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

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 27: Actor Fred Willard arrives at the Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences' Performers Nominee Reception at the Pacific Design Center on August 27, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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 People.com 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.

“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,” Jamie Lee Curtis said.

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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