Fred Willard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Fred Willard
Willard in April 2011
Born(1933-09-18) September 18, 1933 (age 81)
Shaker Heights, Ohio, U.S.
Alma materKentucky Military Institute,
Virginia Military Institute
OccupationActor, comedian, voice actor, writer
Years active1963–present
Spouse(s)Mary Willard (m. 1968)
SignatureFred Willard signature.svg
  (Redirected from Fred Williard)
Jump to: navigation, search
Fred Willard
Willard in April 2011
Born(1933-09-18) September 18, 1933 (age 81)
Shaker Heights, Ohio, U.S.
Alma materKentucky Military Institute,
Virginia Military Institute
OccupationActor, comedian, voice actor, writer
Years active1963–present
Spouse(s)Mary Willard (m. 1968)
SignatureFred Willard signature.svg

Frederic Willard (born September 18, 1933) is an American actor, comedian, voice actor, and writer, best known for his improvisational comedy. He is known for his roles in the Rob Reiner mockumentary film This Is Spinal Tap, the Christopher Guest mockumentary films Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration, and the Anchorman films. He is an alumnus of The Second City. He received three Emmy nominations for his recurring role on the TV series Everybody Loves Raymond as Robert Barone's father-in-law, Hank MacDougall. In 2010, he received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on the ABC TV series Modern Family as Phil Dunphy's father, Frank Dunphy.

He also received a Daytime Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host for What's Hot, What's Not. One of his earliest jobs was at The Second City, Chicago, where he shared the stage with Robert Klein and David Steinberg. He was a founding member of the improvisational comedy group Ace Trucking Company. Fellow members of Ace included Michael Mislove and Bill Saluga. They performed sketches on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson over 50 times and appeared regularly on This is Tom Jones.

Early life[edit]

Willard's birth year has been erroneously reported as 1933 and 1939. However, census records show that he was 6 years old in 1940. He grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio. His father, also named Fred Willard,[1] worked at the financial department of a bank.[2] His father died in 1951.[1] Willard is a former U.S. soldier, having graduated from the Kentucky Military Institute and the Virginia Military Institute. After his tour in the Army, Willard auditioned alongside Robert Klein for The Second City, portraying a nightclub manager and his employee. The audition helped the two secure the job. He starred off-Broadway in Jules Feiffer's Little Murders, directed by Alan Arkin. He was a founding member of the improvisational comedy group Ace Trucking Company. Fellow members of Ace included Bill Saluga and Patti Deutsch, among others. They appeared regularly on This is Tom Jones.


Willard's film debut was in the 1967 exploitation film Teenage Mother. In a brief interview on the DVD extras of the 2007 documentary film Heckler, Willard reports that the audience at one screening of the film booed when his character interrupted an attempted sexual assault of the female lead character.

Willard achieved wider fame as Martin Mull's sidekick, Jerry Hubbard, on the television shows Fernwood 2 Night, Forever Fernwood, and America 2-Night, which parodied the nighttime talk shows of the day. He was an original cast member of the NBC comedy series Real People in 1979 and again from 1981 to 1983. He played Tom Osbourne in the 1987 Academy Award–winning short film, Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance Hall. From 1987 to 1989, he starred as a bartender/straightman in Sid and Marty Krofft's D.C. Follies, and was host to the Krofft puppets portraying political figures of the time. In 1990 Willard hosted the cable TV show Access America on the Ha! Comedy Network. As part of that show, he appeared September 21, 1990 on Episode #7 of the cult public-access television show Decoupage with Summer Caprice.[3] In 1995 Willard reunited with his Fernwood co-star playing Scott, the romantic partner of Mull's character Leon Carp, on Roseanne. The couple married in the episode "December Bride," and Scott became a recurring character during the series' final two seasons. That same year, Willard had guest-starred in three episodes of Sister, Sister, starring Tia and Tamera Mowry; Willard played Carl Mitushka, a teacher at Roosevelt High who often spoke popular teenage slang terms in order to sound cool to his students. Willard guest-voiced a 1999 episode of The Simpsons titled "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday" as Wally Kogen, a travel agent. From 2001 to 2002, he played the father of five children on Maybe It's Me. He has also guest-starred in an episode of The Weird Al Show. He and Mull joined up again for The History of White People in America. He played Mayor Deebs in Roxanne starring Steve Martin. His "I would rather be with the people of this town than with the finest people in the world" has been widely quoted.

