Fred Willard

Fred Willard

Willard in April 2011
Born (1939-09-18) September 18, 1939
Shaker Heights, Ohio, U.S.
Alma mater Kentucky Military Institute,
Virginia Military Institute
Occupation Actor, comedian, voice actor, writer
Years active 1963–present
Spouse(s) Mary Willard (m. 1968)
Children 1

Frederick Charles "Fred" Willard (born September 18, 1939)[1] 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, For Your Consideration, and Mascots, 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 more than 50 times and appeared regularly on This is Tom Jones.

Early life

Willard was born in 1939 and raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio.[2][3][4] His father, also named Fred Willard,[5] worked at the financial department of a bank.[6] His father died in 1951.[5] 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, in 1962, Willard and pal Vic Greco formed a comedy act that was funny and successful enough to earn them an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The duo appeared at the hungry i in San Francisco. 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 Michael Mislove, Bill Saluga, George Memmoli, and Patti Deutsch. 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 in 1977 and '78 as Martin Mull's sidekick and announcer, "Jerry Hubbard", on the Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman spinoffs 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.[7] 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 mockumentary The History of White People in America. He played Mayor Deebs in Roxanne, starring Steve Martin; his character's line "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.[8] 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 voiced "Officer Brown" in King of the Hill and made an appearance on That '70s Show. Willard appeared in 100 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 2006 he voiced 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 the first ever live-action speaking segments by Pixar in the 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.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11] For his performance, he was nominated at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.[12]

On September 16, 2011, Willard was honored as Pioneer in Comedy at Burbank International Film Festival.[13] 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, described as a nationwide treasure hunt along the lines of American Pickers, but was dropped after his 2012 arrest for indecent exposure.

He completed The Birder starring Tom Cavanagh, opening in 2013. A mild-mannered birder seeks revenge on a younger rival, after losing the highly coveted Head of Ornithology position at the National Park.[14]

Willard joined Ed Begley Jr. and Michael McKean for the HBO documentary-style comedy Family Tree from Christopher Guest.[15]

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

Willard made an appearance on the second season of Celebrity Family Feud playing against actor Kevin McHale

Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters presented Willard with the Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award at their celebrity luncheon on June 19, 2015.

2012 arrest

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.[16]

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.[17]

Charity work

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."

Personal life

Willard married his wife, Mary in 1968. They have one daughter: Hope (b. 1969) and a grandson Freddie (b. 1997).[18]


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


Year Title Role Notes
1967 Teenage Mother Coach
1975 Hustle Interrogator
1976 Chesty Anderson, USN Peter Linden
1976 Silver Streak Jerry Jarvis
1977 Fun with Dick and Jane Bob
1979 Americathon Vincent Vanderhoff
1980 How to Beat the High Co$t of Living Robert
1980 First Family Presidential Assistant Feebleman
1980 The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter unknown character
1982 National Lampoon's Movie Madness President Robert Fogerty
1984 This Is Spinal Tap Lt. Bob Hookstratten
1985 Moving Violations Terrence 'Doc' Williams
1987 Roxanne Mayor Deebs
1987 Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance Hall Tom Osborne Short film
1988 Portrait of a White Marriage Hal Harrison
1991 High Strung Insurance Salesman
1992 Married... with Children Condo salesman, Stan Mendelson
1995 Prehysteria! 3 Thomas MacGregor
1996 Waiting for Guffman Ron Albertson
1997 Breast Men Talk Show Host Uncredited
1998 Permanent Midnight Craig Ziffer
1999 Can't Stop Dancing Chester
1999 Idle Hands Dad Tobias
1999 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Mission Commander
2000 Chump Change Steve's Manager
2000 Best in Show Buck Laughlin Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor (2nd place)
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor (3rd place)
Nominated—Las Vegas Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
2001 Wedding Planner, TheThe Wedding Planner Basil St. Mosely
2001 How High Philip Huntley
2002 Teddy Bears' Picnic Senator Roger Dickey
2003 Mighty Wind, AA Mighty Wind Mike LaFontaine
2003 American Wedding Harold Flaherty
2003 Nobody Knows Anything! Mr. McClintock
2004 Killer Diller Ned
2004 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover Bucky Brandt
2004 Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle Dr. Willoughby
2004 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Ed Harken
2004 Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie Ed Harken Direct-to-video
2005 Chicken Little Melvin Voice
2006 Date Movie Bernie Funkyerdoder
2006 Church Ball Bishop Linderman
2006 Monster House Dad Voice only
2006 Ira & Abby Michael Willoughby
2006 For Your Consideration Chuck
2007 I'll Believe You Mr. Fratus
2007 Epic Movie Aslo
2007 Fighting Words Longfellow
2007 I Could Never Be Your Woman Marty
2008 Harold Dr. Pratt
2008 WALL-E Shelby Forthright, BnL CEO
2010 Holyman Undercover Richard
2010 Youth in Revolt Mr. Ferguson
2010 Expecting Mary Jerry Zee
2013 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Edward "Ed" Harken
2014 Planes: Fire & Rescue Secretary of the Interior Voice
2014 The Birder Movie The Park President Short film
2016 Fifty Shades of Black Gary
2016 Mascots Greg Gammons, Jr.
2016 Harvey Beaks Melvin Voice


