Fred Willard, Prolific Comic Actor, Dead At 86


Fred Willard, the comedic actor who appeared in “This Is Spinal Tap,” “Best In Show” and “Everybody Loves Raymond,” died of natural causes on Friday night. He was 86.

Willard’s representatives confirmed his death to Rolling Stone and The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday.

“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,” Willard’s daughter Hope Mulbarger said in a statement to People magazine. “We loved him so very much!”

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis payed homage to her friend by sharing a clip from one of his movies.

“Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard,” she tweeted.

Willard’s wife, playwright Mary Willard, died in 2018 at the age of 71. 

The “Best in Show” actor earned four Emmy nominations, including one nod for his guest-starring work on the ABC series “Modern Family.” Willard’s character Frank Dunphy died earlier this year. The actor appeared on 14 episodes of the show.

Born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Willard appeared in a number of films in the 1960s and ’70s including, “Teenage Mother,” “Jenny,” “Silver Streak” and “Fun With Dick and Jane,” The Hollywood Reporter reported.

He later memorably appeared in movies “Anchorman” and “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.”

Steve Carell, who played Brick Tamland in “Anchorman,” mourned Willard on Twitter Saturday, writing that the comedian was “the funniest person that I’ve ever worked with.”

“He was a sweet, wonderful man,” he added.

 This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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