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In Memoriam: Fred Willard

Comedy legend Fred Willard passes away at the age of 86.

Fred Willard comes to SF Sketchfest for a tribute show in his honor on Jan. 22. Courtesy of Smith Rafael Film Center

In my 30+ years in the comedy world I have yet to meet a comedian worth the name who can’t tell you when they first saw Fred Willard on screen. For me it was a double whammy in 1984: Watching Mama’s Family with my parents then sneaking into This Is Spinal Tap after my buddy’s parents bought us tickets to see Ice Pirates. Never has breaking a rule impacted me more.

Fred Willard was a master of awkward comedy. He was so seamless in his performance that sometimes I would re-watch scenes just to see the other actors trying so hard not to break character. When you watch the outtakes you see how often they failed.

In a 50 year career the only “scandal” with him was him going to an adult theater once. He responded by reviewing the film as “lousy”. While I never saw the film in question I have no reason to doubt his assessment.

Fred Willard was not only a legend of comedy, he was an incredibly giving actor and person. You cannot find someone with a harsh word to say about him either personally or professionally. What you will find is people from all walks of life saying just how nice he was.

The world is a little dimmer now than it was yesterday. RIP Fred Willard. We will definitely remember you.

About Ron Burr (76 Articles)
Husband, pastor, comedian, trivia host, armchair American historian, owner of too many pets. founder of @dropthree & Twittering as @arrpeebee

1 Comment on In Memoriam: Fred Willard

  1. Ron Burr // May 16, 2020 at 7:11 pm //

    Reblogged this on Drop Three Improv/Sketch Comedy and commented:

    D3 Founder Ron talks about one of his comedy heroes #RIP #FredWillard


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