Beloved comedy legend Fred Willard has died at the age of 86
His career spanned more than five decades and includes many memorable performances
Fred Willard, one of the most charismatic comedians of our time, has died at the age of 86 in his apartment in Los Angeles on May 15.
The ever-positive actor seems to have kept his signature liveliness until the very end, keeping “moving, working and making us happy until the very end,” his daughter Hope Mulbarger has come out and said.
Willard is beloved by comedy fans and colleagues alike. His career spans more than five decades and includes many memorable performances. Some of his most career-defining roles are in Christopher Guest’s films like the mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Mind, and Best in Show, which are marked by his heavy free-flowing improvisations.
“In scripted situations, he doesn’t get a chance to show the gift that he’s got that nobody else has,” Guest told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2006.
Of course, the latter part of his career is characterized by his roles in sitcoms like Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family, which earned him 4 Emmy nominations in total. In the latter, Willard plays Frank Dunphy’s equally quaint and goofy father, which is the role his most recent fans probably know him best for. He also starred in both Anchorman movies and made several appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
“There was no man sweeter or funnier. We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and will miss his many visits,” Kimmel tweeted.