Two months after he passed away, Fred Willard has been recognized for his work on Modern Family's final season. On Tuesday, the Emmy nominations came out. Willard, who portrayed Frank Dunphy, the father of Ty Burrell's Phil Dunphy, was posthumously nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.
This accolade marks Willard's fifth Emmy nomination, according to Entertainment Tonight. The late actor appeared in the "Legacy" episode of Modern Family's 11th and final season, an installment which aired in January. He was previously nominated for the same role in 2010. Willard also scored three other Emmy nominations throughout his career, all of which were for his guest appearances as Frank in Everybody Loves Raymond. Willard's final, posthumous Emmy nomination comes a little over two months after he died of natural causes on May 15. He was 86.
Jamie Lee Curtis, who is married to the late actor's frequent collaborator Christopher Guest, was the first one to report that Willard had died. On Twitter, she published a mournful tweet in honor of the This Is Spinal Tap star, which shocked fans everywhere. She wrote, alongside a clip from Willard's appearance in Best in Show, "How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard's gifts. He is with his missed Mary now. Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard." Willard's agent Glenn Schwartz later confirmed the sad news. The actor's cause of death was reportedly cardiac arrest. His underlying cause of death was myelodysplastic syndrome — a blood disorder — and coronary artery disease.
In light of the news of his passing, many of those who knew him best honored him with some lovely tributes. His daughter, Hope Willard, took to Twitter to pen a sweet message in honor of her father. "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," she wrote. "He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end.We loved him so very much! We will miss him forever." Those who worked alongside Willard on Modern Family also expressed their sadness over the loss. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who played Mitchell on the ABC comedy, wrote on Twitter, "Rest In Peace sweet @Fred_Willard. You will always be a true original and I am so honored that our lives intersected. No one will ever come close to replacing your genius."