FRED WILLARD died on Friday of natural causes. He was 86. His daughter Hope said he passed “very peacefully.”
Fred was in a TON of stuff, but he was best known for his improv skills, like in the Christopher Guest mockumentaries “Waiting for Guffman”, “Best in Show”, “A Mighty Wind”, “For Your Consideration”, and “Mascots”. He was also in “This Is Spinal Tap”, which was directed by Rob Reiner.
Fred was the station manager in the “Anchorman” movies and the CEO of the Buy-N-Large Corporation in “Wall-E”, the FIRST live-action character in any Pixar movie.
On TV, he had a recurring role as Hank MacDougall on the later seasons of “Everybody Loves Raymond”, and he played Phil’s father on several episodes of “Modern Family”. He’s also in the upcoming Netflix show “Space Force”.
Back in the day, Fred was on “Fernwood 2 Night”, which was a spin-off of “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”. And you could regularly see him showing up in skits on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”.
Just a few days before Fred’s death, he was mourning the loss of Jerry Stiller on Twitter. He said, quote, “I met him in the ’60s when we played in the same clubs as he and Anne Meara. Unfortunately for us, they were much funnier! We couldn’t be jealous, so we became good friends instead.”
(“The Hollywood Reporter” and EOnline.com have celebrity tributes to Fred.)
(Here are some CLASSIC Fred scenes — from “Best in Show“, “A Mighty Wind“, “Anchorman“, “Waiting for Guffman“, and “This Is Spinal Tap“. And here’s a bit he did for FunnyOrDie.com.)