Fred Ward, the versatile actor who played an astronaut in “The Right Stuff,” a gray drifter in “Tremors” and the titular writer in “Henry and June” over a decades-long career, died on Sunday. He was 79.
His publicist, Ron Hoffman, confirmed his death. He did not specify the cause of death.
“The unique thing about Fred Ward is that you never knew where he would appear, that’s how unpredictable his career choices were,” Hoffman said in a statement.
Ward was probably best known for his performances in “The Right Stuff,” the critically acclaimed film adaptation of a 1983 book by Tom Wolfe, and “Tremors,” a monster movie that has achieved cult following since its release in 1990.
But his long career encompassed a wide variety of roles in which he applied a sometimes gruff but almost always grounded charisma to roles on film and TV: including a union activist in ‘Silkwood’, a detective in ‘Miami Blues’, Henry Miller in ‘Henry and June” and a motorcycle racer in “Timerider: The Adventures of Lyle Swann.”
Mr. Ward also starred in “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins,” which was intended to be the first in a series, but fared poorly in theaters in 1985 and received mixed reviews.
In an interview with DailyExpertNews in 1990, Mr. Ward explained how he chose some of the roles, saying, “I’m looking for change, a person who changes – he’s on a journey.”
He said he was drawn to the role of Henry Miller because, “I’m part of a generation that, I think, was heavily influenced by Henry Miller, Paris, the ideals there: liberation, a kind of personal and benevolent anarchy that sings through all its pages.”
He leaves behind his wife, Marie-France Ward, and his son, Django Ward.