As it was, there wasn’t much Fred Ward hadn’t done in his decade-long career, a fact noted by his publicist’s comment: “What’s unique about Fred Ward is that you never knew where he was going to turn up his career choices were so unpredictable.” One look at Ward’s IMDb page will confirm that he was indeed one of the more free-spirited actors in Hollywood – starring in award-winning dramas, critically acclaimed indies and wacky cult hits alike.
Ward first caught the attention of many moviegoers in the hit 1979 drama Escape From Alcatraz, in which he traded places with screen icon Clint Eastwood. Ward quickly established himself as a reclusive scene thief, wowing fans as astronaut Gus Grissom in the Oscar-winning drama The Right Stuff, and later starred in classic films like Henry and June, The Player, Short Cuts and Sweet Home Alabama. He even fronted his own action film in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985) and appeared in hit TV shows like ER, Grey’s Anatomy, The United States of Tara, and HBO’s True Detective.
However, Ward is perhaps best known for his role as Earl Bass in the beloved 1990 cult film Tremors, a role he reprized in the sequel, which better than you probably remember, Tremors II: Aftershocks. And if you’re looking to celebrate the man’s cherished career with a Fred Ward-centric film festival this weekend, the Tremors films are as solid a place to start as any project in his oeuvre.