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Stage and Screen Actor Fred Willard Dies at Age 86

Stage and Screen Actor Fred Willard Dies at Age 86

BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that stage and screen actor Fred Willard has died at age 86. According to Variety, he died of "natural causes."

Willard's stage credits include a one-man show, Fred Willard: Alone At Last!, as well as Off-Broadway performances in Little Murders, Arf, and Elvis and Juliet. His regional roles included Call Me Madam in Chicago and Promises, Promises, and Anything Goes, both in Los Angeles. In 2014, he appeared as Cap'n Andy in a semi-staged production of "Showboat" at Lincoln Center.

Willard got his start in improv comedy with the Second City in the 1960s. He was also a co-founder of the Ace Trucking Company improv troupe, with which he made numerous appearances on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" and "The Dick Cavett Show" in the 1960s and 70s.

He then went on to make a name for himself on TV and film, beginning when he played Jerry Hubbard in the TV series "Fernwood Tonight" and "America 2-night" in 1977 and 1978. Willard appeared in the 1985 HBO mockumentary "The History of White People in America," and had a recurring role on "Roseanne" beginning in 1995.

Among the actor's many notable film roles are Buck Laughlin in "Best In Show" (2000), Shelby Forthright in "Wall-E" (2008), Ed Harken in "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" (2004), Dr. Willoughby in "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" (2004), Harold Flaherty in "American Wedding" (2003), and many more.

His extensive television credits include "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Modern Family," "A Minute with Stan Hooper," "King of the Hill", "Maybe It's Me", "Mad About You", "D.C. Follies", "Sirota's Court", "Fernwood 2 Night", and many more.

Wilalrd has also made dozens of appearances in sketches on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

Willard was nominated for four Emmy Awards, three of which were for playing Hank on "Everybody Loves Raymond." The fourth was in 2010 for his recurring role as Frank Dunphy on "Modern Family." Willard won a Daytime Emmy in 2015 for his role as John Forrester on "The Bold and the Beautiful." He was also nominated in 1986 for "What's Hot, What's Not."

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