Earlier today came confirmation that character actor Fred Ward, best known to some for his roles in the original Tremors and playing astronaut Gus Grissom in the 1974 film The Right Stuff, among others. Following the announcement of his death, actor Kevin Bacon, who appeared alongside him in the 1990 horror-comedy, paid tribute to the actor with a touching message. "So sad to hear about Fred Ward," Bacon tweeted. "When it came to battling underground worms I couldn't have asked for a better partner. I will always remember chatting about his love of Django Reinhardt and jazz guitar during our long hot days in the high desert. Rest In Peace Fred."
After the first Tremors movie flopped at the box office the film series continued after flourishing on home media. Though Bacon didn't return for Tremors II: Aftershocks in 1996, Ward did return as Earl Bassett. The series was recently in development as a television series which Bacon was attached to, and many fans hoped that Ward might return for that as well. SYFY was developing the show, and filmed a pilot in 2017, before ultimately being scrapped.
So sad to hear about Fred Ward. When it came to battling underground worms I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. I will always remember chatting about his love of Django Reinhardt and jazz guitar during our long hot days in the high desert. Rest In Peace Fred. pic.twitter.com/WLOB0iVwkd— Kevin Bacon (@kevinbacon) May 13, 2022
Born December 30, 1942, Ward would gain notoriety for being a reliable character actor, appearing in films like The Player, Short Cuts, ...First Do No Harm, and on TV in shows like Grey's Anatomy and Leverage. In one of his final film roles, he appeared in the comic book adaptation 2 Guns starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. His final screen role was in True Detective season 2, in which he played Eddie Velcoro, a retired cop and the father of Colin Farrell's Ray Velcoro.
"The unique thing about Fred Ward is that you never knew where he was going to pop up, so unpredictable were his career choices," publicist Ron Hoffmann told NPR. "He could play such diverse characters as Remo Williams, a cop trained by Chiun, Master of Sinanju (Joel Grey) to become an unstoppable assassin in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, or Earl Bass, who, alongside Kevin Bacon, battle giant, worm-like monsters hungry for human flesh in 'cult' horror/comedy film, Tremors (1990), or a detective in the indie film Two Small Bodies (1993) directed by underground filmmaker Beth B., or a terrorist planning to blow up the Academy Awards in The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994), or the father of the lead character in Jennifer Lopez's revenge thriller Enough (2002)."