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Actor Fred Ward from “Tremors” and “The Right Stuff” died May 8, according to his publicist. He was 79 years old.
Most recently, Ward played Eddie Velcoro on the second season of “True Detective,” which airs on HBO. He played a retired cop and father to Colin Farrell’s Detective Ray Velcoro.
He was a recurring character on NBC’s “ER” as the father to Abby Lockhart from 2006 to 2007. He had guest roles on shows such as “Leverage,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “United States of Tara.” He played President Ronald Reagan in the Cold War thriller “Farewell,” and had a supporting role in “2 Guns” starring Mark Whalberg and Denzel Washington.
Ward is best known for his grit in “The Right Stuff.” He plays astronaut Gus Grissom in the 1983 movie about Philip Kaufman and the early space program. The film is about the Project Mercury spacecraft incident. After splashdown, emergency explosive bolts were fired blowing the hatch off causing the ship to flood. NASA investigated the incident to discover Grissom had not reacted the way the movie portrayed. In the movie, the character panics and fires the explosive bolts. NASA, however, determined he was not to blame.
In 1990, Ward played opposite Kevin Bacon in the comedy-horror movie “Tremors.” The two showed great chemistry on screen as handymen who save their desert community from giant underground sandworms. Online, Bacon expressed that Ward was the best partner he could have fought the sandworms with, in “Tremors.”
Written by Jeanette Vietti
Variety: Fred Ward, Star of ‘The Right Stuff,’ ‘Tremors,’ Dies at 79; by Carmel Dagan
The Wall Street Journal: Fred Ward, ‘Tremors’ and ‘The Right Stuff’ Actor, Has Died at 79; Ginger Adams Otis
The Washington Post: Fred Ward, character actor with ‘The Right Stuff,’ dies at 79; by Harrison Smith