Fred Willard Tributes: Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Steve Carell & More Honor Comedy Legend


This afternoon brought the sad news of Fred Willard’s passing at the age of 86. The beloved comic and actor was a frequent presence on movie theater and television screens for more than 40 years, and his witty, satirical brand of comedy led to many memorable roles. From film roles in Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and Anchorman, to TV spots on Rosanne, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Modern Family, Willard left a lasting legacy that will not soon be forgotten.

As news of his death spread on Saturday, Willard’s former co-stars and friends posted tributes to social media. Jamie Lee Curtis, the wife of Willard’s longtime collaborator Christopher Guest, was one of the first people to confirm his passing. “How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard’s gifts,” she wrote. “Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard.”

Michael McKean, who co-starred alongside Willard in This Is Spinal Tap, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind, paid tribute, writing: “I’m at a loss for words, a state Fred Willard never found himself in. My friend for 40+ years, a great comic actor who had no competition because there was only one of him. We were all so lucky. Goodbye, Fred.”

This Is Spinal Tap co-star Harry Shearer, added, “Just about the funniest human ever to walk the planet. An amazing talent, in telekinetic contact with the very wellspring of comedy.”

Meanwhile, Steve Carell, who appeared alongside Willard in Anchorman, called him “the funniest person I’ve ever worked with.”

See these tributes and more below.