Rest In Peace, Fred Willard (9/18/33 - 5/15/20)
Garden City Park, NY: In the midst of so much continued sadness right now during the Covid-19 pandemic, Square One has lost one of its most celebrated and entertaining authors: the one and only comedic actor and improv genius, Fred Willard.
As reported by his daughter, Hope Willard Mulbarger, Fred passed away yesterday (May 15, 2020) at age 86 in his California home due to natural causes. (His beloved wife of 50 years, Mary, passed away less than two years ago in July 2018.)
Our own VP of Marketing/PR, Anthony Pomes (standing alongside Fred in the photo below at the FOX NEWS CHANNEL studios in NYC), had this to share earlier today on social media:
"I first got to know Fred back in 2009, when I began to work with him on a movie trivia book for Square One [Fred Willard's Magnificent Movie Trivia - ISBN: 978-0-7570-0311-0]. He and I had a great time sharing enthusiasm about all kinds of movies, some of which were the subject of trivia questions that Fred asked the anchors during a hilarious morning segment over at Fox & Friends (Fox News Channel).
"On the walk back to [his wife] Mary at the hotel, Fred shared some fun stories with me about what it was like working with James Mason on Tobe Hooper's 1979 TV movie adaptation of Stephen King's SALEM'S LOT. I also had the honor of giving him one of the two bananas that I had bought earlier that day at a local grocer. I will always remember Fred saying to me (in that wonderfully Fred-like way), 'Thank you for the banana!'
"Rest In Peace, Fred - you were one of our great comical actors, a genius improviser, and you will be deeply missed by us all. Sincere condolences not only to daughter, Hope, and her family, but also to his agent Mike Eisenstadt and his friends and colleagues . . . of which there are a great many."
Whether known best for his work in the '70s on TV's hilarious Fernwood 2 Night; as Amy's strictly religous father on Everybody Loves Raymond; or for any of his brilliantly improvised comedic characters in the "mockumentary" films from writer/director Christopher Guest (especially his role as TV commentator Buck Laughlin in the 2000 classic Best in Show), Fred Willard's life and legacy stands as magnificently as the many movies that he loved.