The lovable comic actor Fred Willard, whose on-screen career spanned 50 years, passed away on Friday.
The scene-stealing star of moves like Best in Show and The Mighty Wind, along with TV shows like Modern Family and Netflix’s upcoming Space Force, was 86-years-old.
Willard’s daughter, Hope, tweeted out the news this afternoon, remarking that her father had died peacefully on Friday evening.
It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my father passed away very peacefully last night at the fantastic age of 86 years old. He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end.We loved him so very much!
We will miss him forever.
— Hope Willard (@Mulbytime7) May 16, 2020
Willard worked steadily in comedic roles for decades before finding notoriety as part of writer/director Christoper Guest’s company of impish improv actors, starring in acclaimed mockumentaries This is Spinal Tap!, Waiting for Guffman, The Mighty Wind, and Best in Show. In a career that ranged from Roseanne to Pixar’s Wall-E to recurring as Phil’s dad, Frank, on Modern Family, Willard always provided hilarious moments and memorable laughs.
Willard was nominated for four Emmy Awards – three for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Hank MacDougall in Everybody Loves Raymond, and one in the same category for Modern Family.
Here’s our own interview with Willard from 2008 for Wall-E…
How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard’s gifts. He is with his missed Mary now. Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard. Best in Show (7/11) Movie CLIP – Judging the Hounds (2000) HD https://t.co/wPrbk9VjWI via @YouTube
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) May 16, 2020
With over 300 credits to his name, what was your favorite Fred Willard role?