Comic actor Fred Willard of “Best in Show” and “Modern Family” dies at 86


He was known for playing clueless characters, including in "Fernwood Night" and "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Fred Willard attends the LA Premiere of “50 Shades of Black” held at Regal L.A. Live on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP)

NBC NEWS – Fred Willard, a comic actor considered by many a master of the mockumentary genre, died Friday at age 86.

Willard was best known for his roles in films such as “Best in Show” and TV series such as “Modern Family.”

He was known for playing clueless characters, including in “Fernwood Night” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my father passed away very peacefully last night at the fantastic age of 86 years old,” Hope Willard tweeted on Saturday. “He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end. We loved him so very much! We will miss him forever.”

He was one of the busiest comedic actors with a long career that lasted more than 50 years.

Willard had recently finished filming the Netflix series “Space Force,” where he played actor Steve Carell’s father. He also completed the run for his Emmy-nominated recurring role on “Modern Family.”

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