Fred Ward - Tremors/Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins
 
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Updated: 5/31/22

Name: Fred Ward

Birth Name: Freddie Joe Ward

Born: December 30, 1942 in San Diego, California, USA Died: May 8, 2022 (age 79) in USA

Claim To Fame: Fred Ward was an American actor and producer know for starring in a wide range of films like Escape from Alcatraz, The Right Stuff, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Tremors, Henry & June, The Player, and Short Cuts.

Family Life: His first marriage, to Carla Evonne Stewart in 1965, ended in divorce the following year. His second marriage was to Silvia Ward, with whom he had a son, Django. After they divorced, he married Marie-France Boisselle in 1995 and she filed for divorce in August 2013, but they reconciled later that year.

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Info: He was part Cherokee.

Was the son of Juanita Iown (Flemister) and Fred Frazier Ward; parents separated when he was three. Mother remarried, to a man who worked in a carnival, and the family moved frequently.

Ward spent three years in the United States Air Force.

He was also a boxer; breaking his nose three times.

Worked as a lumberjack, a janitor, and a short-order cook.

He studied acting at New York's Herbert Berghof Studio after serving in the U.S. Air Force.

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Trivia: While in Italy, he dubbed Italian movies and worked as a mime until he made his debut in two Roberto Rossellini films.

Upon returning stateside in the early 1970s, Ward spent time working in experimental theatre and doing some television work.

He made his first American film appearance playing a cowboy in Hearts of the West (1975).

His first major role came in the Clint Eastwood vehicle Escape from Alcatraz (1979) as fellow escapee John Anglin.

His first starring role was in a motion picture Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982).

In 1983, Ward starred as astronaut Gus Grissom in The Right Stuff.

Ward played the title hero in the action movie Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985), which was directed by Guy Hamilton. The film was supposed to be the first of a series based on The Destroyer series of novels. Though the movie was well promoted and he appeared on several movie magazine covers, it was not a box office hit. It is an awesome movie - please seek it out!

In 1990, Ward starred as Earl Bassett, with Kevin Bacon as Valentine McKee, in the cult classic monster movie Tremors - which is damn-near movie perfection! He later reprised the role of Earl in the direct-to-video sequel Tremors II: Aftershocks (1996).

After playing private detective H.P. Lovecraft in the 1991 HBO film Cast a Deadly Spell alongside Julianne Moore, Ward co-starred in the thriller Thunderheart, the Hollywood satire The Player, and the mystery-drama Equinox.

Ward played fisherman Stuart Kane in the Robert Altman film Short Cuts (1993); for which the whole ensemble won a Golden Globe and the Special Volpi Cup.

In 1994, Ward was nominated for a CableACE Award for Supporting Actor in a Movie or Miniseries for the TV western-comedy Four Eyes and Six Guns.

Signed on for a TV pilot for the drama Georgetown with Helen Mirren, but the series was never made.

In 2001, Ward was nominated for a Video Premiere Award as the best male actor for the direct-to-video-production Full Disclosure.

Ward played Ronald Reagan in the French political thriller L'affaire Farewell (2009).

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Where Are They Now: Ward passed away on May 8, 2022, at age 79; his family declined to cite a cause.

I've been a huge fan of Ward for years. From Thunderheart and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult to Road Trip and Joe Dirt. He was such a great actor and entertainer. He could be tough, funny, and kind, often at the same time.

His biggest impact on me was with two classic movies, technically three: Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Tremors and Tremors II: Aftershocks.

With Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Ward played a somewhat reluctant hero that becomes a "blue-collar James Bond". It's his physicality and humorous relationship with his training and handler Chiun (Joel Grey), the Master of Sinanju, that made Ward standout to me. The sequence where he is pursued on the outside of the Statue of Liberty is tense, fun, and action-packed! You've got to see it to believe it!

But Ward's most endearing role was that of Earl Bassett, half of the handy-man duo along with Valentine McKee (Kevin Bacon), in the 1990 cult classic Tremors. I love this movie! It's pretty much a perfect movie that never gets old, is always funny, and it was one of those movies that my dad and I could watch and talk about for hours. Ward and Bacon are so good together. They seem like a couple of guys that you'd have a great time with whether you're drinking a few beers or battling underground worm-monsters. Ward is excellent as the older member of the pair trying desperately to offer some wisdom to Bacon's immature, impetuous Val. Their chemistry really makes the movie, but along with excellent writing, solid direction, interesting character and actors to play them, wondrous locations, and the monstrous Graboids, Tremors is a great time whether you're in the mood to laugh, scream, or be entertained by one of the best movies ever made!

Fred, thank you for all of the wonderful characters, hours of entertainment, and the all of great times watching and laughing. RIP Fred Ward!

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