His most recent notable work has been in Christopher Guest films, such as A Mighty Wind, in which he played "Mike LaFontaine," a character known for his catchphrase, "Eh? Wha' happened?"; Best in Show, in which he portrayed "Buck Laughlin," a dog show announcer who offered up an unending stream of bad jokes and off-color comments; Waiting for Guffman, in which he played "Ron Albertson," a travel agent who performs in amateur stage productions with his wife; This Is Spinal Tap, in which he played a lieutenant on the military base where Spinal Tap play; and For Your Consideration as an obnoxious entertainment television show anchor.[4] For his performance in Waiting for Guffman he received an American Comedy Award nomination and a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Funniest Supporting Actor. He received the Boston Film Critics Award, an American Comedy Award, a Sierra Award and a tribute from AFI for his portrayal as Buck Laughlin in Best in Show. He also appeared in American Wedding, and as KVWN news director Ed Harken in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

Willard had a recurring role as "Hank MacDougall" on the later seasons of CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for this role in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Willard was also the host of a VH1 documentary series called Totally Obsessed about people obsessed with their hobbies. He appears as "Captain Ribmanman" in Episode 21 of Channel Frederator, a podcast from Kansas. Willard also landed a role on Family Guy as Dave Campbell, the father of a nudist family (first appearing in "From Method to Madness"). It is unclear whether the role will be reprised. Willard also voices "Officer Brown" in King of the Hill and has made an appearance on That '70s Show. Willard has appeared in one hundred sketches on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as a government official, businessman, or other authority figure named Willard J. Fredericks, who is always drinking. In 2007 he played Dad in the Academy Award nominated, animated film Monster House. He also hosted Saturday Night Live in 1978 (musical guest: Devo) and appeared twice on MADtv. Two years before this, he made a minor appearance in the movie Silver Streak as a bemused railroad train master.

He was the voice of a clueless companion to a lazy robot (Martin Mull) in one episode of the series Dexter's Laboratory and guest-starred on the Adult Swim cartoon Tom Goes to the Mayor. He acted in the Cartoon Network movie Re-Animated and played Vala Mal Doran's "father" in an episode of Stargate SG-1 in 2007. He appeared in an episode of the Adult Swim program Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. He has also starred as the "Boogie Man" in an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and reprised his role in the movie Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure. His final appearance as "Boogey" occurred in Billy & Mandy: Wrath of the Spider Queen. In 2007, he made a guest appearance on the children's TV series Come on Over. He has also guest-starred on an episode of The Boondocks, providing the voice of "Joe Petto." In 2008, he guest starred on Transformers Animated as the Decepticon arms dealer Swindle.

Willard in April 2008

Willard was cast as a sportscaster in the television series Back to You, which premiered on the Fox Network on September 19, 2007. He also made an appearance in the 2007 sci-fi comedy I'll Believe You, and he plays Shelby Forthright, the CEO of the Buy 'n’ Large Corporation, in live-action segments in the Pixar animated film WALL-E.

Willard completed a sold-out run of Fred Willard: Alone At Last!, advertised as a "one-man show" but actually featuring a cast of ten, and received Los Angeles Artistic Director Awards for Best Comedy and Best Production. Willard has several stage roles to his credit, including Off-Broadway performances in Little Murders, directed by Alan Arkin, and Arf, directed by Richard Benjamin. His regional roles include Call Me Madam in Chicago and the musicals Promises, Promises, with Jason Alexander, and Anything Goes with Rachel York, both in Los Angeles. He starred in Wendy Wasserstein's Isn't It Romantic and off Broadway in Elvis and Juliet. He has completed a RiffTrax with Michael J. Nelson for the movie Missile to the Moon.[5]

He was seen roasting William Shatner in the Comedy Central special The Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner on August 12, 2006. Also at the roast was George Takei, with whom Willard performed in the improv show Thank God You're Here.

Willard is the voice of the character "Ed Warmer" in the PlayStation Portable game Hot Brain.

In 2007 Willard took the role of "Aslo" in Epic Movie.

