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Modern Family Star Actor, Fred Willard Dies At 86

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Emmy Award-nominated comic actor, Fred Willard is dead. He passed on at his home in Los Angeles at age 86. His agent, Mike Eisenstadt, confirmed his death.


Born on September 18, 1933, in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Willard’s stage career began when he moved to New York in late 1950.

Emmy Award-Nominated Comic Actor, Fred Willard Dies At 86
Photo: Variety

Paired with his early comedy partner Vic Grecco under the name “Willard & Grecco,” the duo began touring, making guest appearances on series like the Dean Martin Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in late night.


Meanwhile, Mr. Willard played Frank Dunphy, the father of Phil Dunphy, on the ABC sitcom “Modern Family.”


In 2010, his performance earned him an Emmy nomination for outstanding guest actor in a comedy.


Mr. Willard’s character died of old age in the show’s final season, which ended last month. It was his fourth Emmy nomination.


However, in 2015, he won a Daytime Emmy for an outstanding guest performer in CBS’s “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

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Furthermore, he rose to prominence playing Jerry Hubbard, the sidekick to Martin Mull’s talk-show host Barth Gimble, on the satirical series “Fernwood Tonight” in 1977.


The late actor is best known for his roles in Christopher Guest comedies like “Best in Show” and “Waiting for Guffman,”


Fred Willard is survived by his daughter Hope Mulbarger, her husband, Mitch Mulbarger, and his grandson Freddie.


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