LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) Fred Willard, a prolific comedic actor of stage and screen, known for his roles in Fernwood 2 Night and Everybody Loves Raymond has died. He was 86.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Willard’s agent said the veteran actor died in Los Angeles on Friday night of natural causes.
A native of Cleveland, Willard made his way to New York City in the late 1950s after a stint in the U.S. Army, and began working on off-Broadway productions and performing stand-up with Vic Grecco in Greenwich Village.
The duo appeared on late night television as well, including the Dean Martin Show and The Tonight Show but failed to parley their initial success into roles on the television series’ Get Smart and The Carol Burnett Show due to management issues, according to author Kliph Nesteroff.
Willard parted ways with Greco in 1968 as he transitioned to work on the big screen, starting in 1967 with a role in the exploitation film “Teen Mother.”
Willard became a sought after actor, appearing in numerous films, including A Mighty Wind, This Is Spinal Tap, Best In Show, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and Waiting for Guffman, which earned him a American Comedy Award nomination and a Screen Actors Guild nomination.
He also appeared on television, with roles in The Bob Newhart Show, Fernwood 2 Night, Everybody Loves Raymond, Roseanne, Married… with Children, The Golden Girls, and numerous others.
Willard married Mary Lovell in 1968 and they had a daughter, Hope, and a grandson. Mary preceded him in death in 2018.