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Fred Ward, Actor in ‘Remo Williams,’ ‘Henry & June’ and ‘Tremors,’ Dies at 79

Fred Ward, who starred in “Henry and June,” “Tremors,” “The Right Stuff,” and “The Player,” died on May 8, according to his publicist. He was 79. The family requested that neither the reason nor the location of death be revealed. “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins,” “Miami Blues,” and “Short Cuts” were among his other notable roles. In his work, the San Diego native displayed genuine power and a harsh demeanor.

As a union activist and Meryl Streep’s coworker in Mike Nichols’ Silkwood (1983), and for his roles in Errol Morris’ The Dark Wind (1991) and Michael Apted’s Thunderheart (1993), he dipped into his Cherokee roots (1992).

Fred Ward, 'Tremors' actor dies

“Ward has played many heroes, each with a subtlety that removed them from the cardboard cutout figures that they could have been,” the Chicago Tribune‘s Julia Cameron wrote in a 1985 profile of the actor. “In many ways, his work, like that of Robert Duvall, can be viewed as a meditation on America’s notions of masculinity.”

Ward also acted in Philip Kaufman’s Henry & June (1990), the first NC-17 picture to hit theaters, as hard-drinking expatriate author Henry Miller, who enjoys a ménage a trois in Paris in 1931 with his wife (Uma Thurman) and another writer (Maria de Medeiros). In an interview with The Washington Post, he added, “My rear end seemed to have something to do with [that rating].”

Ward was the chief of studio security for Robert Altman in The Player (1992), and his role in Short Cuts earned him Golden Globe and Venice Film Festival ensemble awards (1993). When he was cast as the titular role in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, he had his best opportunity at stardom (1985).

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