American actor and comedian Fred Willard has died at the age of 86, his agent announced on Saturday.
Four-time Emmy award-winner Fred Willard has appeared in films including “Anchorman” and “This is Spinal Tap” and television shows such as “Modern Family.”
Many celebrities and fellow actors paid homage to the late comedian. Veteran Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted: “Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard.”
“Fred Willard was the funniest person that I’ve ever worked with. He was a sweet, wonderful man,” wrote actor Steve Carrell.
Willard himself had paid tribute to two other legendary stars, singer Little Richard and fellow Jerry Stiller, who also passed away this month.
“A bad time! Just getting over the loss of Little Richard, and now I learn my old friend Jerry Stiller has passed away. He was a good friend and a very funny man,” Fred wrote on May 11.
“I met him in the 60s when we played in the same clubs in The Village as he and Anne Meara. Unfortunately for us, they were much funnier! We couldn’t be jealous, so we became good friends instead.”
Willard’s stage career began when he moved to New York in the late 1950s.
Working with comedy partner Vic Grecco, Willard started his initial work included a production of “Desperate Hours” at a local YMCA.
They later performed under the moniker Willard & Grecco in the Greenwich Village area.
The comedy stars found success appearing on “The Dean Martin Show,” “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” and “The Tonight Show.”
Willard was cast as a sportscaster in the television series “Back to You,” which premiered on the Fox Network in 2007.