Known as one of the nicest guys in Hollywood and beloved by many colleagues after appearing in hundreds of TV episodes and in dozens of movies, Fred Willard has left us. ‘We Loved Him So Very Much,’ Says his Daughter Hope Mulbarger
The comedic star, whose numerous credits include Best in Show, This Is Spinal Tap, Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family, died of natural causes, a rep for the actor confirms to PEOPLE.
“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,” – Hope Mulbarger
Fred who earned four Emmy nominations during his seven-decade career (Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family). He won fame as a dim talk-show cohost on 1977’s Fernwood 2 Night, as the Air Force officer giving Spinal Tap’s band a base tour (convincing, since Willard was a Virginia Military Institute grad and Army vet), and as a clueless dog-show judge in Best in Show, which earned him best supporting actor nominations from the National and New York film critics’ groups. His final role is as Steve Carell’s dad on Netflix’s upcoming Space Force. Carell calls him “The funniest person that I’ve ever worked with.”
“A fond farewell to Mr. Fred Willard,” actress Jamie Lee Curtis, whose husband, Christopher Guest, has worked with Willard extensively over the years, wrote in an Instagram tribute.”How lucky we all are that we got to witness his great gifts. Thanks for the deep belly laughs. You are now with Mary. Home safe.”
I first remember watching him as a kid in the movie “Moving Violations” (1985) which both was hilarious to a 8 year old but it made me afraid of driving. But he played so many iconic comedic roles over the years it’s hard to name them all.
But he was always a stand out in would steal every scene he was in… Even in small roles.. Which he took a lot off in his career.
His death comes less than two years after his wife Mary died at 71. The pair had been married since 1968 and had one daughter.