Rob Reiner, Steve Carell, and Ben Stiller are among the old friends and colleagues to salute Fred Willard online following the comedy icon’s death on Friday (May 15, 2020).
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who is married to the veteran funnyman’s longtime collaborator, director Christopher Guest, shared the news of his passing on Twitter on Saturday, as she led the tributes to the 86 year old.
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
His This Is Spinal Tap filmmaker Reiner posted,
So sad to hear about Fred Willard. He was a brilliant satirist. Made you laugh from your gut. And the kindest of souls.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) May 16, 2020
while his co-stars Michael McKean and Harry Shearer also mourned his death with fans.
I’m at a loss for words, a state Fred Willard never found himself in. My friend for 40+ years, a great comic actor who had no competition because there was only one of him. We were all so lucky. Goodbye, Fred.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) May 16, 2020
tweeted McKean, as Shearer added,
Just learned of Fred Willard’s passing. Just about the funniest human ever to walk the planet. An amazing talent, in telekinetic contact with the very wellspring of comedy.
— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) May 16, 2020
Meanwhile, Willard’s Modern Family castmate Eric Stonestreet wrote,
It was a privilege to have the great Fred Willard know my name. Rest In Peace Fred. You were funny in your bones. pic.twitter.com/PlFTCHFZCK
— Eric Stonestreet (@ericstonestreet) May 16, 2020
and co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson shared,
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.
— Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) May 16, 2020
Ben Stiller, who lost his dad, actor Jerry Stiller on May 11 (2020), remembered his The Ben Stiller Show guest as a “brilliant comic actor and improviser”, as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy producer Judd Apatow declared, “Fred Willard could not have been funnier. He was pure joy. And the sweetest person you could ever meet.”
And Steve Carell, co-creator and star of Willard’s final project, the upcoming Netflix comedy Space Force, noted, “Fred Willard was the funniest person that I’ve ever worked with. He was a sweet, wonderful man.”
Other early tributes also poured in from the likes of Kathy Griffin, Paul Feig, Christina Applegate, and Jimmy Kimmel.