Willard was part of the one-night celebrity-performed staging of Howard Ashman's unproduced musical Dreamstuff. The musical was reimagined by Ashman's partners Marsha Malamet and Dennis Green and performed one night only at Los Angeles's Hayworth Theatre as part of the Bruno Kirby celebrity reading series, directed by Ugly Betty's Michael Urie. Willard starred in the show alongside Eden Espinosa, Vicki Lewis, David Blue, and Luke Macfarlane.

On October 5, 2008, he hosted the Nickelodeon Fido Awards.[6]

In 2009 he played Mr Ferguson in Youth in Revolt starring Michael Cera.

Willard played Frank Dunphy, father of Phil (Ty Burrell), in several episodes of the show Modern Family.[7] For his performance, he was nominated at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.[8]

On September 16, 2011, Willard was honored as Pioneer in Comedy at Burbank International Film Festival.[9] Willard was also hired as the LaQuinta spokesperson for a series of commercials airing in 2012.

In 2011 Willard appeared in a movie called 12 Wishes of Christmas with Elisa Donovan, Gabrielle Carteris, and Sarah Thompson.

In 2012 he played Al Kaiser in the Rob Reiner film The Magic of Belle Isle starring Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen.

In July 2012, Willard served as host for the PBS series Market Warriors. The show is described as a nationwide treasure hunt along the lines of American Pickers, but was dropped after his 2012 arrest for indecent exposure.

Recently he has completed The Birder starring Tom Cavanagh opening in 2013.[needs update] A mild-mannered birder seeks revenge on a younger rival, after losing the highly coveted Head of Ornithology position at the National Park.[10]

Willard joined Ed Begley Jr. and Michael McKean for the HBO documentary-style comedy Family Tree from Christopher Guest.[11]

In 2013 he played the role of "Alter Pierce" in one of Abed's happy places on the season four premier episode "History 101" of Community.

2012 arrest[edit]

On July 18, 2012, Willard was arrested in Hollywood for "engaging in a lewd act" in an adult movie theater. PBS fired Willard from Market Warriors immediately following his arrest, and Mark L. Walberg replaced him on the show.[12]

In an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon shortly thereafter, Willard stated that the incident was "very painful" and "very embarrassing," but that he "did nothing wrong." Willard was ultimately not charged, but was required to take a $380 sex education diversion program.[13]

Charity work[edit]

For his considerable, ongoing dedication to charity works with various nonprofits Big Brothers / Big Sisters, Fred and his wife, Mary, were honored in 2010 with the Golden Star Award. Fred was also honored by Actors and Others for Animals with the Man of The Year Award in 2008, and the couple also works with City of Hope, John Wayne Cancer Society, PETA and dozens more, Fred received a commendation from the City of Los Angeles and Mayor Antonio Villaraigarosa for "outstanding humanitarian and philanthropic work helps to further the goal of making the City of Los Angeles a better place.”


Willard with Jack Betts in November 2010
Willard at the Farm Sanctuary 25th Anniversary Gala in New York City on May 14, 2011
Willard at "Cats for Cats", August 2011


