Beloved Actor/Comedian Fred Willard Passes Away at 86

Beloved actor and comic Fred Willard, died Friday at the age of 86. Fred Willard was known as a master of the mockumentary genre who was best known for comedies like Best in Show, For Your Consideration and This Is Spinal Tap, and as the CEO of BNL.

Willard’s rep Glenn Schwartz confirmed Fred Willard died of natural causes in his sleep. Willard’s daughter Hope Mulbarger said in a statement, “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.”

Willard is best known for his work in comedies — Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, For Your Consideration and A Mighty Wind — as well as scene-stealing moments in This Is Spinal TapAnchormanAustin Powers and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.

With hundreds of credits over an acting career that spanned over 50 years, Willard built a reputation where he could pop up in any setting — sitcoms (New Girl, Community, Modern Family), cartoons, late-night TV, offbeat comedies (Tim & Eric, Comedy Bang! Bang!, I Think You Should Leave), reality television (The Bachelor and The Bachelorette), game shows, commercials, even soap operas (an Emmy-nominated turn on The Bold and the Beautiful) — and it was not out of character.

Willard will appear posthumously in the upcoming Netflix satirical series Space Force; a testament to his enormous filmography, Willard previously starred in an unrelated 1978 TV movie also titled Space Force.

Willard donated a great deal of his time to charitable endeavors. Willard’s work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, City of Hope, and Actors and Others for Animals, prompted a commendation from the City of Los Angeles, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised him for ‘outstanding humanitarian and philanthropic work.’”

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