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Modern Family actor Fred Willard dead at 86 from natural causes

Comic talent Fred Willard has passed away at 86.

The Best In Show actor died from natural causes, rep Glenn Schwartz confirmed to Rolling Stone.

He was well known for his roles in Christopher Guest mockumentaries like A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration and This Is Spinal Tap, also recently appearing on the hit series Modern Family.

RIP: Comic talent Fred Willard has passed away at 86 from natural causes

The news was first shared by actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the wife of Willard’s longtime collaborator Guest.

‘How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard’s gifts,’ Curtis tweeted. 

‘He is with his missed Mary now. Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard.’ 

Willard’s wife of 50 years, Mary, died in 2018.

Funnyman: The legendary comedic actor was well known for his roles in Christopher Guest mockumentaries like Best In Show, For Your Consideration and This Is Spinal Tap

Funnyman: The legendary comedic actor was well known for his roles in Christopher Guest mockumentaries like Best In Show, For Your Consideration and This Is Spinal Tap

The news was first shared by: Jamie Lee Curtis, the wife of Willard's longtime collaborator Guest, who tweeted out condolences

The news was first shared by: Jamie Lee Curtis, the wife of Willard’s longtime collaborator Guest, who tweeted out condolences

And while Fred was famous for his cheeky dog show host in Best In Show as well as his Emmy-nominated roles on Modern Family and Everybody Loves Raymond – the latter of which earning him three Emmy nods – Willard had an illustrious television career dating all the way back to 1966.

Just some of the notable series in which he appeared over the decades include Get Smart, The Bob Newhart Show, Laverne & Shirley, The Love Boat, Golden Girls, Roseanne, Married… with Children, Lois & Clark, Mad About You and Ally McBeal.

Willard’s daughter Hope Mulbarger commemorated her father in a statement, saying, ‘He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end. We loved him so very much! We will miss him forever.’

Touching: Willard’s daughter Hope Mulbarger commemorated her father in a statement

Touching: Willard’s daughter Hope Mulbarger commemorated her father in a statement

While Fred was famous for his Emmy-nominated roles on Modern Family and Everybody Loves Raymond, he had an illustrious television career dating back to 1966; seen here with Ty Burrell

While Fred was famous for his Emmy-nominated roles on Modern Family and Everybody Loves Raymond, he had an illustrious television career dating back to 1966; seen here with Ty Burrell

What a judge: Arguably Fred's most famous and sidesplitting role was as the bonkers announcer of the dog show opposite Jim Piddock's straight man in Best In Show from 2000

What a judge: Arguably Fred’s most famous and sidesplitting role was as the bonkers announcer of the dog show opposite Jim Piddock’s straight man in Best In Show from 2000

TV work: Willard played Scott, husband to Leon (Martin Mull) on Roseanne

TV work: Willard played Scott, husband to Leon (Martin Mull) on Roseanne

In addition to his unparalleled career in television, Willard turned in some memorable film roles as well, beyond his celebrated collaboration on the Christopher Guest comedies.

He played Ed Harken in Anchorman as well as its sequel, figured prominently as the only live-action participant in the Pixar epic WALL·E, and lent his voice to films such as Planes: Fire & Rescue and Monster House.  

Other famous industry players to share condolences on Saturday regarding Willard’s passing included Judd Apatow, who called him ‘pure joy’ and said he ‘could not have been funnier.’

Accolades: Fred earned three Emmy nods for his role on Everybody Loves Raymond; seen here with Ray Romano and Chris Elliott

Accolades: Fred earned three Emmy nods for his role on Everybody Loves Raymond; seen here with Ray Romano and Chris Elliott

In addition to his unparalleled career in television, Willard turned in some memorable film roles as well: Here his is seen opposite Will Ferrell in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

In addition to his unparalleled career in television, Willard turned in some memorable film roles as well: Here his is seen opposite Will Ferrell in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

TV veteran: Willard had an illustrious television career dating all the way back to 1966, with credits including The Bob Newhart Show, Laverne & Shirley and Golden Girls (pictured)

TV veteran: Willard had an illustrious television career dating all the way back to 1966, with credits including The Bob Newhart Show, Laverne & Shirley and Golden Girls (pictured)

Henry Winkler of Happy Days fame said Fred was ‘incomparable.’

And Jimmy Kimmel, who welcomed Willard as a guest on his late night show numerous times, said ‘there was no man sweeter or funnier. We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and will miss his many visits’.

Finally, Michael McKean, Willard’s Best In Show costar, tweeted that he was ‘at a loss for words, a state Fred Willard never found himself in. My friend for 40+ years, a great comic actor who had no competition because there was only one of him. We were all so lucky. Goodbye, Fred.’

Remembered: Famous industry players to share condolences on Saturday regarding Willard's passing included Judd Apatow, who called him 'pure joy'

Remembered: Famous industry players to share condolences on Saturday regarding Willard’s passing included Judd Apatow, who called him ‘pure joy’

Not forgotten: Jimmy Kimmel, who welcomed Willard as a guest on his late night show numerous times, said 'there was no man sweeter or funnier'

Not forgotten: Jimmy Kimmel, who welcomed Willard as a guest on his late night show numerous times, said ‘there was no man sweeter or funnier’

'At a loss for words': Michael McKean, Willard's Best In Show costar, tweeted in Fred's honor

‘At a loss for words’: Michael McKean, Willard’s Best In Show costar, tweeted in Fred’s honor

RIP: Fred is survived by his daughter Hope, whom he had with his wife of 50 years Mary, who died in 2018 at the age of 71

RIP: Fred is survived by his daughter Hope, whom he had with his wife of 50 years Mary, who died in 2018 at the age of 71

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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