Emmy-nominated comedian Fred Willard–who passed away May 15–had a serious side as well, as evidenced by his roles in such horror films as Salem’s Lot and Idle Hands.
Willard–best known for his numerous film and TV comedic roles–passed away from natural causes at age 86, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Willard’s daughter Hope said the actor passed “very peacefully. He kept moving, loving and making us happy until the very end. We will miss him forever.”
Horror legend Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween) took to Twitter to remember Willard. “How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard’s gifts,” she wrote. “Thanks for the deep belly laughs, Mr. Willard.”
Willard portrayed realtor Larry Crockett in the Tobe Hooper TV adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. In the 1979 film–widely considered one of the best adaptations of King’s novels–Willard’s Crockett dealt with the mysterious antique dealer, Mr. Straker (played by James Mason), who eventually brutally murders him.
For Idle Hands, a 1999 horror/comedy, Willard portrayed Gary Tobias, an off-screen victim of his son, who has a serious problem when his right hand becomes possessed and is committing horrific murders.
The teenager’s hand takes on a terrible life of its own even after being severed from his arm. The film’s title stems from the old adage, “Idle hands are the Devil’s playthings”.
Willard–who is survived by his daughter and grandson–gained fame from his roles in such TV series as Modern Family and Everybody Loves Raymond and his big screen appearances in Anchorman and This Is Spinal Tap.
The staff of Horror News Network would like to offer our condolences to Willard’s family and friends.