Fred Willard, comedic improvisation style actor, has died at 86
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Fred Willard, the comedic actor whose improvisational style has kept him relevant for over 50 years in films like “This Is Spinal Tap”, “Best In Show” and “Anchorman”, is dead. He was 86 years old.
Willard’s daughter Hope Mulbarger said in a statement on Saturday that her father passed away peacefully on Friday evening. The cause of his death has not been disclosed.
“He kept moving and working and making us happy until the very end,” Mulbarger said. “We loved him so much! He will be missed forever.
Willard was rarely a leading man or even a major supporting figure. He specialized in small stage flight appearances.
As an arrogant and clueless sports announcer on “Best In Show,” his character clearly seemed to know nothing about the dogs he’s supposed to be talking about and asks his on-air partner, “How much do you think I can bench? “
Willard has been nominated four times for Emmy for his roles in “What’s Hot, What’s Not”, “Everybody Loves Raymond”, “Modern Family” and “The Bold and the Beautiful”.
“How lucky we all got to enjoy the gifts from Fred Willard,” actress Jamie Lee Curtis said on Twitter. She was married to Christopher Guest who directed “Best in Show” and “Waiting for Guffman”.
“Thanks for the deep belly laughs, Mr. Willard,” she continued.
Willard’s death comes almost two years after the death of his wife Mary Willard at the age of 71. She was a playwright and television writer, earning four Emmy nominations.
After his wife died, Willard wondered if he would work again. But the beloved actor was brought on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to poke fun at President Donald Trump’s “space force”. It was a cover role of the 1978 show “Space Force” on NBC.
“There was no sweeter or funnier man,” Kimmel said on Twitter. “We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and his many visits will be missed.”
In 2012, Willard got into trouble with the law. The actor was arrested on suspicion of committing an obscene act in a Hollywood adult theater.
Willard was fired from a storytelling job and had to complete a diversion program. He called the arrest “very embarrassing” but insisted he had done nothing wrong.
“This is the last time I listen to my wife when she says, ‘Why don’t you go see a movie?'” Said Willard during an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s NBC show ” Late Night “.