The Heartbreaking Death of Award-Winning Actor Fred Ward
Veteran actor Fred Ward, who was best known for his roles in “The Right Stuff,” “vibrations,” and “Short Cuts,” died at age 79 on May 8, per de New York Post† The actor’s representative gave the publication a statement that read: “I am sad to announce the passing of acclaimed actor Fred Ward, who passed away on Sunday, May 8, 2022 at the age of 79.” It did not disclose the cause of death, at his family’s request, but it stated the actor’s dying wishes: “It was Fred Ward’s wish that memorial tribute be paid in the form of donations to the Boston University Center for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy†
Ward leaves behind a legacy of award-winning action roles cherished by many genre fans. Many remember his role as John Anglin in “Escape from Alcatraz” alongside Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood in 1979, which was based on a true story (via IMDb† His performance ushered in more roles that emphasized his ability to transform rough, rough characters into heroic, complex people. He told The New York Times in 1990 that when choosing characters to play, “‘I’m looking for change, a person who changes – he’s on a journey.”
Ward portrayed several memorable characters
Of Fred Ward’s many memorable roles, his rendition of Earl Bassett battling giant bugs in “vibrationsand the real-life astronaut, Gus Grissom, in “The Right Stuff” were some of his most talked about. Film critic Robert Daniels tweeted“Fred Ward was absurdly good. A professional in everything he did from TREMORS to THE PLAYER. He could even put in an amazing performance is something as obviously stupid as JOE DIRT. Totally underrated.” The actor had also won a Golden Globe Award and a Special Prize at the Venice Film Festival, shared with the rest of the cast, for “Short Cuts” (via IMDb† “The unique thing about Fred Ward is that you never knew where he would turn up, that’s how unpredictable his career choices were,” said his publicist, Ron Hoffman, (via The New York Times†
Ward specialized in embodying versatility in each of his action-oriented roles – from hit man in ‘Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins’ to detective in ‘Two Small Bodies’. He even dipped his toes in romantic comedies when he played the part of Reese Witherspoon’s father in 2002’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” For all his work, Ward will be remembered.
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