‘Modern Family’ & ‘Anchorman’ Actor Fred Willard Dies At 86

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.

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.”
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love. Follow us on Instagram @bolde_media or on Facebook @BoldeMedia