Fred Ward’s 10 Best Roles

With a square jaw, strong build, and weathered face, Fred Ward looked like he would still like the rugged topography he resembled, but the prolific character actor died recently at 79. During a career that spanned six decades, Ward lent his strength as a charismatic ordinary person with various genres, making films vary from one another such as Tremor and The Right Thing.

Whether he’s fighting an underground worm or blowing himself up into space, Ward’s best performances are filled with the hallmarks of dependability, sincerity, and integrity. Although he will be sorely missed, dozens of his fan-favorite films still remember his legacy.

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Gus Grissom (The Right Thing)

Fred Ward in The Right Stuff

To be resisted by the passage of time The Right Thing will miss the highly authentic space film and Fred Ward’s memorable role as Gus Grissom, one of several crew members of the historic Mercury program in the era of the great space race.

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Ward turns what could have effectively been a nervous complainer into a man with heart and conviction even as he is blamed for the sinking of the spaceship. With a combination of archival test footage and melodrama, the film acts as a documentary of sorts, and Grissom’s part is critical to uncovering the conflict between the engineers and the astronauts.


Remo Williams (Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins)

Remo Williams The Destroyer Fred Ward

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins follows the titular hero, a New York cop recruited for espionage, as he investigates an organization that deals with arms on an international scale. Like the blue-collar James Bond, Remo Williams outsmarted the bad guys and got the girl while looking good in denim.

If ever an ’80s movie deserves a sequel, it’s this action-adventure chase chase, with Ward munching on the scene as a hot-blooded hero during montage after montage of training scenes and high-speed chases, even learning how to dodge bullets beforehand. new. If a sequel ever happened, the power that Jon Bernthal could cast.


Earl Bassett (Shaking)

tremor-kevin-bacon-fred-ward

One of Ward’s most famous roles is in horror comedies Tremor where he plays Earl Bassett, a Graboid destroyer who teams up with Val Kevin Bacon to eradicate the giant worms that swarm beneath the small town of Protection.

Bassett is one of the deadliest monster hunters in Tremor franchise, and it’s not hard to see why; Ward exudes ancient knowledge and efficacy in the role and comes up with some ingenious methods to destroy the Graboid, becoming a true cult classic icon.

Lyle Swann (Timerider: The Adventures of Lyle Swann)

Lyle Swann (Fred Ward) in Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann

In Timer: The Adventures of Lyle Swann, Ward played a dirt bike racer from the 80s who, due to temporary experimentation, was sent back to the 1870s. Using his wits and wits, he tries to find his way back to his own time.


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As a maverick biker, Ward is agile, athletic, and funny, taking a goofy premise and making it fun. Long before Back to the Future Part III Ward has done this fun fish-out-of-water story.

Rocco (Naked Gun 33+1⁄3: Final Humiliation)

Fred Ward and Leslie Nielsen in Naked Gun 3

Third installment in naked gun film series starring Leslie Neilson as Frank Drebin, Naked Gun 33+1/3: Final Humiliation sees him come out of retirement to take on a terrorist — played by Ward — intent on blowing up the Academy Awards.

Anyone unfamiliar with Ward’s ability to be funny will be surprised at how well he handles the incredible style of comicality inherent to the franchise. Rocco calling Drebin throughout the film as a “kid” is just one example of Ward’s charm as a hammy villain.


Henry Miller (Henry & June)

Fred Ward and Uma Thurman at Henry & Juni

Based on the life and time of author Henry Miller as expressed in AnaÏs Nin’s memoir, Henry & Juni explores the group he was in with him and his wife during their time in Paris. It has the distinction of being one of only a handful of NC-17 rated films to be nominated for any Academy Awards.

Even amidst all the heavy symbolism used in tandem with the sex scenes to amplify their erotic expression, Ward can’t help but inspire the film with his down-to-earth signature. It’s easy to see why Miller was drawn into an illicit experimental relationship, and why anyone would want to participate with him, even though it’s not at all tempting.

Kpl. Reece (Southern Comfort)

Fred Ward at Southern Comfort

While he played a tough guy and hero for most of his career, Ward was very effective as a villain, especially in the Southern Comfort, where he played Corporal Reece. Reece was part of the Louisiana Army National Guard troops who, while conducting routine weekend maneuvers, began engaging in aggressive combat with local Cajuns in the rural bayou.

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Reece is sadistic from the start, bringing ammunition straight into a training sequence that should only involve blanks. Ward does a great job of presenting America’s arrogance when confronted by an invisible enemy (alegorical to the Vietnam War), as well as its brutality, especially when it comes to torturing a captured Cajun man. He uses his charm as an ordinary person who seems brave to make the audience even more uncomfortable as his sense of “justice” turns to savagery.

Sergeant Hoke Moseley (Miami Blues)

Fred Ward at Miami Blues

As a veteran detective whose identity has been stolen by a criminal sociopath, Ward faces off against Alec Baldwin in the Miami Blues. He was a perfect match for the grizzled Sergeant Moseley, whose years had given him the experience and intelligence needed to stay one step ahead of Baldwin’s assassins.

Ward manages to bring humor and warmth into some of the scene-stealing moments while not being fully competent all the time. He can be wrong, sometimes even considered downright rotten, and is definitely more than a little weird.

Harry Phillip Lovecraft (Casting a Deadly Charm)

Fred Ward as Detective Lovecraft in Cast a Deadly Spell

A film inspired by the works of HP Lovecraft, Casting a Deadly Spell imagine a 40s version of a world where magic is a part of everyday life. Detective Ward, Harry Phillip Lovecraft, is tasked with finding the Necronomicon, and along the way must avoid devious gunmen, femme fatales, and the occasional lethal spell.

Similar to Light but with a little more charm, this film benefits from someone like Ward making it a reality. Fans believe that films involving zombie drivers exist because Ward takes his world-building seriously.

Stuart Kane (Short Way)

Fred Ward and Matthew Modine in Short Cuts

Ward has appeared in several Robert Altman films, but the most notable is shortcut, about several stories that are intertwined with each other, all of them starting with a waiter who hit a boy with his car. Altman’s dialogue is often very naturalistic and doesn’t feel like it’s being spoken by actors, amplified by social scenes where characters talk to each other.

Ward plays Stuart Kane, a salesman cut off from life like the other characters who surround him, struggling to find a way to make his life find meaning. Even with a wide cast including Altman favorites like Tim Robbins and Lily Tomlin, he managed to capitalize on his small but insignificant role.

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