Fred Ward: The Right Stuff and Tremors actor dies at 79

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Fred Ward (Getty Images for AFI)
Fred Ward (Getty Images for AFI)

Fred Ward, star of films such as The Right Stuff and Tremors, has died, aged 79.

The actor’s publicist confirmed that he died on Sunday (8 May).

Ward’s professional film career began in the 1970s with minor roles in American and Italian pictures.

His first major movie billing came in 1979 with the Clint Eastwood-directed Escape from Alcatraz, in which he played escapee John Anglin.

Ward took on another major role in 1983 when he starred as astronaut Gus Grissom in the epic historical film The Right Stuff, alongside Ed Harris and Dennis Quaid.

Other memorable film roles include playing Earl Bassett in the monster vehicle Tremors and the erotic writer Henry Miller in Henry & June with Uma Thurman.

He also appeared with Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Jason Leigh in his self-produced film Miami Blues, playing police officer Hoke Moseley.

Fred Ward (right) and wife Marie France Ward in 2004 (Getty Images)
Fred Ward (right) and wife Marie France Ward in 2004 (Getty Images)

Ward also appeared in several television shows throughout his career.

In 2006, he played Denny Duquette Sr in Grey’s Anatomy. The following year, he portrayed the father of Maura Tierney’s Abby Lockhart in ER and, more recently, Ward lended his talents to the second season of HBO’s True Detective as the father of Colin Farrell’s Ray Velcoro.

Ward’s wife, Marie-France Ward and his son Django (from a previous marriage) survive him.

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