1967Teenage MotherCoach
1976Chesty Anderson, USNPeter Linden
1976Silver StreakJerry Jarvis
1977Fun with Dick and JaneBob
1979AmericathonVincent Vanderhoff
1980How to Beat the High Co$t of LivingRobert
1980First FamilyPresidential Assistant Feebleman
1980The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winterunknown character
1982National Lampoon's Movie MadnessPresident Robert Fogerty
1984This Is Spinal TapLt. Bob Hookstratten
1985Moving ViolationsTerrence 'Doc' Williams
1987RoxanneMayor Deebs
1987Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance HallTom OsborneShort film
1988Portrait of a White MarriageHal Harrison
1991High StrungInsurance Salesman
1992Married... with ChildrenCondo salesman, Stan Mendelson
1995Prehysteria! 3Thomas MacGregor
1996Waiting for GuffmanRon Albertson
1997Breast MenTalk Show HostUncredited
1998Permanent MidnightCraig Ziffer
1999Can't Stop DancingChester
1999Idle HandsDad Tobias
1999Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged MeMission Commander
2000Chump ChangeSteve's Manager
2000Best in ShowBuck Laughlin
2001Wedding Planner, TheThe Wedding PlannerBasil St. Mosely
2001How HighPhilip Huntley
2002Teddy Bears' PicnicSenator Roger Dickey
2003Mighty Wind, AA Mighty WindMike LaFontaine
2003American WeddingHarold Flaherty
2003Nobody Knows Anything!Mr. McClintock
2004Killer DillerNed
200450 Ways to Leave Your LoverBucky Brandt
2004Harold & Kumar Go to White CastleDr. Willoughby
2004Anchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyEd Harken
2004Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost MovieEd Harken
2005Chicken LittleMelvin – Alien DadVoice only
2006Date MovieBernie Funkyerdoder
2006Church BallBishop Linderman
2006Monster HouseDadVoice only
2006Ira & AbbyMichael Willoughby
2006For Your ConsiderationChuck
2007I'll Believe YouMr. Fratus
2007Epic MovieAslo
2007Fighting WordsLongfellow
2007I Could Never Be Your WomanMarty
2008HaroldDr. Pratt
2008WALL-EShelby Forthright, BnL CEO
2010Holyman UndercoverRichard
2010Youth in RevoltMr. Ferguson
2010Expecting MaryJerry Zee
2013Anchorman 2: The Legend ContinuesEdward "Ed" Harken
2014Planes: Fire & RescueSecretary of the InteriorVoice only
2014The Birder MovieThe Park PresidentShort Film


