Sometimes when actors who aren't considered "big box office draws" pass away, the spotlight often shies away or, even worse, tends to overlook them. Well, Berkshire County, I'm not going to let that happen in this particular case.

One of my all-time favorite character actors, who was especially adept at playing a "tough guy", has passed away at 79. Charismatic actor Fred Ward, a veteran of many great films, died last Sunday. As a fan of all sorts of movies from all types of genres, the news of his passing leaves me in a sad state.

You've probably seen a number of movies that Fred Ward appeared in and don't even realize it(on numerous occasions, Ward was part of a large ensemble cast). There's no way I can do justice to any of his performances, but the following are just some of his many great roles:

  1. Escape From Alcatraz, 1979--The Clint Eastwood classic. This might be the first movie that I saw Fred Ward in.
  2. Southern Comfort, 1981--Director Walter "48 Hours" Hill's tense actioner about National Guardsmen making trouble for themselves on the Louisiana bayou.
  3. The Right Stuff, 1983--Epic chronicling the beginnings of America's Space Program with a terrific cast(Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Scott Glenn, Sam Shepard, Jeff Goldblum, the list goes on...). Ward plays astronaut Gus Grissom and does an excellent job.
  4. Miami Blues, 1990--Tired, older, false-teeth wearing cop(Ward) squares off against angry, awkwardly funny sociopath(Alec Baldwin). Again, Ward really nails the role.
  5. Tremors, also 1990--Yeah, it's a "horror" movie, but so what? It's also cheesy, funny, and, at times, suspenseful. Plus, Ward's "buddy-buddy" chemistry with co-star Kevin Bacon is terrific.

There you have it, just some of Fred Ward's greatest hits. Ward was also in movies as diverse as Henry & June(drama), Uncommon Valor(war), Tombstone(western), Sweet Home Alabama(romcom), and Road Trip(comedy).

Ward loved acting and I think he showed it by performing in all kinds of movies regardless of the genre. I will definitely miss him. No word yet on the cause of death. According to Variety, Ward's "Tremors" co-star Kevin Bacon posted this on Twitter:

So sad to hear about Fred Ward.  When it came to battling underground worms I couldn't have asked for a better partner.

And, to paraphrase Mr. Bacon, "Rest In Peace, Fred."

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