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Fri May 13, 2022, 11:43 AM

Actor Fred Ward dies. He had the right stuff in movies from 'Tremors' to 'The Player'

Source: NPR

Actor Fred Ward has died, according to his publicist, Ron Hofmann.

The star, who brought gentlemanly gruffness to films that included The Right Stuff, Tremors, Henry and June and The Player died Sunday, May 8 at the age of 79. No cause of death was given.

Ward brought reservoirs of tenderness to his tough guy roles, and plenty of street credibility. A former boxer, lumberjack and short-order cook who served in the U.S. Air Force, Ward went to acting school and got his start when he moved to Rome as a young man and worked as a mime, then a voice-over actor. That led to a few appearances in TV productions by Italian neorealist pioneer Roberto Rossellini, and then Hollywood. Ward made his U.S. movie debut as a convict in the Clint Eastwood movie Escape from Alcatraz in 1979.

"The unique thing about Fred Ward is that you never knew where he was going to pop up, so unpredictable were his career choices," Hofmann wrote in an email. "He could play such diverse characters as Remo Williams, a cop trained by Chiun, Master of Sinanju (Joel Grey) to become an unstoppable assassin in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, or Earl Bass, who, alongside Kevin Bacon, battle giant, worm-like monsters hungry for human flesh in 'cult' horror/comedy film, Tremors (1990), or a detective in the indie film Two Small Bodies (1993) directed by underground filmmaker Beth B., or a terrorist planning to blow up the Academy Awards in The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994), or the father of the lead character in Jennifer Lopez's revenge thriller Enough (2002)."

Read more: https://www.npr.org/2022/05/13/1098760992/actor-fred-ward-dies



Most people knew him best from Tremors, but his role as Gus Grissom in The Right Stuff was top notch excellent acting.

Portrayed Grissom as an almost tragic, anguished character whose flight--sandwiched between Alan Shepard and John Glenn's--suffered from lack of fanfare that was given to the others, and the sinking of his capsule at splashdown (which ultimately was determined not to have been his fault) cast a further shadow over the mission.

There's a scene between Grissom and his wife back at the hotel after his flight where he breaks down because people are unjustly blaming him for the loss of the capsule that always gets me every time. You can't help but feel for Grissom, and Fred Ward really nailed it.

Can't find that scene, but here's the splashdown scene:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?vJZvXdQxzLwg

RIP to a talented actor.

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Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply Actor Fred Ward dies. He had the right stuff in movies from 'Tremors' to 'The Player' (Original post)
Tommy Carcetti May 13 OP
obamanut2012 May 13 #1
Midnight Writer May 13 #2
Ray Bruns May 13 #9
bedazzled May 13 #19
OldBaldy1701E May 13 #23
John1956PA May 13 #3
OldBaldy1701E May 13 #24
ellie May 13 #4
Ohio Joe May 13 #5
Baitball Blogger May 13 #6
MuseRider May 13 #7
Cracklin Charlie May 13 #8
Paladin May 13 #10
keopeli May 13 #11
efhmc May 13 #21
ZonkerHarris May 13 #12
C Moon May 13 #13
Aristus May 13 #14
Tommy Carcetti May 13 #15
Aristus May 13 #16
Tommy Carcetti May 13 #17
bedazzled May 13 #20
kairos12 May 13 #18
xocetaceans May 13 #22
gay texan May 13 #25
BootinUp May 13 #28
betsuni May 13 #26
BootinUp May 13 #27

Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 11:48 AM

1. LOve him -- esp in The Right Stuff and Remo Williams

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 11:52 AM

2. Sorry to see this. Fred Ward was always one of my favorites.

As I understand it, Remo Williams was supposed to be the launch of a big budget film franchise along the lines of the James Bond films, but after the first film tanked at the box office, no further films were produced.

Tremors was my favorite of his. A small, sleeper film that did very well and is still watched a lot today.

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Response to Midnight Writer (Reply #2)

Fri May 13, 2022, 12:35 PM

9. Tremors is one of my guilty pleasures. Seem to watch it every time it is on.

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Response to Midnight Writer (Reply #2)

Fri May 13, 2022, 02:07 PM

19. I thought it was charming

Can't figure why it tanked

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Response to Midnight Writer (Reply #2)

Fri May 13, 2022, 06:41 PM

23. You are correct.

I always felt that there were plenty of problems with that movie, but Fred Ward was NOT one of them.

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 12:02 PM

3. Miami Blues" (1990) with Fred Ward and rising star Alec Baldwin.

A movie which tests the viewer's tolerance to graphically portrayed crime.

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Response to John1956PA (Reply #3)

Fri May 13, 2022, 06:42 PM

24. A brilliant movie.

Of course, it kind of typecast Jennifer Jason Leigh for a bit there, because she was good in that film. And Alec was very creepy.

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 12:09 PM

4. I love him!

He shared a birthday with my mom. RIP Fred.

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 12:11 PM

5. One of my favorite character actors...

Very sad... RIP

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 12:22 PM

6. He had great chemistry with Katie Reilly in Tremors 2.

Both so lanky they could have switched corduroys.

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 12:22 PM

7. He was so good.

This is sad to see. I always enjoyed him.

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 12:32 PM

8. Wasn't he Joe Dirt's dad?

I thought he was a good actor.

RIP

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 12:35 PM

10. Fine actor. RIP. (nt)

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 12:40 PM

11. RIP Mr. Ward. (photo)



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Response to keopeli (Reply #11)

Fri May 13, 2022, 02:19 PM

21. Thank you. As with many not so big name actor I did not know the name but the face yes.

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 01:09 PM

12. another great role as the Movie Studio Security Chief in THE PLAYER

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 01:15 PM

13. I loved that film Tremors. RIP, sir.

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 01:17 PM

14. A fine character actor.

Character actors have to take gigs when they get them. But I always thought his skills were wasted in the teen sex comedy "Secret Admirer".

His performance as Gus Grissom is one for the ages. I'm glad "The Right Stuff" ended before depicting the Apollo 1 fire. Fred Ward would have broken every heart in the audience with Grissom's tragic death.

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Response to Aristus (Reply #14)

Fri May 13, 2022, 01:24 PM

15. Even the brief mention of his death in the voiceover epilogue makes your heart sink.

It's possible Grissom might have been the first man on the moon if he hadn't died.

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Reply #15)

Fri May 13, 2022, 01:29 PM

16. You're right about that.

I'm in the strange position of being Southern born-and-raised, but finding a lot of Southern accents grating. This is not true of Levon Helm, who did the narration, and played Yeager's friend Ridley. I just love his Arkansas accent. Helm brought so much warmth and good cheer to the film.

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Response to Aristus (Reply #16)

Fri May 13, 2022, 01:34 PM

17. In my opinion, it's one of the very few perfect films I've ever seen.

The acting, the music, the cinematography especially, as well as the fine balance between drama and humor--it just pulls it off so magnificently.

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Response to Aristus (Reply #16)

Fri May 13, 2022, 02:09 PM

20. I loved him in that too

He was a major talent

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 01:39 PM

18. "Tremors and The Right Stuff." Really memorable. RIP.

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 03:40 PM

22. RIP, Fred Ward.

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 06:50 PM

25. NO!!!!!

"Remo Williams" is one of my alltime faves!

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Response to gay texan (Reply #25)

Fri May 13, 2022, 09:14 PM

28. Assassination is the highest form of public service, lol.

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 07:22 PM

26. He was a really good Henry Miller.

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Response to Tommy Carcetti (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 09:13 PM

27. Damn, I enjoyed your work immensely Fred.

Cross gently.

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