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(NEXSTAR) – Actor Fred Ward, whose credits include “Tremors,” “Escape From Alcatraz” and “The Right Stuff,” has passed away at the age of 79, his publicist confirmed.

Ward died on May 8, according to a statement provided by his publicist Ron Hoffman, though no cause of death was disclosed. He is survived by his wife and son.

Ward’s film and television career spanned five decades, with roles in everything from historical dramas to goofball comedies and creature features.

Some of Ward’s memorable earlier roles included “Escape From Alcatraz,” alongside Clint Eastwood, and “The Right Stuff,” in which he portrayed astronaut Gus Grissom. Ward also had starring roles in “Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann” and “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins,” playing both of the titular characters.

He went on to appear in the cult-favorite horror-comedy “Tremors,” as well as the biographical drama (and first-ever NC-17-rated film) “Henry & June,” playing author Henry Miller. He also appeared in Robert Altman’s “The Player” and “Short Cuts,” the latter of which earned him a special honor at the 1994 Golden Globes along with the rest of the ensemble cast.

Ward’s more recent roles included appearances in “United States of Tara,” “True Detective” and “In Plain Sight.”


“The unique thing about Fred Ward is that you never knew where he was going to pop up, so unpredictable were his career choices,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman added that Ward spent his final years painting, calling it his “second-favorite art form.”

He also said the actor would have wanted his fans to donate to the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center in lieu of tributes.