Fred Willard

Fred Willard

Date of Birth

Date of Birth: September 18, 1939
Date of Passing: May 15, 2020
Birthplace: Shaker Heights, Ohio
Obituary: Hollywood Reporter

Fred Willard was an American actor and comedian.

After serving in the Army for two years, Willard moved to New York and studied acting, forming a comedy act with fellow student Vic Greco. They toured nightclubs and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Steve Allen Show. After they split, Willard joined Second City in Chicago, and later was a cofounder of the improvisational comedy group Ace Trucking Company.

Fred Willard was an American actor and comedian.

After serving in the Army for two years, Willard moved to New York and studied acting, forming a comedy act with fellow student Vic Greco. They toured nightclubs and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Steve Allen Show. After they split, Willard joined Second City in Chicago, and later was a cofounder of the improvisational comedy group Ace Trucking Company.

Willard's best-known television role came in 1977, when he appeared on the late-night syndicated talk show spoof Fernwood 2 Night, playing co-host and sidekick Jerry Hubbard opposite Martin Mull as host Barth Gimble. The show was rebranded as America 2 Night in its second season. Willard collaborated with Mull in several more TV projects and the 1988 film Portrait of a White Marriage.

He was the only human actor — the bartender — on Sid and Marty Krofft's D.C. Follies, a political satire populated with puppets of presidents Reagan, Carter, Ford and Nixon and reporters Dan Rather and Ted Koppel, among others. The series ran on ABC from 1987-89.

Willard was a longtime collaborator with writer-director Christopher Guest, appearing in several of his mockumentaries: This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration, and Mascots.

Willard was nominated four times for Emmy Awards, three of them (in 2003, 2004 and 2005) for playing Hank on Everybody Loves Raymond and the fourth in 2010 for his recurring role as Frank Dunphy, the father of Ty Burrell's Phil Dunphy, on Modern Family. He was also nominated twice for Daytime Emmy Awards, receiving an Emmy in 2015 for his Special Guest performance on The Bold and the Beautiful.

Willard died May 15, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. He was 86.

Show more

Awards & Nominations

5 Nominations
Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series - 2020
  • Nominee
  • Fred Willard, as Frank Dunphy
  • Modern Family
  • "Legacy"
  • ABC
  • Picador Productions and Steven Levitan Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series - 2010
  • Nominee
  • Fred Willard, as Frank Dunphy
  • Modern Family
  • "Travels With Scout"
  • ABC
  • Picador Productions & Steve Levitan Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Fred Willard at the 2015 Creative Arts Ball.
Actor Fred Willard (L) and wife Mary Willard
Fred Willard at the 62nd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards
Fill 1
Fill 1
Fred Willard at the 2015 Creative Arts Ball.
Camera

Fred Willard at the 2015 Creative Arts Ball.

Invision/AP
Actor Fred Willard (L) and wife Mary Willard
Fred Willard at the 62nd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards
Camera
Mathew Imaging
Browser Requirements
The TelevisionAcademy.com sites look and perform best when using a modern browser.

We suggest you use the latest version of any of these browsers:

Chrome
Firefox
Safari


Visiting the site with Internet Explorer or other browsers may not provide the best viewing experience.

Close Window