Fred Willard, who created inimitable characters in movies like "Best in Show" and "Anchorman" and "This is Spinal Tap" has died of natural causes according to his family. He was 86 years old. Willard also made entertaining appearances on "Everybody Loves Raymond" where he was nominated for 4 Emmy awards, and most recently as Frank Dunphy, Phil Dunphy's dad on the ABC hit "Modern Family". He will appear posthumously on the upcoming Netflix comedy "Space Force".
Mr. Willard made several appearances here in the Coachella Valley, helping local theater companies raise funds over the years. He appeared alongside local talent in Coyote Stageworks production of "The Man who Came to Dinner", and onstage at the Palm Springs Cultural Center for "On the Air", an annual fundraiser for Dezart Performs.
Mr. Willard was born in Ohio, and attended the Virginia Military Institute before serving in the U.S. Army in Germany. He returned to the states and began his decades-long acting career. Fred Willard died at his home in Los Angeles on Saturday, May 16, 2020, according to his daughter, Hope Mulbarger.