The loss of Fred Willard on Saturday at the age of 86 was a shock to the world of comedy and entertainment. Fans of the Best in Show star shared their memories and tributes online, including late-night host Jimmy Kimmel.
Kimmel was struck by the loss of the beloved comedian, posting several memories and retweeting others discussing Williard's life, career and personal experiences. The two had a connection through many appearances on the host's ABC talk show, something that came to help Willard after the loss of his wife Mary.
I am sad to say goodbye to Fred Willard, who was still the funniest of men at age 86. Here's what turned out to be our last moment on-air together… pic.twitter.com/inDZVtls6v— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) May 16, 2020
The connection also prompted Kimmel to share the final moment he shared on-air with Willard, a sketch about a Virginia law against unwed sexual relations. It's a simple and typical late-night skit, but displays Willard's talents even at his older age.
An LA Times piece on Willard and Kimmel detailed the appearance on the show from 2018 that followed the death of his wife. Their daughter, Hope Malburgar, shared the behind-the-scenes details from the moment for the piece.
"I went with him and I was nervous," Hope recalled. "He was so quiet. He put on his costume, and I laughed and started to take a picture to text to my mom … which was weird. But she would have laughed. Then, he went to do the scene and all of a sudden, Bam! Fred Willard in hilarious action. He nailed the bit."
Kimmel shared similar words in the piece, calling Willard one of the "funniest people in the world" and he wanted to ensure that the comedian was surrounded by "supportive people." Willard was quoted as saying the appearance was positive and provided "this great sense of accomplishment."0comments
"It's a good place to put my brain, because you’re out, you’re active," Willard said about his time on Kimmel. "You do a good job and start thinking, ‘Where should I go eat afterward?’ It fills your day, and that’s a great thing. I do sometimes think, 'Thank God for Jimmy Kimmel.' Even if all this had ended after 'Space Force,' it's been fun. There’s a lot of funny people out there, very good actors, who aren’t working, so I’m fortunate I’ve done as many appearances as I have and fortunate to have Jimmy Kimmel as a friend."
Willard's final role will be the upcoming Netflix series Space Force where he plays the father of Steve Carell's character.