This Sunday, world cinema lost another action star of the 80s and 90s. The former lumberjack and talented part-time actor Fred Ward, who was 79 years old, died. The death of the star of the films “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins,” “Tremors,” and “The Right Guys” were first reported by his publicist Ron Hofmann. However, the cause of death at the request of his family was not disclosed.
The San Diego native brought genuine strength and a gritty demeanor to his work. Part-Cherokee Indian, he drew on his heritage in films such as Silkwood (1983) by Michael Nichols, as well as Errol Morris in Dark Wind (1991) and Michael Apted’s Thunderheart (1992). Fred played many characters, and each of them was not “cardboard.”
In many ways, his work, like that of Robert Duvall, can be seen as a reflection on American notions of masculinity. He also played the role of hard-drinking expatriate writer Henry Miller, who lives in Paris in the 1930s with his wife, played by Uma Thurman, and fellow writer Maria de Medeiros, in Philip Kaufmann’s Henry and June, the first film to be rated NC- 17, released for rent. “It looks like my butt has something to do with this rating,” the actor said in an interview with The Washington Post.
His best shot at becoming a superstar came when he landed the lead role in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. The Orion Pictures film, based on the popular The Destroyer novels, was to kick off the franchise with the American version of James Bond. It was directed by Guy Hamilton, written by Christopher Wood, and Ward signed on to a three-part Remo Williams deal. In the story, he was a New York police officer who was trained by a Korean master in martial arts, after which he became an assassin for a secret government agency. However, despite the graceful scene atop the scaffolding covering the Statue of Liberty, the film did badly at the box office. The adventure, alas, ended as soon as it began.