Year Title Role Notes
1966 Pistols 'n' Petticoats Ben Episode: "Quit Shootin' Folks"
1968 Get Smart Lundy, Agent 198 Episode: "A Tale of Two Tails"
1975 The Bob Newhart Show John Emil Tobin Episode: "Tobin's Back in Town"
1976 Laverne & Shirley Charles Episode: "Dog Day Blind Dates"
1976 How to Break Up a Happy Divorce Lance Colson Television film
1976–77 Sirota's Court D.A. Ted Nugent 13 episodes
1977 Fernwood 2 Night Jerry Hubbard 65 episodes
1977 Escape from Bogen County Pearson Television film
1978 America 2-Night Jerry Hubbard 65 episodes
1978 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) Episode: "Fred Willard/Devo"
1979 Flatbed Annie and Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers Jack LaRosa Television film
1979 Salem's Lot Larry Crockett 2 episodes
1979–84 Real People Himself (host)
1980 The Wild Wacky Wonderful World of Winter Various roles Television special
1981 Pen 'n' Inc. Ralph Television film
1981–86 Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat Various roles 3 episodes
1984 Mama's Family Willie Potts Episode: "Mama Buys a Car"
1985 History of White People in America, TheThe History of White People in America Hal Harrison Television film
1985 Getting the Last Laugh ABC Special Television film
1985 Fred Willard Lots of Luck A.J. Foley Television film
1985 Faerie Tale Theatre Paul Link Episode: "The Three Little Pigs"
1985–86 What's Hot, What's Not Himself (host) Nominated—Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host
1986 History of White People in America: Volume II, TheThe History of White People in America: Volume II Hal Harrison Television film
1987 Out of This World Milton Wiler Episode: "The Box Is Missing"
1988–1989 D.C. Follies The Bartender 19 episodes
1989 My Secret Identity Jay Bennett Episode: "For Old Time's Sake"
1991 The Golden Girls Bob Episode: "Dateline:Miami"
1994–96 Family Matters Vice Principal Mallet 3 episodes
1995–97 Roseanne Scott 8 episodes
1996 Back to Back Loan Officer Television film
1996 Friends Mr. Lipson Episode: "The One After the Super Bowl: Part 1"
1996 Sister, Sister Mr. Mitushka 3 episodes
1996, 1997 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman President Garner 3 episodes
1998 The Wayans Bros Dick Ferndale Episode: "All in the Family Feud"
1998, 1999 Mad About You Henry Vincent 5 episodes
1999 Pooch and the Pauper, TheThe Pooch and the Pauper President Television film
1999 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Wally Kogan Episode: "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday"
2001–02 Maybe It's Me Jerry Stage 22 episodes
2001–08 King of the Hill Office Brown / Various voices 7 episodes
2001 When Billie Beat Bobby Howard Cosell Television film
2001 Undeclared Professor Duggan 2 episodes
2001 Girlfriends Dr. Percy Bales Episodes: "The Fallout" and "Just Say No"
2002 Hey Arnold! Sammy Redmond (voice) Episode: "Harold vs. Patty/Rich Guy"
2002 Dexter's Laboratory F.R.E.D. (voice) Episode: "Lab on the Run"
2002–2004 Teamo Supremo Mr. Paulson TV series
2002, 2005 Family Guy Dave Campbell (voice) 2 episodes
2003 National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure Professor Doornitz Television film
2003 That '70s Show Charlie Miller 1 episode
2003–04 Minute with Stan Hooper, AA Minute with Stan Hooper Fred Hawkins 13 episodes
2003–05 Everybody Loves Raymond Hank MacDougall 13 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
2003–07 Kim Possible Jack Hench (voice) 3 episodes
2004–05 Saturday Night Live 'Bear City' Narrator Voice only; uncredited
2005 Tom Goes to the Mayor Garry Friendly (voice) Episode: "Vice Mayor"
2006 Re-Animated Milt Appleday (voice) Television film
2006 Handy Manny Mr. Dwayne Bouffant (voice)
2007 Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure The Boogey Man (voice) Television film
2007 Stargate SG-1 Jacek Episode: "Family Ties"
2007–08 Back to You Marsh McGinley 17 episodes
2007, 2009 Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Tragg / Mancierge 2 episodes
2008 Pushing Daisies The Great Hermann Episode: "Oh Oh Oh It's Magic"
2008 Larry the Cable Guy's Star-Studded Christmas Extravaganza Various roles Television film
2008 Transformers Animated Swindle (voice) 2 episodes
2008 The Boondocks Mr. Joe Petto (voice) Episode: "The S Word"
2009 Everybody Hates Chris Cop Episode: "Everybody Hates the Car"
2009 Wizards of Waverly Place Mr. Stuffleby 2 episodes
2009–15 Modern Family Frank Dunphy 8 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (2010)
2010 Castle Hank McPhee Episode: "The Late Shaft"
2010 Important Things with Demetri Martin Scientist Episode: "Money"
2010–14 Waves Sea Donal Wilkins
2010 Chuck Craig Turner Episode: "Chuck Versus the Role Models"
2011 G.I. Joe: Renegades Mayor (voice) Episode: "Fire Fight"
2011 My Future Boyfriend Bob Television film
2011 The Closer Santa Jack Episode: "You Have The Right To Remain Jolly"
2012 Raising Hope Mr. Swift Episode: "Mrs. Smartypants"
2012 Trust Us With Your Life Host Season 1, 8 episodes
2012 Market Warriors Host Season 1
2012 Hot in Cleveland Dr. Hill Episode: "A Box Full of Puppies"
2013 Community Alternate Pierce Hawthorne Episode: "History 101"
2013 Family Tree Mike Morton 3 episodes
2013 Drunk History Deep Throat Episode: "Washington D.C."
2014, 2015 Review Jack Walthall 4 episodes
2014, 2015 The Bold and the Beautiful John Forrester 7 episodes
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Guest Performer in a Drama Series
(Tied with Donna Mills and Ray Wise)
2014, 2016 Comedy Bang! Bang! Various roles 2 episodes
2014 Black Jesus Mr. Jimmy Maxwell (voice) Episode: "Love Thy Enemy Part 2"
2014 The Birthday Boys Archbishop Episode: "Getting Preachy"
2015 Hell's Kitchen Himself (Blue Kitchen VIP guest) Episode: "11 Chefs Compete"
2016 The Loud House Pop-Pop (voice) Episode: "Cover Girls"
2016 The $100,000 Pyramid Himself (Celebrity Guest) Episode: Fred Willard vs. Yvette Nicole Brown


