with roles in everything from historical dramas to goofy comedies and creature features.

Some of Ward’s memorable early roles included “Escape From Alcatraz,” opposite Clint Eastwood, and “The Right Stuff,” in which he played astronaut Gus Grissom. Ward also had starring roles in ‘Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann’ and ‘Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins’, playing the two titular characters.

He then starred in the cult horror-comedy “Tremors,” as well as the biographical drama (and first-ever NC-17-rated movie) “Henry & June,” playing author Henry Miller. He also appeared in “The Player” and Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts”, the latter of which earned him special honor at the 1994 Golden Globes along with the rest of the ensemble cast.

Ward’s most recent roles included appearances on “United States of Tara”, “True Detective”, and “In Plain Sight”.

“The unique thing about Fred Ward is that you never knew where he was going to show up, his career choices were so unpredictable,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman added that Ward spent his final years painting, calling it his “second favorite art form.”

He also said the actor wished his fans make a donation at the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center in lieu of tributes.

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