Famed character actor Fred Ward, who appeared in films on television over a four-decade career, died over the weekend, according to his publicist.
Ron Hofmann confirmed to entertainment magazine Variety that the Golden Globe-winning actor died on May 8 at the age of 79. No cause of death was revealed as per his family’s wishes.
Ward appeared in numerous productions including Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts,” for which the whole ensemble jointly won a Golden Globe award for best screenplay in 1993.
Born in San Diego, California, in December 1942, Ward started his acting career in the 1970s after three years of service as a member of the U.S. Air Force.
His first major appearance on the big screen was in “Escape from Alcatraz” in 1979, where he played John Anglin, an American criminal who, along with his brother Clarence, played by Jack Thibeau, and Frank Morris, played by Clint Eastwood, escapes from the maximum-security prison on Alcatraz Island in 1962.
The movie is an adaptation of the daring escape that remains a mystery to this day and has intrigued America for more than 55 years. The trio was never seen again.
The late star’s most notable roles were in “Tremors,” “The Right Stuff,” and “Short Cuts.” He also has a number of other film credits that include “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Swing Shift,” “Miami Blues,” “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins,” and many others.
His most recent role was in the second season of HBO’s “True Detective,” where he played Eddie Velcoro, retired cop and father of Colin Farrell’s Ray Velcoro.
Tributes started to pour in on social media after news of Ward’s passing began to break, with celebrities as well as fans praising the actor’s talent.
“Rest In Peace to the talented #FredWard,” actor Jon Donahue said on Twitter. “I remember first seeing him as ‘Remo Williams’. He was also memorable in ‘The Right Stuff’, ‘Secret Admirer’ and ‘Tremors’ among others. He will be missed.”
Ward is survived by his wife of 27 years, Marie-France Ward, and his son Django Ward.