The Modern Family Television series holds an integral place in all our hearts. The Dunphys and the Prichets had a lot of quirks and life lessons to offer. But one man that stole hearts every time he was on screen was Frank Dunphy. Fred Willard bought to life the role of a man in retirement and lost his wife. He lives in his RV and visits his son!
However, the man who made us all smile has left the world in sorrow. He breathed his last at the age of 86. As we mourn his loss, here’s a look back at all the wonderful performances where he entertained us. His entertainment career began in the year 1959, and he was part of numerous game shows, television soaps, and movies. Since then, he’s been an active member of multiple talk shows, comedy sketches, movies, and television shows.
The Tonight Show
Fred Williard made his debut in the television industry way with his comedy sketch group, The Ace Trucking Company. This was in the year 1974. However, his film debut was several years before that. It was in the year 1967 with his role as the coach in the film Teenage Mother that he made his debut. In several instances, he has spoken about how the audience in the theater did not react positively as he tried to stop an abuse incident on screen in the film Teenage Mother. Probably that was the reaction to his convincing portrayal.
Along with his team, Fred used to perform comical sketches on the Tonight Show. He was part of the show for over 50 episodes and went on to get a regular appearance on the show This is Tom Jones.
I Think You Should Leave
After the long-running television show Modern Family, I Think You Should Leave was probably one of the last projects Fred was on. This 2019 sketch let the world have a glimpse of the funny and versatile actor that he was.
The show is full of characters who are famous for their quirks, but when Fred made an appearance on it, it was a breath of fresh air. His role as the replacement organist New Joe, a character who performs his tasks and duties with most glee, caught the fancy of the audience.
The 2002 American sitcom Undeclared was a comedy show that was a followup on an earlier television series called the Freaks and Geeks—revolving around a group of students in their college freshman year. The story happens on the fictional campus of the University of Northeastern, California.
Fred Willard essayed the role of Professor Duggan in the series. He was on the episode titled, “Oh, So You Have a Boyfriend?” He plays the role of a history professor and takes not just the students, but also the audience on a fun-filled historic ride. In this episode, Professor Duggan narrates the events of the Kennedy administration. He does with a whirlwind summary along with the costumes, the accents, the conspiracy theories, etc. In short, he makes his guest appearance on the show a noteworthy and memorable one.
Here, Willard plays the role of a grandfather who is often in floral shirts, occasionally pays a visit to his son and grandchildren, and entertains everyone with his quirks. The 50 odd episodes that Fred was part of the Modern Family across the 11 seasons is a memorable one. Crazy, distracted, yet so passionate about life, just as his son Phil Dunphy, Frank was a man with a golden heart.
Fred’s performance as the older adult traveling around in an RV with a couple of other retired people driving around an RV was what you would call retirement goals! While there’s no taking away the limelight from the grand older man of the show Jay Pritchett, Frank Dunphy had his moments in the show etched forever in everyone’s memories too!
His loss will leave a vacuum in the television and film industry. However, his works will continue to entertain us for years and decades to come. Isn’t that the best thing about artists and creative professionals? No matter how far they go from us, their work continues to stay by our side and makes them an integral part of our life. Fred was one passionate soul with a fondness for the entertainment world. We hope his soul is in a better place now!