The comedic actor Fred Willard, who appeared in classic films Anchorman and This Is Spinal Tap, has died aged 86.
Willard died peacefully of natural causes surrounded by family.
Willard appeared in excess of 300 movies and TV shows across his eclectic career, becoming one of the most beloved comedy actors in the business.
Hope Mulbarger, Willards daughter, released a statement, “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.”
In a career that spanned over 50 years, Willard appeared in TV shows For Your Consideration, Best In Show, and A Mighty Wind along with numerous appearances in sitcoms such as New Girl, Friends and Modern Family.
The upcoming TV show Space Force will be Willard’s final role. His co-star Steve Carrell expressed his gratitude, “Fred Willard was the funniest person that I’ve ever worked with. He was a sweet, wonderful man.”
Jamie Lee Curtis posted to Twitter stating, “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.”
IT Crowd actor Chris O’Dowd explained Willards influence on him, “Among many things, Fred Willard taught me not to be afraid to turn up to a scene with your own joke props. Or indeed material. What an incredibly funny man. Rest well Fred.”
Make sure to catch his final appearance in the new show Space Force on Netflix May 29th.
There was no man sweeter or funnier. We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and will miss his many visits https://t.co/joHM39o8k4
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) May 16, 2020
Among many things, Fred Willard taught me not to be afraid to turn up to a scene with your own joke props. Or indeed material. What an incredibly funny man. Rest well Fred. pic.twitter.com/w2tEX066l1
— chris o’dowd (@BigBoyler) May 16, 2020
Gutted. His immense talent and kindness will never be forgotten. We love you Fred Willard. Thank you for the decades of laughter.
— christina applegate (@1capplegate) May 16, 2020
RIP to the legendary #FredWillard. The first time I worked with him ironically it was a table reading for a Drama/comedy play. I was still in The Groundlings in those days. He looked right in my eyes when we had dialogue. Basic but vital acting tip. Oh and funny as f**k💔
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 16, 2020
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 https://t.co/wPrbk9VjWI via @YouTube
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) May 16, 2020