Fred Ward (Earl Bassett) is surely one of the most exciting and unconventional leading men to grace the silver screen. Having worked as a street vendor, janitor, timber faller and subway tunneler, he could probably teach his Tremors/TREMORS 2 character, Earl Bassett, a few new tricks! Whether he’s portraying a vulnerable Gus Grissom in The Right Stuff, roaring to action in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, or navigating the comic turns of the screwball comedy Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, Fred Ward is, in the words of film critics Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael, a “superior actor.”Discovered in 1974 by director Roberto Rossellini, Fred Ward is an accomplished performer whose extensive film career is as atypical as the man himself. Recognized for bringing to life complex characters in compelling ways, Ward has been sought by prominent directors such as Robert Altman (The Player and Short Cuts), Jonathan Demme (Swing Shift), Walter Hill (Southern Comfort), Mike Nichols (Silkwood), Alan Rudolf (Equinox), Beth B (Two Small Bodies) and Sam Shepard (Simpatico). Philip Kaufman, director of Henry and June and The Right Stuff said that “it was great casting Fred to play Henry Miller. He’s been studying for the role his whole life…Fred Ward is the first cult actor of the year 2000.”
Ward studied acting at the Herbert Berghoff Studio in New York, with David Alexander in Los Angeles and with theatre guru Jerzy Grotowsky. Always nomadic, Ward began his film career in Rome with Roberto Rossellini as a star in Cartesio and The Power of Cosimo. He then moved on to San Francisco where Tennessee Williams noticed Ward in a production of Find Your Way Home and cast him in his The Two Characters Play, which garnered both Ward and the play critical and commercial success. Following extensive stage work, including the part of McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and two plays written and directed by Sam Shepard (Inacoma and Angel City) at the Magic Theatre, Ward moved to Los Angeles where he was soon cast as Clint Eastwood’s partner in crime in Escape from Alcatraz.
Since then Ward has starred and co-starred in over 35 films, co- produced Miami Blues with Jonathan Demme and is developing independent films as both a director and an actor. About his projects, Ward says, “They are all about marginal people who try to live by their own rules.”
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