Life and Career
A veteran actor, comedian and sketch comedy writer, Fred is best known for his improvisational comedy skills. He is 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. An alumnus of The Second City improv comedy troupe in Chicago, Fred received three Emmy nominations for his recurring role on the CBS-TV sitcom 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 fifty times and appeared regularly on [This is Tom Jones.
Early life and career
Fred grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio. His father, also named Fred Willard, worked at the financial department of a bank. His father died in 1951. Willard is a former U.S. soldier, having graduated from the Kentucky Military Institute. He also graduated college from the Virgina Military Institute (VMI). After his tour in the Army, Willard 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 Second CIty. He starred off Broadway Jules Pfeiffer's "Little Murders", directed by Alan Arkin. Fred was also 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 1981-1983. He plays 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. 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 conformation show|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 plays; and For Your Consideration as an obnoxious entertainment television show anchor. For his performance in Waiting for Guffman he received an American Comedy Award nomination and a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award nomination for Funniest Supporting Actor. He received the Boston Film Critics Award, an [[American Comedy Award, a Sierra Award and a tribute from the American Film Institute (AFI) for his portrayal as Buck Laughlin in Best in Show. He also appeared as KVWN news director "Ed Harken" in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and in American Wedding.
Fred had a recurring role as "Hank MacDougall" on the later seasons of CBS-TV'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 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 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 SNL's rival show, 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 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.
Fred completed a sold-out run of his "one-man show" 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. 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.
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 comedy 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 Howard'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.
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 ABC-TV show Modern Family. For his performance, he was nominated at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.
On September 16, 2011, Willard was honored as Pioneer in Comedy at Burbank International Film Festival. Willard was also hired as the LaQuinta spokesperson for a series of commercials airing in 2012.
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. A mild mannered birder seeks revenge on a younger rival, after losing the highly coveted Head of Ornithology position at the National Park. 
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Tad Friend (July 3, 2006). Fred Willard, tourist. The New Yorker. Accessed 2009-06-06.
- ↑ 1940 U.S. Census,Available at Ancestry.com, Shaker Heights, Ohio; S.D. No. 22, E.D. No. 18-289, Sheet No. 8B.
- ↑ DECOUPAGE! Episode 7. Part 1 of 4: "Monologue", Decoupagetv.com, first accessed 2012-10-01.
- ↑ Unscripted and unleashed Fred Willard is at his funniest when he's thinking on his feet., by Ben Yagoda, November 21, 2006, Philly.com article, accessed July 28, 2012.
- ↑ Missile to the Moon. Rifftrax. Accessed July 28, 2012.
- ↑ ACTOR/COMEDIAN FRED WILLARD TO HOST FIRST ANNUAL WORLDWIDE FIDO AWARDS PREMIERING SUNDAY, OCT. 5, AT 8:00PM ON NICK AT NITE, Viacom.com, 9/22/2008, first accessed July 28, 2012.
- ↑ Fred Willard Will Return to Modern Family, TVGuide.com, accessed October 13, 2013.
- ↑ OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES 2010, www.emmys.com, accessed October 13, 2013.
- ↑ Burbank International Film Festival, 2011 Honorees , Burbankfilmfestival.org, accessed 2013-10-13.
- ↑ The Birder with Tom Cavanagh to be released in 2013, Fred Willard,  IMDB.com]
- ↑ Family Tree from Christopher Guest at Screencrush
- ↑ Fred Willard to join cast of HBO's Family Tree , Chicago Tribune article, 27 September 2012, accessed October 13, 2013.