Fred Willard Remembered by Jimmy Kimmel, Judd Apatow and More: ‘There Was No Man Sweeter or Funnier’

Steve Carell and “Anchorman” co-star Christina Applegate among many who pay tribute to longtime comic actor

Last Updated: May 16, 2020 @ 2:21 PM

Fred Willard’s passing Friday night at 86 was met with great sadness by scores of Hollywood’s biggest names, who shared parting tributes to the comic actor best known for his work in “Best in Show,” “Anchorman” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

“There was no man sweeter or funnier,” Jimmy Kimmel tweeted. “We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and will miss his many visits.”

Christina Applegate, who starred alongside Willard in “Anchorman,” tweeted she was “gutted” by the news, adding that his “immense talent and kindness will never be forgotten.”

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, whose husband Christopher Guest piloted several mockumentaries in which Willard starred, thanked Willard for providing “deep belly laughs,” while “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig called Willard “one of the funniest, nicest, sweetest, purest souls” he’d ever known.

Judd Apatow, Harry Shearer and Michael McKean, among many others, also shared their memories of Willard. Shearer and McKean both worked with Willard on “This Is Spinal Tap,” Rob Reiner’s 1984 landmark mockumentary.

Willard’s big break came in 1977 in Norman Lear’s satirical soap opera “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and its spinoffs “Fernwood 2 Night,” “Forever Fernwood” and “America 2-Night.” He later reunited with his “Mary Hartman” costar Martin Mull, when he recurred as his romantic partner and eventual husband on “Roseanne.”

In addition to his unforgettable role in “Spinal Tap,” Willard also appeared in a number of Guest’s ensemble films, including “Waiting for Guffman,” “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind” and “For Your Consideration.” He also had memorable roles in the two “Anchorman” films, “Silver Streak,” “Fun With Dick and Jane,” “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” and “Fifty Shades of Black,” to name just a few.

Here are a few other of the many tweets honoring the actor: