Jamie Lee Curtis surprised fans on Saturday afternoon by posting what seemed to be a eulogy for actor Fred Willard. No media outlets or other friends had announced Willard's passing, so Curtis' tweet caught many fans off guard. Before long, the replies were full of confused mourning for the actor.
Fred Willard is a comedian with a long list of iconic credits in his 86 years of life. On Saturday, Curtis shared a clip from the 2000 mockumentary Best in Show as an example of his "gifts." She seemed to imply that Willard had passed away. She wrote: "Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard."
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. Best in Show (7/11) Movie CLIP - Judging the Hounds (2000) HD https://t.co/wPrbk9VjWI via @YouTube— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) May 16, 2020
So far, no other friends, family or news outlets have remarked publicly on Willard, or announced that he has passed away. In response to Curtis' tweet, some fans replied that Willard has seemed very healthy for his age recently, including some of his TV appearances earlier this year and even his jokes on social media last week.
Still, some took Curtis' word for it and got straight to mourning. Many recalled their favorite of Willard's roles over the years, praising him for his sharp wit and his timing. The comedian is a sitcom standby, from some of his earliest roles on Get Smart or Laverne and Shirley to his recent turn on Modern Family. Willard is even set to play a starring role in Netflix's upcoming comedy series Space Force.
Whether Curtis was mistaken or not, the outpouring of love for Willard on Saturday afternoon was powerful. Fans remarked on how many times the actor had made them laugh and how sad they were to hear that he had passed. Some recalled Willard's most iconic roles, or even encounters they had with him in person at events over the years.
Others jumped into research mode, looking for confirmation from another source and details on what may have happened with Willard. Before Curtis' tweet, there were no reports about Willard facing health issues recently, although with the coronavirus pandemic raging on, that does not mean much. Here is what Twitter had to say about Curtis' tweet on Saturday. (This article was originally published at 2:16 p.m. EST, Saturday, May 16.)
Oh man...what a comedic genius. Sorry to hear it...— Garris Wimmer 🏳️🌈 (@Nycgar) May 16, 2020
Oh no! You keep me laughing, Fred. RIP 💔— Deborah 'Physical Distancing' Sharp (@SaneResponz) May 16, 2020
Same. I’m searching and can’t find any articles.— 🌤LeftyLucyStaysTheFHome (@LeftIsRightInNE) May 16, 2020
Is he dead??— Lien Lynch (@lieniebeanie) May 16, 2020
Oh No :-( The laughs he always brought to my family, especially in this movie, will be missed and always rememebered!— AlwynHamilton (@AlwynFJH) May 16, 2020
Oh, no.— Jonathan Flynn (@NateFlynn80) May 16, 2020
Jamie Lee’s husband, Chris Guest, directed Williams in many films. I am sure they are very close friends.— RoyCohnsGhost (@DmitrysPlane) May 16, 2020
Is Fred Willard dead?! It would seem so... JLC is the only one saying it but she would know. 😥 https://t.co/lQinvAiOO8— Kate Leth 🏝 (@kateleth) May 16, 2020
Aww...he had some great moments on @jimmykimmel for the last few years...rip funny man— Brandon Klopp (@brandonx76) May 16, 2020
IS FRED WILLARD DEAD OR NOT I NEED TO FUCKING KNOW RIGHT FUCKING NOW pic.twitter.com/u9DAr6jaYq— your favorite little trash boy (@hottrashboy) May 16, 2020
I literally can’t find any articles or anybody else talking about this, but she’s implying Fred Willard is dead?! Why is nobody talking about this? Is it true? Big comedic loss if so! https://t.co/D5he1CZ3iB— Glitter & Gloom (@GlitterNGloom41) May 16, 2020