Following the news of Fred Willard’s death on Saturday, many film and TV stars, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Jimmy Kimmel and more, paid tribute to the comedic legend.
Willard was known for his goofball characters and improvisational comedy. He earned four Emmy nominations, including three in a row for his role as Hank MacDougall on “Everybody Loves Raymond” between 2003-2005. His “Modern Family” character Frank Dunphy, the father of Ty Burrel’s Phil Dunphy, earned him a nod in 2010.
“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,” said Curtis. She shared a clip of Willard from the 2000 comedy “Best in Show,” in which he plays a dog show commentator named Buck Laughlin.
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. Best in Show (7/11) Movie CLIP – Judging the Hounds (2000) HD https://t.co/wPrbk9VjWI via @YouTube
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) May 16, 2020
Phil Rosenthal, creator, writer and executive producer of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” shared an old photo of Willard to remember him.
“Our beloved friend and one of the world’s funniest people has passed. Rest in peace Fred. We all love you,” he wrote.
— Phil Rosenthal (@PhilRosenthal) May 16, 2020
“Modern Family” star Eric Stonestreet posted a photo of him and Willard on Twitter, saying “It was a privilege to have the great Fred Willard know my name. Rest in peace Fred. You were funny in your bones.”
It was a privilege to have the great Fred Willard know my name. Rest In Peace Fred. You were funny in your bones. pic.twitter.com/PlFTCHFZCK
— Eric Stonestreet (@ericstonestreet) May 16, 2020
Fellow comedians, such as Steve Carell, Jimmy Kimmel, Henry Winkler and many more, posted tributes across social media.
Fred Willard was the funniest person that I've ever worked with. He was a sweet, wonderful man.
— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) May 16, 2020
There was no man sweeter or funnier. We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and will miss his many visits https://t.co/joHM39o8k4
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) May 16, 2020
Nobody funnier than #FredWillard. And when he happened to be in an audience, nobody laughed harder. Just saw him before quarantine & already miss him. He was my biggest fan and I am his. Fred & Mary were so kind to me. Sending a big virtual hug to his family, friends and fans pic.twitter.com/XAIsVzuwEs
— Jeff Ross (@realjeffreyross) May 16, 2020
RIP Fred Willard ..you were incomparable
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) May 16, 2020
Fred Willard could not have been funnier. He was pure joy. And the sweetest person you could ever meet. https://t.co/JoLy6PVd9d
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) May 16, 2020
Devastated to learn that the great Fred Willard has died. I was honored to have called him a friend. One of the funniest, nicest, sweetest, purest souls I have ever had the privilege to know. He was my hero from Fernwood Tonight when I was a kid. He was never not funny. RIP Fred.
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) May 16, 2020
RIP to the legendary #FredWillard. The first time I worked with him ironically it was a table reading for a Drama/comedy play. I was still in The Groundlings in those days. He looked right in my eyes when we had dialogue. Basic but vital acting tip. Oh and funny as f**k💔
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 16, 2020
Gutted. His immense talent and kindness will never be forgotten. We love you Fred Willard. Thank you for the decades of laughter.
— christina applegate (@1capplegate) May 16, 2020
I’m at a loss for words, a state Fred Willard never found himself in. My friend for 40+ years, a great comic actor who had no competition because there was only one of him. We were all so lucky. Goodbye, Fred.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) May 16, 2020
They’re having quite a week in Comedy Heaven. Jerry Stiller and now Fred Willard. RIP you giants.
— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) May 16, 2020
Among many things, Fred Willard taught me not to be afraid to turn up to a scene with your own joke props. Or indeed material. What an incredibly funny man. Rest well Fred. pic.twitter.com/w2tEX066l1
— chris o'dowd (@BigBoyler) May 16, 2020
Such a sad day. We’ve lost #FredWillard and he will be missed. He was in our “Aristocrats” and killed. He’ll always be “Fernwood Tonight” to me, inventing modern comedy with #MartinMull. Fred never winked, he played the comedy pure. Genius. Perfect. pic.twitter.com/AZ0IrIrQyA
— Penn Jillette (@pennjillette) May 16, 2020