Steve Carell, Ellen DeGeneres And More Share Moving Tributes To The Late Fred Willard

Fred Willard in Best in Show (2000)

The comedy world lost a big name this weekend, as actor and comedian Fred Willard passed away at the age of 86. The beloved star’s passing has made waves within the industry and now, countless stars – those who worked with him and those who didn’t -- are taking the time to honor his memory.

Steve Carell was able to work with Fred Willard on a few occasions, with one of their most notable projects being Adam McKay’s Anchorman films. The two also teamed up for Carell’s upcoming Netflix series, Space Force, which appears to be Willard’s final role. In a Twitter post, Carell remembered Fred Willard as “the funniest person” that he’d ever worked with:

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Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres noted how Fred Willard always made her laugh and sent well wishes to his loved ones:

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Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted out a clip of Willard from the film Best in Show and thanked him for the years of laughs. She also expressed her hopes that Willard is now with his late wife, Mary:

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Christina Applegate also had the chance to work with Fred Willard on the Anchorman movies. In an emotional post, she admitted that she was “gutted” by the news of his passing and reflected on his talent as an actor and his kindness as a person:

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Ben Stiller, who recently lost his father Jerry Stiller, praised Fred Willard as a comic and improvisor who “could make anything funny.” He also declared that Willard’s work would go down as some of the funniest ever:

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Fred Willard died Friday night of natural causes, with the news being shared by his agent. His daughter, Hope, further confirmed the news through an emotional social media post. Willard was preceded in death by his wife, Mary, and is survived by his daughter and one grandson.

Willard’s career spanned nearly five decades and began when he started performing on stage in New York back in the ‘50s. As the decades would roll on, the actor would eventually make his way to television, a medium in which he would become a mainstay. This includes notable roles on shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, Roseanne, That ‘70s Show and Modern Family.

His film career would also produce a number of memorable performances in Anchorman, This Is Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind and Wall-E.

Fred Willard was a distinct comic whose brand of humor was easygoing and unapologetically buffoonish at times. He also had no problem playing hilariously clueless characters when the moment called for it.

It’s not often that someone has a career like Fred Willard’s, and it’s even rarer that a person leaves such an impression on people. It just goes to show that some people can impact others in ways that they couldn’t possibly imagine, all by just showing kindness and grace.

We here at CinemaBlend continue to extend our thoughts to Fred Willard’s loved ones at this time.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.