Fred Willard, a remarkable actor in the popular television series Modern Family is the most heart-melting person on the show. Willard is one of the most gifted comic actors. He is also widely known for his improvisational comedic skills. He played the character of Phil’s father in Modern Family.
The bond between these two characters was so heart-warming yet so underrated in the show. The fans will insanely miss this father-son duo. Fred Willard not only created history by playing this epic character, but this iconic personality has played hundreds of characters in a decade worth of films and television shows.
Here is complete info about the legendary actor who hasn’t just made a mark in the world of television, but he is also a wonderful person by heart.
Fred Willard was perfect as Phil’s dad Frank Dunphy on MODERN FAMILY. His character’s moving send-off in the final season is one of the series’ best moments. pic.twitter.com/MSVn5phmds
— Julia Ricci (@julsrich) May 16, 2020
Fred Willard in Modern Family
He created history by playing such an iconic character in the Modern Family television series. Even though Willard had limited screen timing in the show, his heart-melting character greatly influenced his fans. The great Fred Willard was one of the funniest people the show featured.
Phil and his father had one of the major functional relationships in the show. The subtlety Fred Willard brought to his character is unmatchable.
Willard’s work was so immaculate in the show that Ty Burrell (Phil Dunphy) appeared to be actually related to each other in real life. Willard’s recurring role as Frank Dunphy was a major hook for the audience even though he wasn’t among the main leads.
Fred Willard’s Popular Character Frank Dunphy
Frank Dunphy had an easygoing, sweet, and goofy personality. Phil always shared a special bond with his father. Frank was always seen supporting his son. Their chemistry was one of the most interesting story arcs of the show.
Fred Willard not only made the show much more wholesome, but he also presented an ideal father through his character. Frank and Phil had an amazing dynamic. This is one of the most authentic father-son relationships shown in any series.
Fred Willard bought such a great ambiance for the Modern Family TV show. The character of Frank Dunphy is such an inspiration to those who don’t share a meaningful relationship with their fathers. His polite demeanor made the show more and more heart-touching.
The viewers will forever miss his bright smile. Legacy was the last episode of Frank in the show, as his character dies of old age in season 11. Season 11 was also the final season in which the actor appeared for the last time.
Coincidentally, he died exactly four months after the death of the character in the show. History will forever miss this coolest dad who had an ideal relationship with his son. Even though Willard is no more, his legacy will continue forever. All the movies and television series will continue to amuse the audience of every generation.
Fred Willard, Modern Family Star, Rose to Fame.
Fred Willard is also popular for working in several other epic TV series. He worked in For Your Consideration (2006), Mascots (2016), A Mighty Wind (2003), Best In Show (2000), Waiting for Guffman (1996), and This Is Spinal Tap (1984).
Popular television series such as Everybody Loves Raymond (1996 to 2005), Modern Family (2009 to 2020), HBO TV show Family Tree (2013), and Fernwood 2 Night (1977) were also graced by his charming presence. These performances are enough to cater to his New York Philharmonic debut.
Some Prominent Roles of Modern Family Star Fred Willard
1. Firewood 2 Night:
Willard appeared in Firewood 2 Night as announcer Jerry Hubbard which received great appreciation from his fans. Actor Fred Willard also worked with Mary Hartman in this hilarious television program.
In the Nurses TV series (1991-1994), Fred played Crazy Jim Dr. Robinson, a major element of the series, which is greatly cherished by fans.
3. The Closer:
One of the greatest characters of actor Fred Willard, Santa Jack from The Closer TV series (2005-2012) received a lot of praise from fans.
4. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy:
We talked Christopher Guest films, 'Anchorman' and @ModernFam with the late great Fred Willard back in January of 2015:
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) May 16, 2020
Fred Willard played a role opposite Steve Carell in this iconic movie. Their chemistry was a major highlight of the movie.
5. The Hughleys:
Prolific actor Fred Willard played Applegate Richard Jacobson in the 1998 TV show, The Hughleys.
6. The Bold and the Beautiful:
The Bold and the Beautiful featured Fred Willard as John Forrester from 2014 to 2015.
7. Retired at 35:
The popular TV show Retired at 35 proved fruitful for Fred’s career as he received immense love for his character, Peter Dixon.
8. Buy N Large Corporation:
Buy N Large Corporation was also graced by the lively presence of the late actor.
Initial Works of Fred Willard
The very first film of Willard Teenage Mother (1967), was an exploitation film that captured everyone’s attention.
Since then, he has appeared in various other films such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Monster House, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and Wall·E., Planes: Fire and Rescue On television.
Fred Willard: The Legend
Fred Willard was exceptionally brilliant in documentary-style comedy. His fans absolutely adored his unique comedic skills. Willard is also a member of a popular improvisational group, Ace Trucking Company, which gave the comic actor a whole new identity. Willard had a knack for sketch comedy and intelligent humor, which often reflects in his work.
Fred also performed Off-broadway in shows like The Great Elvis and Juliet, Little Murders, Airplane Snatch, and Arf. His Los Angeles credits consist of Jerry Herman’s Mame at the Hollywood Bowl, Promises, Gene Vincent de Paul’s Li’l Abner, Burt Bacharach’s Promises, and Anything Goes For Reprise! Willard hosted the 1st Annual Carney Awards in the year 2015.
Netflix released an original series on May 29, 2020, which goes by the name of Space Force to pay tribute to the late actor. Greg Daniels and Steve Carell created this series.
Awards and Nominations
Fred Willard received a total of three Emmy nominations for his recurring role of Hank MacDougall in Everybody Loves Raymond.
Willard received nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy television series for Modern Family, and Everybody Loves Raymond. He also received an award for Funniest Supporting Actor in Motion Picture in the year 2001 for Best In Show series and he also won an Emmy for Special Guest Performer in a Drama Series.
Fred received a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host for hosting a talk show in the year 1985 named What’s Hot, What’s Not.
Early Life and Family of Fred Willard
Frederick Charles Willard was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 18, 1933. Fred’s mother was a housewife. His father passed away in the year 1945 when he was just 12 years old.
He completed his education at Virginia Military Institute, where he received bachelor’s degree in English. Later on, he worked in the United States army for two years. Later on, the voice actor decided to pursue his love for acting. He married Marry Willard in 1968. Sadly, Willard’s wife died in the year 2018 at the age of 71.
The End of the Legacy
The pandemic was too harsh on Willard fans as they lost their shining star in the mid of 2020, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. It is hard to believe that actor Fred Willard left for his heavenly abode in 2020. The actor died of natural causes leaving his fans devastated on May 15, 2020, at the age of 86.
The cause of death is Myelodysplastic syndrome, an exceptionally rare form of blood cancer. His burial took place at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, California, United States. Steve Carell posted a heart-melting message on Twitter in Willard’s loving memory:
“Fred Willard was the funniest person that I’ve ever worked with. He was a sweet, wonderful man.”
Jamie Lee Curtis announced the actor’s death with a heartfelt message for the deceased actor. Curtis posted a video from Best in Show with a heartfelt caption,
“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”.
Willard shared a special bond with her husband, Christopher Guest, as he directed quite a lot of mockumentaries in which Willard was seen acting, such as Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, Mascots, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration.
Willard was also a part of the HBO show Family Tree as a guest star which is co-created by Christopher Guest. A Spinal Tap Reunion: The 25th Anniversary London Sell-Out was the last project Jamie Lee Curtis and Willard worked on together.
Fred 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,” she said. “We will miss him forever.”
The legacy has just ended, and the fans will always miss the sweetest person, no other actor can ever replace whose contributions can never be replaced by any other actor. Rest in peace, Fred Willard.