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“Modern Family” Actor Fred Willard Dies At 86

Fred Willard

Credit: Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP/Shutterstock Fred Willard seen at the Television Academy’s 67th Emmy Daytime Peer Group Celebration at the Montage Beverly Hills on in Beverly Hills, Cali

American actor and comedian Fred Willard, best known for his roles “Best in Show” and “Modern Family, has died. He was aged 86.


Willard died Friday night in Los Angeles of natural causes according to his agent Michael Eisenstadt, The Hollywood Reporter reports.

Willard’s daughter Hope Mulbarger said in a statement:

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news 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.”

With hundreds of credits, Fred Willard featured in Teenage Mother (1967), Jenny (1970), Silver Streak (1976), Fun With Dick and Jane (1977), How to Beat the High Cost of Living (1980), Permanent Midnight (1998), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004), Monster House (2004), Epic Movie (2007), Max Rose (2013) and Fifty Shades of Black (2016).

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.”

In 2015 he won a Daytime Emmy for a story arc as John Forrester on “The Bold and the Beautiful”; he had previously been nominated in 1986 for outstanding talk or service show host for “What’s Hot, What’s Not.”

Willard will appear posthumously in the upcoming Netflix satirical series Space Force.

Television host, Jimmy Kimmel tweeted his tribute to the late actor:

“There was no man sweeter or funnier. We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and will miss his many visits.”

Willard’s wife, Mary Lovell, whom he married in 1968, died in July 2018. He is survived by a daughter and grandson.

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