Fred Willard, Best in Show & Anchorman star, dies at 86
ComingSoon.net is saddened to bring the news that Fred Willard, beloved comedian and star of the acclaimed 2000 mockumentary Best in Show and Anchorman franchise, has died from natural causes at the age of 86, with Jamie Lee Curtis (Knives Out), wife of frequent Willard collaborator Christopher Guest, taking to Twitter as the first to announce the news.
Willard worked as an actor for 61 years, beginning in 1959 and working all the way up through his passing on Friday, with some of his earliest roles including the first hit pairing of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in the buddy comedy Silver Streak and going on to have supporting roles in Fun With Dick and Jane and First Family, as well as key roles in the Norman Lear sitcom Fernwood 2 Night, miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and reality series Real People, which ran from 1979-84.
He would start to find success on the big screen in his first collaboration with Guest, This Is Spinal Tap, on which Curtis’ husband was the co-writer and star with Rob Reiner directing, and would continue his partnership with Guest in the 1996 mockumentary Waiting For Guffman and the similarly genred 2000 smash hit Best In Show. Willard would continue his success in the comedic big screen realm with roles in 2001 and 2004 stoner comedies How High and Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, as well as the Will Ferrell-starring Anchorman franchise.
Willard also made appearances in recurring roles on various TV shows over the years including Everybody Loves Raymond, for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, Back to You, Modern Family, for which he earned his second Emmy nomination as the father to Ty Burrell’s Phil Dunphy, and will be seen in his final appearance on the forthcoming Netflix series Space Force starring Steve Carell, which premieres on May 29.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Many fans and collaborators took to Twitter to mourn Willard’s death, some of which include: