Fred Willard, of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond, ‘Best in Show,’ dead at 86

Fred Willard, the voice of the Secretary of the Interior in the animated comedy "Planes: Fire & Rescue," attends the premiere in Los Angeles in 2014. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

May 16 (UPI) — “Modern Family” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” actor Fred Willard has died, his family said Saturday. He was 86.

“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,” his daughter Hope told in a statement. “We loved him so very much!”

No cause of death was specified.

The former “Real People” host was best known for his roles in filmmaker Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries, including “For Your Consideration,” “Best in Show”, “A Mighty Wind,” “Waiting for Guffman” and “This is Spinal Tap.”

His TV and film credits date back to the 1960s and include” Silver Streak,” “Roxanne,” “Permanent Midnight,” “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” “The Wedding Planner,” the “Anchorman” movies, “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Get Smart” and “Love, American Style.”

“How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard’s gifts. He is with his missed Mary now. Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard,” actress Jamie Lee Curtis — Guest’s wife — tweeted.

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

Filmmaker Judd Apatow posted on Twitter: “Fred Willard could not have been funnier. He was pure joy. And the sweetest person you could ever meet.”

“There was no man sweeter or funnier. We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and will miss his many visits,” talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel wrote.

“Fred Willard was the funniest person that I’ve ever worked with. He was a sweet, wonderful man,” actor Steve Carell said.


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