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'Tremors', 'Miami Blues' star Fred Ward passes away at 79, former co-star Kevin Bacon pens an emotional post

Bacon and Ward played on-screen pals in the cult monster-comedy film 'Tremors'

  • Swaroop Kodur

Last Updated: 05.42 AM, May 15, 2022

'Tremors',  'Miami Blues' star Fred Ward passes away at 79, former co-star Kevin Bacon pens an emotional post
Fred Ward (L) and Kevin Bacon

Fred Ward, known for his stoic and gruffly on-screen presence, has died. According to his publicist Ron Hofmann, Ward breathed his last on the 8th of May but as per the family wishes, the cause and place of death haven't been divulged. He was 79.

Born in San Diego in 1942, Fred Ward is known to have grown up under tough domestic and financial circumstances which, as many believed, shaped his personal character. Before his foray into the world of his films, Ward is reported to have had multiple and diverse jobs including lumberjacking, janitoring, and a three-year stint in the United States Air Force. He was also a trained boxer who lived with high fitness standards all along.

Ward's acting career began in Italian cinema as a dubbing and mime artist before he was cast in two of the legendary Robert Rossellini movies. He would soon return home to try his luck in the vibrant new wave of the Americal cinema of the '70s and be seen as a bit player in westerns and other genre films of the time. His first major role alongside the superstar of the time, Clint Eastwood, in the cult classic Escape from Alcatraz wherein he played one of the escapees John Anglin.

Owing to his resilient and tough exterior, Fred Ward mostly landed roles in action and other genre films like the 'Remo Williams' series, 'Timerider: The Adventures of Lyle Swann', 'Tremors', and 'Off Limits' among others. At the same time, Ward was acknowledged to be a highly capable dramatic actor and was seen displaying his subtlety in films like Philip Kaufman's erotica film 'Henry and June', Martin Campbell's 1992 HBO comedy 'Cast a Deadly Spell', Mike Nichols' 'Silkwood', and many more. His repertoire also includes many cop roles in films like 'Miami Blues' and 'Catch Fire' (directed by Dennis Hopper).

Many of Fred Ward's former co-stars and industry pals mourned his unfortunate passing through heartfelt social media posts. One among them came from his 'Tremors' costar Kevin Bacon who remembered Ward as a major Jazz aficionado - interestingly, Ward named his son Django Ward after the guitar legend Django Reinhardt. Both Bacon and Fred Ward, reportedly, reunited in 2018 to reprise their respective Tremors character for a TV pilot that, unfortunately, wasn't picked up.

Fred Ward's 'Short Cuts' and 'Equinox' costar Matthew Modine too shared an emotional post speaking about their mutual onset experiences. Richard E. Grant, Ward's 'Henry and June' co-star also tweeted about him and said that Ward was a "true officer and a Gentleman".