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Fred Willard (born September 18, 1939) is an American comedian and actor known for his improvisational comedy skills. He is best known for his roles in the Christopher Guest mockumentary films This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration. He is also an alumnus of The Second City comedy troupe. He received three Emmy nominations for recurring role on the TV series as Robert Barone's father-in-law on Everybody Loves Raymond.


Willard grew up in Cleveland, Ohiomarker. His father died in 1951 when Willard was 12.


He auditioned alongside Robert Klein for The Second City, which consisted of a nightclub manager and his employee. The audition helped the two secure the job. He is an alumnus of The Second City and currently heads a sketch comedy workshop, The MoHo Group. 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 achieved wider fame as Martin Mull's impossibly dense 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. From 1987 to 1989 he starred as a bartender/straightman in Sid and Marty Krofft's "D.C.Follies", a where all the other regular characters were 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 TV show "Decoupage" with Summer Caprice 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.Willard also guest voiced in a 1999 episode of The Simpsons entitled 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.

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 catch phrase, "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. He also appeared as KVWN news director "Ed Harken" in, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and in American Wedding as Michelle Flaherty's father, "Harold".

Willard had a recurring role as "Hank MacDougall" on the later seasons of CBS' 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 Jeff Campbell, the father of a nudist family (first appearing in "From Method to Madness"). It is unclear whether or not 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 frequently appears in sketches on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, typically as a government official, businessman, or other authority figure named Willard J. Fredericks, who is always drinking. He also hosted Saturday Night Live in 1978 (musical guest: Devo) and appeared twice on SNL's rival show, MADtv. Two years prior to this, he made a minor appearance in the movie Silver Streak as a bemused railway station worker.

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's 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 has been 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 10, and received Los Angeles Artistic Director Awards for Best Comedy and Best Production. He has also completed a RiffTrax with Michael J. Nelson for the movie Missile to the Moon.

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 re-imagined by Howard's partners Marsha Malamet and Dennis Green and performed one night only at Los Angeles' 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.

Fred will play the father of Phil's (Ty Burrell) dad in the upcoming holiday episode of Modern Family, has confirmed

Selected filmography


  1. Year of birth often reported as 1939; see Birthdays this week. (September 14, 2008) USA Weekend. Accessed 2009-06-06.
  2. Tad Friend (July 3, 2006). Fred Williard, tourist. The New Yorker. Accessed 2009-06-06.
  5. Ben Yagoda (November 21, 2006) "Unscripted And Unleashed" Philadelphia Inquirer. Accessed 2008-03-27.
  6. Missile to the Moon. Rifftrax. Accessed 2007-10-23.

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