YearTelevision showRoleNotes
1966Pistols 'n' PetticoatsBenEpisode "Quit Shootin' Folks"
1968Get SmartLundy, Agent 198Episode "A Tale of Two Tails"
1975The Bob Newhart ShowJohn Emil TobinEpisode "Tobin's Back in Town"
1976Laverne & ShirleyCharlesEpisode "Dog Day Blind Dates"
1976How to Break Up a Happy DivorceLance ColsonTelevision film
1976Sirota's CourtD.A. Ted NugentTelevision series
1977Fernwood 2 NightJerry HubbardSeries, 65 Episodes – starring role
1977Escape from Bogen CountyPearsonTelevision film
1978America 2-NightJerry HubbardSeries, 65 Episodes – starring role
1979Flatbed Annie and Sweetiepie: Lady TruckersJack LaRosaTelevision film
1979Salem's LotLarry CrockettMini-series
1980The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter (HBO Special)unknown charactersTelevision film
1981Pen 'n' Inc.RalphTelevision film
1981–86Love Boat, TheThe Love BoatVarious rolesThree episodes
1984Mama's FamilyWillie Potts (a.k.a. "Willie the Weasel")Episode "Mama Buys a Car"
1985History of White People in America, TheThe History of White People in AmericaHal HarrisonTelevision film
1985Lots of LuckA.J. FoleyTelevision film
1985Faerie Tale TheatrePaul Link (second little pig)Episode "The Three Little Pigs"
1986History of White People in America: Volume II, TheThe History of White People in America: Volume IIHal HarrisonTelevision film
1987Out of This WorldMilton WilerEpisode "The Box Is Missing"
1988–89D.C. FolliesThe Bartender19 episodes
1989My Secret IdentityJay BennettEpisode "For Old Time's Sake"
1991The Golden GirlsBobEpisode "Dateline:Miami"
1994–96Family MattersVice Principal MalletThree episodes
1995–97RoseanneScott8 episodes
1996Back to BackLoan OfficerTelevision film
1996FriendsMr. LipsonEpisode "The One After the Super Bowl: Part 1"
1996Sister, SisterMr. Mitushka3 episodes
1996–97Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanPresident Garner3 episodes
1997Space Ghost Coast to CoastHimselfGuest
1998The Wayans BrosDick FerndaleTalk show host in episode "All in the Family Feud"
1998–99Mad About YouHenry Vincent5 episodes
1999Pooch and the Pauper, TheThe Pooch and the PauperPresidentTelevision film
1999Simpsons, TheThe SimpsonsWally KoganEpisode "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday"
2001–02Maybe It's MeJerry Stage22 episodes
2001–08King of the HillVarious rolesSeven episodes; voice only
2001When Billie Beat BobbyHoward CosellTelevision film
2001UndeclaredProfessor DugganEpisodes "So You Do Have a Boyfriend" and "Full Bluntal Nugety"
2001GirlfriendsDr. Percy BalesEpisodes "The Fallout" and "Just Say No"
2002Dexter's LaboratoryF.R.E.D.Episode "Lab on the Run"
2002–2004Teamo SupremoMr. PaulsonTV series
2004Family GuyDave CampbellTwo episodes; voice only
2003National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island AdventureProfessor DoornitzTelevision film
2003That '70s ShowCharlie Miller1 episode
2003–04Minute with Stan Hooper, AA Minute with Stan HooperFred Hawkins13 episodes
2003–05Everybody Loves RaymondHank MacDougall13 episodes
2003–07Kim PossibleJack HenchThree episodes; voice only
2004–05Saturday Night Live'Bear City' NarratorVoice only; uncredited
2005Tom Goes to the MayorGarry FriendlyEpisode: "Vice Mayor"
2006Re-AnimatedMilt AppledayTelevision film
2006Handy MannyMr. Dwayne Bouffant
2007Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey AdventureThe Boogey ManTelevision film
2007Stargate SG-1JacekEpisode "Family Ties"
2007–08Back to YouMarsh McGinley17 episodes
2007–09Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!Tragg / Mancierge2 episodes
2008Pushing DaisiesThe Great HermannEpisode "Oh Oh Oh It's Magic"
2008Larry the Cable Guy's Star-Studded Christmas ExtravaganzaVarious rolesTelevision film
2008Transformers AnimatedSwindleTwo episodes
2008The BoondocksMr G. PettoS02.E11 The S word
2009Everybody Hates ChrisCopEpisode "Everybody Hates the Car"
2009Wizards of Waverly PlaceMr. StufflebyTwo episodes
2009–2013Modern FamilyFrank DunphyEpisodes: "Undeck the Halls", "Travels with Scout", "A Slight at the Opera", "The Wow Factor", "Goodnight Gracie", "The Help" & "ClosetCon '13"
2010CastleHank McPheeEpisode: "The Late Shaft"
2010–2014Waves SeaDonal Wilkins.
2010ChuckCraig TurnerEpisode "Chuck Versus the Role Models"
2011G.I. Joe: RenegadesMayorEpisode: "Fire Fight"
2011My Future BoyfriendBobTelevision film
2011The CloserSanta JackEpisode: "You Have The Right To Remain Jolly"
2012Raising HopeMr. SwiftSeason 2, Episode: "Mrs. Smartypants"
2012Trust Us With Your LifeHostSeason 1, 8 Episodes
2012Market WarriorsHostSeason 1
2012Hot in ClevelandDr. HillSeason 4, Episode 5 "A Box Full of Puppies"
2013CommunityPierce HawthorneSeason 4 Episode 1 "History 101" Special Guest Star
2013Drunk HistoryDeep ThroatEpisode: "Washington D.C."
2014ReviewJack WalthallRecurring
2014The Bold and the BeautifulJohn Forrester5 Episodes


  1. ^ a b Tad Friend (July 3, 2006). Fred Willard, tourist. The New Yorker. Accessed 2009-06-06.
  2. ^ "1940 U.S. Census". Shaker Heights, Ohio; S.D. No. 22, E.D. No. 18-289, Sheet No. 8B. Available at 
  3. ^ "DECOUPAGE! Episode 7. Part 1 of 4: "Monologue"". Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  4. ^ Ben Yagoda (November 21, 2006). "Unscripted and unleashed Fred Willard is at his funniest when he's thinking on his feet.". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved July 28, 2012. 
  5. ^ Missile to the Moon. Rifftrax. Accessed July 28, 2012.
  7. ^ "Fred Willard Will Return to Modern Family". 
  9. ^ "Burbank International Film Festival, 2011 Honorees". Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  10. ^ Willard, Fred. "The Birder with Tom Cavanagh to be released in 2013". 
  11. ^ Willard, Fred (September 27, 2012). "Fred Willard to join cast of HBO's Family Tree". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 30, 2012. 
  12. ^ Jensen, Elizabeth. "Fred Willard Loses PBS Job After Arrest -". Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  13. ^ "Actor Fred Willard insists he did nothing wrong in lewd conduct arrest". Fox News. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 

External links[edit]