17/05/2020 09:16 BST

Fred Willard, Prolific Comic Actor, Dies Aged 86

The late actor appeared in Everybody Loves Raymond, This Is Spinal Tap and, more recently, Modern Family.

Fred Willard, the comedic actor who appeared in This Is Spinal Tap, Best In Show and Everybody Loves Raymond, has died at the age of 86.

His representatives confirmed To Rolling Stone and The Hollywood Reporter that the star had died of natural causes on Friday night.

“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,” Fred’s daughter Hope Mulbarger said in a statement to People magazine.

“We loved him so very much!”

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Fred Willard at the Daytime Emmys in 2015

Actor Jamie Lee Curtis payed homage to her friend by sharing a clip from the comedy Best In Show.

“Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard,” she tweeted.

Fred’s wife, playwright Mary Willard, died in 2018 at the age of 71. 

Over his long career, Fred earned four Emmy nominations, including one nod for his guest-starring work on the hit series Modern Family. His character, Frank Dunphy, appeared in 14 episodes of the show, and died earlier this year.

Born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Fred appeared in a number of films in the 1960s and 70s including, Teenage Mother, Jenny, Silver Streak and Fun With Dick and Jane, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

He later memorably appeared in movies Anchorman and Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle.

Steve Carell, who played Brick Tamland in Anchorman, paid his respects to his former co-star on Saturday night, tweeting that the comedian was “the funniest person that I’ve ever worked with”.

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

Fred was celebrated for his improv-style acting and made frequent visits to late night shows, including Jay Leno’s Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live. 

Last year, Jimmy told the Los Angeles Times about Fred Willard that “people here are always happy to see him”.

“We genuinely love Fred, not just because he’s funny, but because he’s such a sweet man,” he noted.

On Saturday night, Jimmy tweeted: “There was no man sweeter or funnier. We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and will miss his many visits.”

Other celebrities took to Twitter to pay homage to Willard:

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