Comedic actor Fred Willard, known for his roles in Modern Family and Best in Show, died at age 86 on Saturday. 

Willard’s death was confirmed by his agent Mike Eisenstadt, but no specific cause of his death was given. Willard’s daughter Hope Malbarger told Today that her father’s death was related to natural causes and 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.”

Willard worked closely with director Christopher Guest and appeared in a number of his television shows and movies. Guest’s wife Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted about Willard’s death and attached a video clip of him in the movie Best in Show. Curtis said, “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.”

Willard had been nominated for several Emmys for his roles on Modern Family and Everybody Loves Raymond. He has appeared in multiple films and television shows for over 50 years. He had recently finished shooting Modern Family and can be seen as playing Steve Carrell’s father in the Netflix series Space Force

Before the stay at home order was enforced due to the Coronavirus, Jimmy Kimmel had Willard on his show Jimmy Kimmel Live! every two weeks. 

Willard is also known for his role in Guest’s films Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind and Best in show. He also had a role in the Anchorman series with Will Ferrell.

Willard’s daughter Mulbarger was shared with his late wife Mary, who died in 2018. They were married in 1968 and shared Willard’s grandson Freddie.


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