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"Modern Family" and "Star Force" Actor Fred Willard Dead at 86. 7 Facts About Him: His Cause of Death, Legacy, Children & Net Worth

Shrijan Published On Thu May 28 2020   Modified On Wed Aug 12 2020
"Modern Family" and "Star Force" Actor Fred Willard Dead at 86. 7 Facts About Him: His Cause of Death, Legacy, Children & Net Worth

Fred Willard is a deceased American actor, writer, and comedian. One of the most prolific actors of all time, he has over 300 acting credits in various capacities over the big and the small screens. 

Born on September 18, 1933, as Frederick Charles Willard, Fred was 86 when he passed away.  

In this list, we look at the life of one of the comedy greats in Fred Willard with this list of 7 facts:

7. Played Frank Dunphy In Modern Family

Willard has an extensive body of work on television, and most of his work has come in TV comedies and sitcoms.

Perhaps none of his TV roles has boasted more fanfare than his role as Frank Dunphy in the ABC family sitcom, Modern Family.  

Fred Willard as Frank Dunphy in Modern Family

Source: P interest 

He had recurring appearances as the character throughout the show's eleven-season run and racked up numerous awards and nominations including a nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards.

 In an eerie coincidence, Willard would have one of his final roles in the show before his death in the episode titled "Legacy", which focused on his coming to terms with his mortality.   

6. Died In May 2020 At Age 86-Cause Of Death?

Willard died aged 86 at his home in Los Angeles, California, on May 15, 2020. He is believed to have died of natural causes. Willard is survived by his daughter and grandson. 

The news about his death was broken by actress Jamie Lee Curtis, whose husband was one of his friends and a frequent co-stars. Willard's daughter confirmed the news and the cause of death.   

5. Was A Father And A Grandfather 

Willard had been in a longstanding marriage to Mary Lovell. They tied the knot in 1968 and were together for fifty years until Lovell's death on July 13, 2018.

Fred Willard and her daughter, Hope
Fred Willard and her daughter, Hope

Source: Wiki Bious

They had one child together, daughter Hope Willard, born in 1969. Willard was also the grandfather of grandson, Freddie, born in 1997.      

4. Final Role As Fred Naird In Netflix Comedy Series, Space Force

Netflix's original comedy series, Star Force, marks the final on-screen appearance made by Fred Willard before his death.

The series is set to premiere on May 29, 2020, and stars Steve Carell, John Malkovich, Diana Silvers, Tawny Newsome, and Ben Schwartz.  

They are joined by Jimmy O. Yang, Noah Emmerich, Jessica St. Clair, Lisa Kudrow, and Jane Lynch, among others.   

Willard played Fred Naird, the Secretary of Defense and father of Steve Carell's character, Mark R. Naird.

3. Played Ed Harken In The Anchorman Movie Series

On the big screens, Willard is also famous for playing news director Ed Harken in the Anchorman comedy movie franchise.

 He played the director of the fictional KVWN station, starting in the first installment, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), and going on to make appearances in the subsequent 2013 sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. 

Fred Willard as Ed Harken in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy 
Fred Willard as Ed Harken in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy 

Source: Consequence of Sound

He was also featured in the direct-to-video companion piece, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, featuring outtakes and bonus content.

The Anchorman movie series starred Will Ferrell, who was flanked by an ensemble cast that included Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Fred Armisen, Vince Vaughn, Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and his future Space Force co-star, Steve Carell, among others.       

2. Was Accused Of Lewd Conduct In 2012

On July 18, 2012, 79-year-old Willard was accused of lewd and lascivious conduct at an adult theater on Santa Monica Boulevard. He was taken to the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood Station, but due to the lack of evidence, he was acquitted of all charges.   

Despite that, he had his reputation ruined and was fired from the PBS reality TV series, Market Warriors. He also had to enter rehab for sex education.   

1. Was Worth $5 Million At The Time Of His Death  

At the time of his death, Fred Willard was worth $5 million. He had amassed the fortune through his 50-year career. He has appeared in over 300 movies and television shows and is considered a comedy legend.

He was known for his movie appearances in the Anchorman movies, and TV appearances in Modern Family and Space Force

He passed away aged 86 on May 15, 2020, at his home in Los Angeles, California, due to natural causes, leaving behind a legacy of smiles.