'Modern Family' Star Fred Willard Passed Away

The comedy legend who starred in 'Anchorman' and 'Everybody Loves Raymond' has died at the age of 86 just a couple of weeks before his final project comes out.

AceShowbiz - Comedy icon Fred Willard has died, aged 86.

The "Best in Show" star's daughter, Hope, reveals he passed away "very peacefully" late on Friday, May 15, 2020.

She told TMZ, "He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end. We loved him so very much. We will miss him forever."

The Ohio native made his screen debut in the mid-1960s with small roles in TV series like "Pistols 'n' Petticoats" and "Get Smart", and went on to enjoy a career spanning more than five decades.

Known for his work in the mockumentary genre, he was famed for starring in Rob Reiner's "This Is Spinal Tap" in 1984, and collaborating with filmmaker Christopher Guest on "Waiting for Guffman", "A Mighty Wind", "For Your Consideration", and "Mascots".

They also teamed up for 2000's "Best in Show", and for Will Ferrell's "Anchorman" films, in which Willard portrayed news director Ed Harken.

He joined the cast of hit sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond", earning three Emmy Award nominations in the early 2000s for playing Hank, while he scored a fourth Emmy nod in 2010 for "Modern Family", in which he starred as Phil Dunphy's father, Frank.

Willard later appeared on U.S. soap "The Bold and the Beautiful", landing a Daytime Emmy in 2015.

His other credits included films such as "The Wedding Planner", "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle", "Chicken Little", and "WALL-E", as well as TV shows "Roseanne", "Two Guys and a Girl", "Ally McBeal", "Sister, Sister", "That '70s Show", "Family Guy", and "Back to You".

His final project, upcoming Steve Carell comedy series "Space Force", is due to premiere on Netflix on May 29, 2020.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who is married to Christopher Guest, led the tributes to Willard on social media on Saturday.

"How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard's gifts," she tweeted. "He is with his missed Mary (late wife who died in 2018) now. Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard."

Willard's "Spinal Tap" co-star Michael McKean was also among the first to remember his old pal, posting, "I'm 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."

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