‘Modern Family’ & ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’s Fred Willard Dies at 86

Fred Willard
ABC/Richard Cartwright

It was revealed Saturday, that comedic master and beloved actor Fred Willard has died at the age of 86 due to natural causes.

Known for his many collaborations with Christopher Guest, Willard’s best remembered for his roles in films like This Is Spinal Tap, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman and A Might Wind. Recently, Willard appeared in the final season of ABC’s Modern Family, reprising his role as Phil Dunphy’s (Ty Burrell) goofy father Frank.

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The actor is slated to appear in Netflix’s upcoming Greg Daniels and Steve Carell collaboration, Space Force, on Netflix. Willard’s other television credits include roles in Everybody Loves Raymond, The Bold and the Beautiful, Mad About You and many more. Willard’s impact was certainly felt among the community as wife of his longtime friend Guest and actress Jamie Lee Curtis paid tribute to him via social media.

The actress was also the first to break news of Willard’s passing as she wrote, “How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard’s gifts. He is with his missed Mary now,” she tweeted alongside a clip from Best in Show.

In a separate message shared to Curtis’ Instagram, she offered a similar sentiment, writing, “A fond farewell to Mr. Fred Willard. How lucky we all are that we got to witness his great gifts. Thanks for the deep belly laughs. You are now with Mary. Home safe.” Willard’s wife Mary died in 2018.

Modern Family Ty Burrell Fred Willard

(Credit: ABC/Richard Cartwright)

The comedian’s daughter Hope Mulbarger said in a statement released to press, “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.”

The Second City alum earned four Emmy nominations throughout his career for his work on Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family.