Comedians and comic actors paid tribute to funnyman Frank Willard on social media, following news of his death on Saturday at the age of 86.
Willard, whose improvisational skills and goofball humor kept him relevant for more than 50 years in films like “Anchorman,” “This Is Spinal Tap,” and “Best in Show,” will appear posthumously in the upcoming Netflix series “Space Force.”
“We were all incredibly sad to hear about Fred,” said “Space Force” showrunner Greg Daniels in a statement. “The cast and crew had enormous affection and respect for him. His performance at 86 was undiminished brilliance, like his life and career. He will be sorely missed.”
The four-time Emmy nominated actor earned three nods for his roles as Hank MacDougall on “Everybody Loves Raymond” from 2003-2005 and one for his portrayal of Frank Dunphy on “Modern Family” in 2010.
“Our beloved friend and one of the world’s funniest people has passed,” said “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator, writer and executive producer Phil Rosenthal on Twitter. “Rest in peace Fred. We all love you.”
Jimmy Kimmel, Michael McKean, Bob Odenkirk, Nick Kroll, Bob Saget, Roseanne Barr, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres and more stars took to Twitter to honor the fallen star.
I’m at a loss for words, a state Fred Willard never found himself in. My friend for 40+ years, a great comic actor who had no competition because there was only one of him. We were all so lucky. Goodbye, Fred.— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) May 16, 2020
There is nobody funnier than Fred Willard. Every time he was on screen I got excited and he never disappointed. Every time I saw him in real life he was kind and generous. Watching him in Fernwood Tonight, Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and all of his other film... pic.twitter.com/ilGiJ3u0vV— nick kroll (@nickkroll) May 16, 2020
Fred Willard. The dear hilarious kind man we just lost. Here am I with he and Martin Mull while shooting a documentary about Martin. Seeing them having fun together reminiscent of the Fernwood days was truly a joy. Rest In Peace dear Fred. pic.twitter.com/mnYHzhlxLQ— bob saget (@bobsaget) May 16, 2020
✨✨✨✨✨✨fred willard✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨😢❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️thank you for the laughs and for being so nice😢comedy just lost a legend— Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) May 16, 2020
RIP Fred Willard a truly funny man. Had the great pleasure of knowing him for almost 40 years. He had great wit, elegant timing and a gentle spirit.— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) May 16, 2020
Fred Willard always made me laugh. I just adored him, and today I’m sending love to his family and his many friends.— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 16, 2020
RIP Fred Willard, a truly lovely man. I first worked with him on “Moving Violations” over 30 years ago, and for the last 10 years we have been doing “Celebrity Autobiography” together. Fred was an understated comic genius. You could always count on him to bring the house down. pic.twitter.com/w8uh470fO1— Jennifer Tilly (@JenniferTilly) May 17, 2020
Years ago I was in a sweet little movie about girls softball. I couldn’t wait to work with Fred Willard! I was a super fan. He was so nice and hilarious and such a smart improvisor. A comic hero and a kind man. Rest in peace. My love to his family. pic.twitter.com/TQwIGiJ0UW— Angela Kinsey🍩 (@AngelaKinsey) May 17, 2020
I met Fred Willard backstage at a TV show. He said to me, "Dan let me teach you something I learned in showbiz. I'm gonna throw my shoe at you and if you catch it in time you can keep it. Not now, when you least expect it. Be ready." Then he walked away and I never saw him again.— Dan Telfer (@dantelfer) May 16, 2020
Fred Willard was the funniest person that I've ever worked with. He was a sweet, wonderful man.— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) May 16, 2020
Nobody funnier than #FredWillard. And when he happened to be in an audience, nobody laughed harder. Just saw him before quarantine & already miss him. He was my biggest fan and I am his. Fred & Mary were so kind to me. Sending a big virtual hug to his family, friends and fans pic.twitter.com/XAIsVzuwEs— Jeff Ross (@realjeffreyross) May 16, 2020
RIP Fred Willard ..you were incomparable— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) May 16, 2020
Devastated to learn that the great Fred Willard has died. I was honored to have called him a friend. One of the funniest, nicest, sweetest, purest souls I have ever had the privilege to know. He was my hero from Fernwood Tonight when I was a kid. He was never not funny. RIP Fred.— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) May 16, 2020
RIP to the legendary #FredWillard. The first time I worked with him ironically it was a table reading for a Drama/comedy play. I was still in The Groundlings in those days. He looked right in my eyes when we had dialogue. Basic but vital acting tip. Oh and funny as f**k💔— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) May 16, 2020