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'Tremors' actor Fred Ward dies at 79

The veteran character actor began on the silver screen with a role in an Italian TV film in 1973, and had more than 85 roles over more than four decades.

WASHINGTON — Character actor Fred Ward has died, his publicist confirmed Friday. He was 79. 

Ward died Sunday, May 8, according to publicist Ron Hofmann. No cause of death was given. 

Ward was known largely for his roles in films such as "Tremors," "The Right Stuff" and "The Player." The veteran character actor began on the silver screen with a role in an Italian tv film in 1973, and continued for four decades. In total, he was credited in more than 85 film and television projects.

His last film role was in Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg's 2013 buddy cop movie "2 Guns."  

According to a biography released by his publicist, Ward got into acting after three years of service in the U.S. Air Force. Even before his career as an actor landed him in diverse roles, Ward had a scattered resume. He worked as a short-order cook, a boxer and a lumberjack in Alaska. In the last years of his life, Ward reportedly honed his second favorite art form: painting. 

 "The unique thing about Fred Ward is that you never knew where he was going to pop up, so unpredictable were his career choices," Hofmann said in an email. 

He is survived by Mari-France Ward, his wife of 27 years, and his son Django Ward. 

 According to the statement released by his publicist, Ward's last wish was that any memorial tributes be made as donations to the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center. More information can be found here or by calling 617-358-9535.

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