Fred Ward, Famed Character Actor, Dead at 79

Fred Ward, known for his roles in Tremors and The Right Stuff, has died at the age of 79, PEOPLE confirms

Fred Ward, a cast member in "30 Minutes or Less," poses at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles
Fred Ward. Photo: Chris Pizzello/AP/Shutterstock

Fred Ward, an actor with a 40-plus-year career in television and film including memorable turns in Tremors and The Right Stuff, has died.

His publicist, Ron Hofmann, confirmed to PEOPLE that Ward died Sunday. He was 79 years old.

A cause and location of death have not been shared, per his family's wishes.

Before breaking into acting, Ward served in the U.S. Air Force for three years, and also worked various jobs including as a lumberjack in Alaska, a boxer and a short-order cook.

Ward made his big-screen debut in 1974's Ginger in the Morning after starting out on television, and went on to appear in series like Quincy, M.E. and The Incredible Hulk.

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Fred Ward, Kevin Bacon Tremors - 1989
Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon in Tremors (1990). Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock

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Ward would later appear in The Right Stuff (1983), Henry & June (1990), Tremors (1990) and its 1996 sequel, and many more films and television series over the course of his career.

His last onscreen appearance was as Eddie Velcoro on True Detective in 2015.

The Golden Globe winner is survived by wife of 27 years, Marie-France Ward, and son Django Ward.

"It was Fred Ward's wish that any memorial tributes be made in the form of donations to the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center," Hofmann says. "Please visit or contact (617) 358-9535 for more information."

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