Comic actor Fred Willard dead at 86, family says

Legendary actor, writer, and comedian Fred Willard died on Friday at the age of 86. "He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end", Willard's daughter Hope told the outlet.

Willard's death comes almost two years after his wife Mary Willard died at the age of 71.

"He also had multiple film roles including parts in Best in Show, This Is Spinal Tap and Everybody Loves Raymond".

"Modern Family" star Eric Stonestreet posted a photo of him and Willard on Twitter, saying "It was a privilege to have the great Fred Willard know my name".

"How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard's gifts". 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's wife of 40 years, Mary, died in 2018.

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Many actors and filmmakers who loved and admired Willard's work went on to pay tribute to the late actor on social media.

After several years of bit roles, his big break came in 1977, when he joined the cast of Fernwood 2 Night a parody talk show that was a summer replacement for Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

"Fred Willard was the funniest person that I've ever worked with. If you have nothing to say, just start talking".

Willard portrayed the character Fred Naird in the upcoming Netflix comedy "Space Force", starring Steve Carell, which premieres on May 29th. He earned four Emmy nominations, including three in a row for his role as Hank MacDougall on "Everybody Loves Raymond" between 2003-2005. He is survived by his daughter, Hope and one grandson.

  • Michelle Webb