Comedic actor Fred Willard dead at 86: reports

Comedic actor Fred Willard has died, according to multiple reports by U.S. media outlets.

Willard was 86.

A representative confirmed the actor’s passing to Rolling Stone and People magazine.

“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,” Willard’s daughter Hope Mulbarger told People.

“We loved him so very much!”

Willard’s was attributed to natural causes.

His career dates back to the late 1960s but in recent years he was best known for his recurring role on ABC’s Modern Family. He played Frank Dunphy, the father of Phil Dunphy.

“Rest in peace sweet Fred Willard,” co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson wrote in a tweet. “You will always be a true original and I am so honoured that our lives intersected.”

Willard was also known for his part in the 2000 dog show mockumentary Best in Show, along with This is Spinal Tap and Anchorman.

Steve Carell, who also starred in Anchorman, said Willard was the funniest person he’d ever worked with.

“He was a sweet, wonderful man,” he tweeted.

Willard was active on his Twitter account as recently as Monday.

He paid tribute to fellow comedic actor Jerry Stiller, who died at 92.

“He was a good friend and a very funny man,” Willard wrote. “I met him in the ’60s when we played in the same clubs in The Village as he and Anne Meara. Unfortunately for us, they were much funnier! We couldn’t be jealous, so we became good friends instead.”


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