Willard grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. His father died in 1951. Willard is a former U.S. soldier, having graduated from the Kentucky Military Institute and the Virginia Military Institute. After his tour in the Army, Willard auditioned alongside Robert Klein for The Second City, which consisted of a nightclub manager and his employee. The audition helped the two secure the job. He is an alumnus of The Second City and currently heads a sketch comedy workshop, The MoHos. He was a founding member of the improvisational comedy group, Ace Trucking Company. Fellow members of Ace included Bill Saluga and Patti Deutsch, among others. They appeared regularly on This is Tom Jones.
In a December 2010 interview with online film magazine , Willard talked in detail of his coming of age in Cleveland, Ohio, and being influenced by seeing comedian Spike Jones live in concert, "when I was a kid, I saw something in Cleveland that really influenced me. I saw Spike Jones on stage in Cleveland. And I had never seen comedy like this before. It was all new to me. I remember musicians on stage, and they’d do take-offs of popular songs. There was this one bit they did with a women on stage with a harp. She sat there the whole show and never played it, and no one on stage drew any attention to her. I couldn’t believe just how hip this type of humor was. It was cutting edge for back then".
Willard achieved wider fame as Martin Mull's impossibly dense sidekick, "Jerry Hubbard," on the television shows Fernwood 2 Night, Forever Fernwood, and America 2-Night, which parodied the nighttime talk shows of the day. He was an original cast member of the NBC comedy series Real People from 1979 to 1985. From 1987 to 1989, he starred as a bartender/straightman in Sid and Marty Krofft's D.C. Follies, where all the other regular characters were Krofft puppets portraying political figures of the time. In 1990, Willard hosted the cable TV show "Access America" on the Ha! Comedy Network. As part of that show, he appeared September 21, 1990 on Episode #7 of the cult Public-access television show Decoupage with Summer Caprice. In 1995, Willard reunited with his Fernwood co-star playing Scott, the romantic partner of Mull's character, Leon Carp, on Roseanne. The couple married in the episode "December Bride" and Scott became a recurring character during the series' final two seasons. That same year, Willard had guest starred in three episodes of Sister, Sister, starring Tia and Tamera Mowry; Willard played Carl Mitushka, a teacher at Roosevelt High who often spoke popular teenage slang terms in order to sound cool to his students. Willard guest-voiced a 1999 episode of The Simpsons titled Sunday, Cruddy Sunday as Wally Kogen, a travel agent. From 2001 to 2002, he played the father of five children on Maybe It's Me. He has also guest starred in an episode of The Weird Al Show.
His most recent notable work has been in Christopher Guest films, such as A Mighty Wind, in which he played "Mike LaFontaine", a character known for his catchphrase, "Eh? Wha' happened?"; Best in Show, in which he portrayed "Buck Laughlin," a dog show announcer who offered up an unending stream of bad jokes and off-color comments; Waiting for Guffman, in which he played "Ron Albertson," a travel agent who performs in amateur stage productions with his wife; This Is Spinal Tap, in which he played a lieutenant on the military base where Spinal Tap play; and For Your Consideration, as an obnoxious entertainment television show anchor. He also appeared as KVWN news director "Ed Harken" in, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and in American Wedding as Michelle Flaherty's father, "Harold."
Willard had a recurring role as "Hank MacDougall" on the later seasons of CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for this role in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Willard was also the host of a VH1 documentary series called Totally Obsessed about people obsessed with their hobbies. He appears as "Captain Ribmanman" in Episode 21 of Channel Frederator, a podcast from Kansas. Willard also landed a role on Family Guy as Jeff Campbell, the father of a nudist family (first appearing in "From Method to Madness"). It is unclear whether or not the role will be reprised. Willard also voices "Officer Brown" in King of the Hill and has made an appearance on That '70s Show.
Willard frequently appears in sketches on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, typically as a government official, businessman, or other authority figure named Willard J. Fredericks, who is always drinking. He also hosted Saturday Night Live in 1978 (musical guest: Devo) and appeared twice on SNL's rival show, MADtv. Two years before this, he made a minor appearance in the movie Silver Streak as a bemused railway station worker.
He was the voice of a clueless companion to a lazy robot (Martin Mull) in one episode of the series Dexter's Laboratory and guest-starred on the Adult Swim cartoon, Tom Goes to the Mayor. He acted in the Cartoon Network movie Re-Animated and played Vala Mal Doran's "father" in an episode of Stargate SG-1 in 2007. He appeared in an episode of the Adult Swim program Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. He has also starred as the "Boogie Man" in an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and reprised his role in the movie, Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure. His final appearance as "Boogey" occurred in Billy & Mandy: Wrath of the Spider Queen. In 2007, he made a guest appearance on the children's TV series Come on Over. He's also guest-starred on an episode of The Boondocks providing the voice of "Joe Petto." In 2008, he guest starred on Transformers Animated as the Decepticon arms dealer Swindle.
