Veteran film and television actor Fred Ward, 79, best known for playing gruff, tough roles in films such as Vibration, escape from Alcatrazand the good stuffdied Sunday, his publicist said Friday.
As per his family’s wishes, no cause of death or place of death has been disclosed, publicist Ron Hofmann said.
Ward took a detour into acting after serving three years in the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s and then working as a logger in Alaska, a boxer who had his nose broken three times and a short-term cook, according to one Hoffmann’s biography.
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His career spanned more than four decades, starting with foreign films in the early 1970s and stretching to 2015 with his last role on the television series real detectiveaccording to its online IMBD page.
He made his first American film appearance as a cowboy in the 1975 film, Hearts of the West.
But his breakthrough role came when he starred opposite Clint Eastwood in the 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz.
“What’s unique about Fred Ward is that you never knew where he would appear, his career choices were so unpredictable,” the release read.
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He played everything from an astronaut, cowboy, Vietnam war soldier, a chain-smoking police detective turned murderer, to a hero battling giant worms, the release said.
In 1983, he portrayed Mercury 7 astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom in the adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s book, The good stuff.
That same year, he appeared in the action movie Sometimes Valor with Gene Hackman and in the drama Silkwood with Meryl Streep.
Ward won a Golden Globe and the Venice Film Festival Ensemble Prize for his performance in Shortcuts in 1993, said his biography.
He is survived by his wife of 27, Marie-France Ward, and a son, Django Ward.
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