As if 2020 hadn’t turned out to be terrible enough, the news comes today that legendary actor and famous funny Fred Willard has passed away. Willard is a veteran of large and small screens with dozens of memorable and hilarious roles. Fans around the world are very saddened by the news of his death. According to his agent Michael Eisenstadt, Willard died on Friday evening in Los Angeles for “natural reasons” at the age of 86. “He kept moving, working and making us happy to the end. We loved him so much! We’ll miss him forever,” added Willard’s daughter Hope, noting that the actor died “very peacefully”.
Willard is from Shaker Heights, Ohio. He was born on September 18, 1933. He later graduated from the Kentucky Military Institute in 1951 before serving in the U.S. Army in Germany in the early 1950s. However, Willard moved to New York shortly afterwards to begin his career as an entertainer. Together with Vic Grecco, he played comedy acts under the name Willard & Greco. Their performance was so well received by the audience that the duo performed Today’s show and The Dean Martin Show.
Though he continued to perform on stage, Willard sought roles on the big screen and made his film debut in Exploitation in 1967 Teenage mother. This started a career with several dozen film roles in the following years. One of Willard’s most memorable films is his collaboration with director Christopher Guest, which also includes roles in A mighty wind, This is spinal tap, and For your consideration. Willard also appeared in cult classics such as How high, Harold & Kumar Go to the White Castle, and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy along with its sequel Anchorman 2.
Willard is also very popular for his television work, in the course of which he received three Emmy nominations for his role in Ray Romano’s comedy series Everybody Loves Raymond and more recently for the popular sitcom Modern family. He has appeared on numerous other television shows over the years, such as: One minute with Stan Hooper, Roseanne, Maybe it’s me, family Guy, Friends, Sister sisterand dozens more than dozens more that occur on many occasions than himself. Posthumously Willard can be seen in the upcoming Netflix series Space forces alongside Steve Carell and John Malkovich, with the role serving as Willard’s last acting achievement.
Willard precedes the death of his wife Mary Willard, who died in 2018 after 50 years of marriage. His survivors include her daughter Hope and a grandson, Freddie. Our condolences to them at this point. Due to his many appearances, Willard will always be remembered and missed a lot. Perhaps screen legend Jamie Lee Curtis said it best when she replied to the message: “How lucky we were all able to enjoy Fred Willard’s gifts. He’s with his missing Mary now. Thanks for the deep belly, Mr. Willard laughs.” We couldn’t have said it better. Rest in peace. This message comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.