Fred Willard dies; Modern Family, Bachelor Nation favorite was 86

Fred WillardThe entertainment world has lost another iconic performer. Today, the news was first revealed that the iconic Fred Willard, comedic icon of movies and TV, has died at the age of 86. The news was shared by a number of different entertainers, including Jamie Lee Curtis, performer and wife of Willard’s longtime collaborator Christopher Guest.

For movie fans, Fred is probably best remembered for Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and This Is Spinal Tap. He excelled perhaps best in the mockumentary format, which is why we often saw him bring this brand of humor into things loosely related to this. He was a favorite of The Bachelor franchise, and often found his way into the position of “judge” for multiple group dates over the years. (We really got a sense that Chris Harrison in particular was a huge Willard fan.) Meanwhile, he also appeared in a multitude of episodes of Modern Family. Prior to his death, he filmed a major role in the upcoming Netflix comedy Space Force alongside Steve Carell. He was a favorite recurring guest star in a number of different shows.

One other fascinating tidbit about Willard — he was one of the first live-action performers to appear in a Pixar film following his role on Wall-E.

We imagine that tributes to Fred will come pouring in throughout the day. He was one of those talents who surpassed generations, and even those who don’t know his name are likely familiar with at least some of his contributions to entertainment. He was willing to take some risks and do almost anything for a laugh — his timing was impeccable, and he would be able to do a lot sometimes with just a little. With this being the weekend, now is the best time to go out and check out some of his work. We’re sure that Space Force will also find a way to honor much of his contributions to it posthumously when it premieres.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to those who loved Fred during this difficult time. (Photo: ABC.)

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