NPR reports that Ward’s breakout role was in the 1979 film “Alcatraz” with Clint Eastwood. From there, TCM writes, his career took off. Ward later starred in “Southern Comfort,” “Uncommon Valor,” and “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.” Beyond this, he also did television work throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Per Variety, Ward is perhaps best known for his role in the 1990 film “Tremors” with Kevin Bacon. Although the film was a box-office failure, “Tremors” is now considered to be a cult classic, with numerous sequels and a one-season TV series to its credit (per IMDb). Other notable films that Ward starred in include “Miami Blues,” “Short Cuts,” and “Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult.”
Ward received an ensemble Golden Globe award for “Short Cuts” in 1993 (via Yahoo! Entertainment). According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ward delved into producing once with his film “Miami Blues.” His publicist, Ron Hoffman, explained to NPR that Ward was known for playing a plethora of “diverse characters.” He went on to say that “The unique thing about Fred Ward is that you never knew where he was going to pop up, so unpredictable were his career choices.”
Ward continued to keep busy into the 2000s, when he starred in “Joe Dirt,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “Enough” with Jennifer Lopez (per IMDb). Additionally, he appeared on popular Television shows like “ER” and “United States of Tara.” His last on-screen role was in 2015’s “True Detective” as Eddie Velcoro. Variety described Ward as having a classic quality to him. The publication also compared him to Humphrey Bogart.