If you’re a fan of comedy, there’s no doubt that you’ll be well-acquainted with Fred Willard’s work. The legendary actor and comedian enjoyed a career that spanned more than 50 years and left an indelible mark on the genre. Sadly, Willard died on Friday, May 15 at the age of 86, his rep Glenn Schwartz has confirmed.
How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard’s gifts. He is with his missed Mary now. Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard. Best in Show (7/11) Movie CLIP – Judging the Hounds (2000) HD https://t.co/wPrbk9VjWI via @YouTube
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) May 16, 2020
- Fred Willard died of natural causes. Schwartz said that Willard had no severe underlying illnesses and that his death was completely natural. “A four-time Emmy nominee radiated a unique charm that established him as one of our generation’s most gifted comic actors,” he wrote in a tribute. “A master of sketch comedy, Fred was most heralded for his quick wit and improvisational expertise, which he demonstrated in hundreds of appearances on stage, on the big screen, and on a wide range of television shows.”
- Willard’s daughter Hope Mulbarger released a statement following her father’s passing. In the statement released Saturday, Mulbarger said, “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. We loved him so very much! We will miss him forever.”
- Many stars have expressed their sympathy and sadness over Fred Willard’s death. Jamie Lee Curtis, who is married to Christopher Guest, Willard’s longtime friend and collaborator, took to Twitter to express her thoughts. “How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard’s gifts. He is with his missed Mary now. Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard,” she wrote. Willard’s wife Mary, to whom he was married for 40 years, died in 2018.
- Here’s hoping appreciation for his work increases. Fred Willard may have died, but his work lives in forever, which is wonderful. To me, he’ll always be Ron Albertson from Waiting For Guffman and Buck Laughlin from Best in Show. To others, he’ll always be Ed Harken from Anchorman or Frank Dunphy from Modern Family. Whatever your favorite movie or TV show of his, there’s always more to discover, and that is indeed a gift.
I’m at a loss for words, a state Fred Willard never found himself in. My friend for 40+ years, a great comic actor who had no competition because there was only one of him. We were all so lucky. Goodbye, Fred.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) May 16, 2020
RIP, Fred. You were always my comic hero. I was thrilled to work with you in Roxanne. https://t.co/IjSxCMESzt
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) May 16, 2020
This was what it was like watching Fred Willard work. pic.twitter.com/XmHJxLED2J
— Destroyer Of Comedy, Humor (@timheidecker) May 17, 2020
There is nobody funnier than Fred Willard. Every time he was on screen I got excited and he never disappointed. Every time I saw him in real life he was kind and generous. Watching him in Fernwood Tonight, Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and all of his other film… pic.twitter.com/ilGiJ3u0vV
— nick kroll (@nickkroll) May 16, 2020
“Hi Jane how ya doing here’s what I need you to say to set me up thanks you look great.” Fred Willard.
— Jane Lynch (@janemarielynch) May 16, 2020