Fred Willard, who appeared in films including Anchorman and This Is Spinal Tap and television shows such as Modern Family, died, his agent announced Saturday. He was 86.
Fred’s daughter, Hope Mulbarger, said in a statement on Saturday that her father died peacefully Friday night. The cause of his death has not been released. “He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end,” Mulbarger said. “We loved him so very much! We will miss him forever.”
Willard was a four-time Emmy nominee for his roles in What’s Hot, What’s Not, Everybody Loves Raymond, Modern Family and The Bold and the Beautiful.
Tributes poured in for the actor, with long-time friend and fellow showbiz veteran Jamie Lee Curtis tweeting “Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard.”
“Fred Willard was the funniest person that I’ve ever worked with. He was a sweet, wonderful man,” tweeted actor Steve Carrell.
His initial work included a production of Desperate Hours at a local YMCA, where he worked with future comedy partner Vic Grecco. They later performed under the moniker Willard and Grecco in the Greenwich Village area. The comedy duo found some success touring and made appearances on The Dean Martin Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Tonight Show.
RIP Fred Willard!