We’ve learned the incredibly sad news this morning (via NPR) that actor Fred Ward has passed away at the age of 79, the actor of course beloved by horror fans for his role in Tremors.

NPR reports that Ward died on Sunday, May 8th. “No cause of death was given.”

Fred Ward played the lovable character Earl Bassett in the original Tremors back in 1990, who along with Kevin Bacon’s Valentine McKee saved Perfection from the deadly Graboids.

While Bacon didn’t return for Tremors II: Aftershocks, Fred Ward took center stage in a solo outing, reprising the role of Earl Bassett for the 1996 sequel to the original classic.

Elsewhere in the horror genre, Fred Ward played Det. Harry Philip Lovecraft in 1991’s Cast a Deadly Spell, a Lovecraftian detective tale that has built up a cult following over the years.

Fred Ward also appeared in Escape from Alcatraz, The Right Stuff, Miami Blues, The Player, Naked Gun 33 1/3, The Crow: Salvation, and Road Trip, as well as “True Detective.”

“The unique thing about Fred Ward is that you never knew where he was going to pop up, so unpredictable were his career choices,” publicist Ron Hofmann said in a statement shared by NPR. “He could play such diverse characters as Remo Williams, a cop trained by Chiun, Master of Sinanju (Joel Grey) to become an unstoppable assassin in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, or Earl Bass, who, alongside Kevin Bacon, battle giant, worm-like monsters hungry for human flesh in ‘cult’ horror/comedy film, Tremors (1990), or a detective in the indie film Two Small Bodies (1993) directed by underground filmmaker Beth B., or a terrorist planning to blow up the Academy Awards in The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994), or the father of the lead character in Jennifer Lopez’s revenge thriller Enough (2002).”

Fred Ward is survived by his wife of 27 years, Marie-France Ward, and son Django Ward.

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