Jimmy Kimmel pays emotional tribute to the late Fred Willard, with Willard's co-stars and collaborators

Jimmy Kimmel pays tribute to Fred Willard
(Image credit: Screenshots/YouTube/Jimmy Kimmel Live)

Fred Willard died Friday at age 86, and Jimmy Kimmel dedicated Monday's show to the actor's life and work, including frequent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. "Tonight's show will be a special show," he said. "It will be a sad show, but we will also laugh a lot as we pay tribute to a lovely and genuinely funny man."

Kimmel recalled that he was enthralled as a kid with Willard's parody late-night show Fernwood 2 Night, with Martin Mull. And even when Willard gained renewed fame in the Christopher Guest movies Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind, then Anchorman and the sitcoms Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family, "he played basically the same character in everything, he was the same guy, because it always worked," Kimmel said. He explained how Willard became a regular guest on Kimmel Live with his timely reprisal of his "Space Force" character. "After that, we started putting him in everything," he said. "We could not get enough Fred. He never had any time to prepare for these bits."

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