According to his obituary, the actor died on Sunday, May 8. The cause of death has not been released.
“Fred Ward is unique in that you never know where he will end up and his career decisions are so unpredictable,” the tribute reads. “He’s able to play a variety of roles like Remo Williams, a police officer trained by NSW master (Joel Gray) who becomes unstoppable in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins The assassin, or Earl Bass, who co-starred with Kevin Bacon, the human-hungry fighting giant, worm-like monster in the cult horror/comedy film Tremors (1990), or underground filmmaker Beth B. Director of the independent film The Detective in Two Little Bodies (1993), or the Terrorist Plan in The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994) or Jennifer Lopez’s revenge thriller Enough (2002) The main character’s father or The Major, the pizza delivery guy in Danny McBrides Overbearing Ex-Navy Dad 30 Minutes or Less (2011).”
The late Ballon d’Or winner is survived by wife Marie-France Ward, whom he married in 1995, and son Django, whom he shares with ex-wife Silvia Ward. According to his obituary, in addition to his Hollywood highlights, the American graduate Tara “in the last years of his life has been developing his second favorite art form: painting.”
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The former U.S. Air Force member was last seen on HBO’s True Detective season 2 as Eddie Wilcoro, the father of Detective Ray Wilcoro (Colin Farrell). After a brief hiatus from acting in the mid-2000s, he made multiple appearances in Grey’s Anatomy and Emergency Room.
While his credits are long, the late star’s performance in 2002’s Sweet Home Alabama was a fan favorite. Fred appears in the hit movie alongside Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey and Jean Smart, playing the father of Witherspoon’s character, Melanie . Even years after its release, romantic comedy fans are still excited about the sequel — and so are some of its stars.
Lucas, 50, told Access Live in July 2018: “I even contacted Reese and I know Reese said the same thing – it’s a cult movie.” “I’m going to love it because I’m very Want to see where these characters end up, or where they are at this stage in their lives.”
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Before Sweet Home Alabama, the former boxer was well-received for his performances in Henry & June in the 1990s. The film tells the story of writer Henry Miller who falls into a love triangle with his wife (Uma Thurman) and another writer (Maria de Medeiros) in Paris in 1931. It was the first NC-17 film to be released in theaters, and one of only three NC-17 films in history to be nominated for an Oscar.
“My ass seems to be related to [that rating],” Fred joked in a 1990 Washington Post interview, noting that he and his co-stars “thought we’d do an R-rated movie.”
While fast-paced, the literary icon’s role is “a dream role” for the veteran. “He was 40 when he made that big leap,” he said of Miller. “Most people dig deep into their structures. He’s a man who knows he has to follow his inner impulses, his creativity and his passion. Otherwise he will die miserably.”