Thesp and TV producer Skip Ward, who produced “The Dukes of Hazzard,” died Friday at the Motion Picture and Television Home in Calabasas after a long illness. He was 69.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Ward was a pilot in the Air Force before coming to Hollywood as an actor. Ward, credited at “James Ward,” made his big screen debut in 1957’s “Run Silent, Run Deep.” In the ’60s, he continued to nab roles beside A-list actors such as James Caan, Shelley Winters, Elvis Presley, Paul Newman, and Richard Burton, boasting parts in “Night of the Iguana,” “Hombre,” and “Easy Come, Easy Go.”
In 1964, Ward lost the role of Jim West in “The Wild, Wild West” to Robert Conrad, but he found other roles in 1960s series “The FBI” and in the ’70s skein, “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.”
He added producer to his resume in 1972 and went on to work with luminaries including costume designer Edith Head, Francis Ford Coppola, and John Huston. He was associate producer for the five-year run of “Dukes of Hazzard.” His credits behind the camera also include the skein “Ohara” and several stints as production coordinator for ABC Sports programs produced by Andy Sidaris.
But Ward never gave up acting. After a twelve-year reprieve, he appeared in straight-to-video sexy cop action “Do or Die,” “Fit to Kill,” and “Hard Hunted” which were helmed and written by Sidaris and his wife Arlene.
Though married twice, first to Michelle Triola and later to Julia Payne, Ward never had children.
He is survived by his father, Colonel Rufus King Ward of San Antonio, Texas.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 12, in the Katzenberg Pavilion at the Motion Picture and Television Home. For more information, call (818) 772-1696.
Donations can be made at Motion Picture and Television Fund, (818) 876-1900.