  1. Fred Willard Interview | Archive of American Television
  2. Merrill, Brian (2006). On This Date: A Day By Day Look at Historic Events. Lulu Publishing. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-4303-0501-9.
  3. Willis, John; Monush, Barry (2010). Screen World. Applause Theater and Cinema Books. p. 407. ISBN 978-1-55783-729-5.
  4. Hoyle, Matt (2013). Comic Genius: Portraits of Funny People. Chronicle Books. p. 200. ISBN 978-1452125381.
  5. 1 2 Tad Friend (July 3, 2006). Fred Willard, tourist. The New Yorker. Accessed 2009-06-06.
  6. "1940 U.S. Census". Shaker Heights, Ohio; S.D. No. 22, E.D. No. 18-289, Sheet No. 8B. Available at
  7. "DECOUPAGE! Episode 7. Part 1 of 4: "Monologue"". Retrieved 2012-10-01.
  8. 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.
  9. Missile to the Moon. Rifftrax. Accessed July 28, 2012. Archived June 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. "Fred Willard Will Return to Modern Family".
  12. "OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES 2010". Archived from the original on July 20, 2012.
  13. "Burbank International Film Festival, 2011 Honorees". Retrieved 2012-10-01.
  14. Willard, Fred. "The Birder with Tom Cavanagh to be released in 2013".
  15. Willard, Fred (September 27, 2012). "Fred Willard to join cast of HBO's Family Tree". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on September 30, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  16. Jensen, Elizabeth. "Fred Willard Loses PBS Job After Arrest -". Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  17. "Actor Fred Willard insists he did nothing wrong in lewd conduct arrest". Fox News. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  18. Celebrity Contestants Announced for "Celebrity Family Feud" | Celebrity Family Feud -
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