Following an outpouring of love for actor, Fred Willard from fans and industry peers, many are returning to the comedian's social media accounts to grieve over the legend's death. Among the tweets that are being liked and retweeted from users on Twitter is Willard's last tweet about how "bad" times were getting from May 12, detailing how he was just coming to terms with the passing of Little Richard when he heard about the death of fellow comedian, Jerry Stiller.
"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," Willard wrote, further sharing an anecdote from a time the two crossed paths in the 1960s, playing at the same comedy clubs in New York City.
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. #JerryStiller— Fred Willard (@Fred_Willard) May 12, 2020
Willard's death comes just days after Little Richard and Stiller. Richard, one of the founding fathers of rock and roll died May 9 at the age of 87, while Stiller, a comedy icon and beloved star of Seinfeld, died on May 11 at the age of 92. While Richard's cause of death is currently unknown, Stiller died of natural causes.
The prolific comic actor and original master of the mockumentary genre, died Friday at the age of 86, which was confirmed by his daughter, Hope Mulbarger and Willard's publicist, Glenn Schwartz who revealed he died of natural causes. "My father passed away very peacefully last night at the fantastic age of 86 years old," she told Rolling Stone in a statement. "He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end. We loved him so very much! We will miss him forever."
Jamie Lee Curtis, the wife of Willard's longtime director and collaborator, Christopher Guest, first shared news of the actor's death on Twitter, sending fans into a spiral of grief before Mulbarger or Schwartz could confirm. "How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard's gifts," Curtis tweeted. "He is with his missed Mary now. Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard."
Willard, who was best known for Best in Show, Anchorman, For Your Consideration and This Is Spinal Tap, lost his wife, Mary of 40 years in 2018. As a veteran of the stage and sketch comedy, Willard made his feature film debut in the 1967 exploitation film, Teenage Mother about teenage pregnancy with a graphic actualization of birth. After continuously working in the industry, he landed bit parts until he hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in 1978.0comments
It was then that things started to take off when Willard began working with Guest in 1984, with the two appearing together in Rob Reiner's genre-bending mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap. Guest would later cast the Ohio native in major roles in five of his own mockumentaries, including 2016's Mascots.
Willard can be seen posthumously in the upcoming Netflix satire series, Space Force alongside actor, Steve Carrell who appeared together in the Anchorman movies. "Fred Willard was the funniest person that I've ever worked with. He was a sweet, wonderful man," Carrell wrote. The series will premiere May 29 on Netflix.