Willard was cast as a sportscaster in the television series Back to You, which premiered on the Fox Network on September 19, 2007. He also made an appearance in the 2007 sci-fi comedy I'll Believe You and he plays Shelby Forthright, the CEO of the Buy n Large Corporation in live-action segments in the Pixar animated film WALL-E.
Willard completed a sold-out run of Fred Willard: Alone At Last!, advertised as a one-man show but actually featuring a cast of 10, and received Los Angeles Artistic Director Awards for Best Comedy and Best Production. He has completed a RiffTrax with Michael J. Nelson for the movie Missile to the Moon.
He was seen roasting William Shatner in the Comedy Central special The Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner on August 12, 2006. Also at the roast was George Takei with whom Willard performed in the improv show Thank God You're Here.
Willard is the voice of the character "Ed Warmer" in the PlayStation Portable game Hot Brain.
In 2007, Willard took the role of "Aslo" in Epic Movie.
Willard was part of the one-night celebrity performed staging of Howard Ashman's unproduced musical Dreamstuff. The musical was re-imagined by Howard's partners Marsha Malamet and Dennis Green and performed one night only at Los Angeles' Hayworth Theatre as part of the Bruno Kirby celebrity reading series, directed by Ugly Betty's Michael Urie. Willard starred in the show alongside Eden Espinosa, Vicki Lewis, David Blue and Luke Macfarlane.
On October 5, 2008, he hosted the Nickelodeon Fido Awards.
|1976||Chesty Anderson, USN||Peter Linden|
|1976||Silver Streak||Jerry Jarvis|
|1977||Fun With Dick and Jane||Bob|
|1980||How to Beat the High Co$t of Living||Robert|
|1980||First Family||Presidential Assistant Feebleman|
|1982||National Lampoon Goes to the Movies||President Robert Fogerty|
|1984||This Is Spinal Tap||Colonel on Military Base|
|1985||Moving Violations||Terrence 'Doc' Williams|
|1987||Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance Hall||Tom Osborne||Short film|
|1988||Portrait of a White Marriage||Hal Harrison|
|1991||High Strung||Insurance Salesman|
|1992||"Married...With Children"||Condo salesman, Stan Mendelson|
|1995||Prehysteria! 3||Thomas MacGregor|
|1996||Waiting for Guffman||Ron Albertson|
|1997||Breast Men||Talk Show Host||Uncredited|
|1998||Permanent Midnight||Craig Ziffer|
|1999||Can't Stop Dancing||Chester|
|1999||Idle Hands||Dad Tobias|
|1999||Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me||Mission Commander|
|2000||Chump Change||Steve's Manager|
|2000||Best in Show||Buck Laughlin|
|2001||The Wedding Planner||Basil St. Mosely|
|2001||How High||Philip Huntley|
|2002||Teddy Bears' Picnic||Senator Roger Dickey|
|2003||A Mighty Wind||Mike LaFontaine|
|2003||American Wedding||Harold Flaherty|
|2003||Nobody Knows Anything!||Mr. McClintock|
|2004||50 Ways to Leave Your Lover||Bucky Brandt|
|2004||Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle||Dr. Willoughby|
|2004||Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy||Ed Harken|
|2004||Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie||Ed Harken|
|2005||Chicken Little||Melvin - Alien Dad||Voice only|
|2006||Date Movie||Bernie Funkyerdoder|
|2006||Church Ball||Bishop Linderman|
|2006||Monster House||Dad||Voice only|
|2006||Ira & Abby||Michael Willoughby|
|2006||For Your Consideration||Chuck|
|2007||I'll Believe You||Mr. Fratus|
|2007||I Could Never Be Your Woman||Marty|
|2008||WALL-E||Shelby Forthright, BnL CEO|
|2010||Youth in Revolt||Mr. Ferguson|
|2010||Expecting Mary||Jerry Zee|
|1966||Pistols 'n' Petticoats||Ben||Episode "Quit Shootin' Folks"|
|1968||Get Smart||Lundy, Agent 198||Episode "A Tale of Two Tails"|
|1975||The Bob Newhart Show||John Emil Tobin||Episode "Tobin's Back in Town"|
|1976||How to Break Up a Happy Divorce||Lance Colson||Television film|
|1977||Fernwood 2 Night||Jerry Hubbard||Series, 65 Episodes - starring role|
|1977||Escape from Bogen County||Pearson||Television film|
|1978||America 2-Night||Jerry Hubbard||Series, 65 Episodes - starring role|
|1979||Flatbed Annie and Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers||Jack LaRosa||Television film|
|1979||Salem's Lot||Larry Crockett||Mini-series|
|1981||Pen 'n' Inc.||Ralph||Television film|
|1981–86||The Love Boat||Various roles||Three episodes|
|1984||Mama's Family||Willie Potts (a.k.a. "Willie the Weasel")||Episode "Mama Buys a Car"|
|1985||The History of White People in America||Hal Harrison||Television film|
|1985||Lots of Luck||A.J. Foley||Television film|
|1986||The History of White People in America: Volume II||Hal Harrison||Television film|
|1988–89||D.C. Follies||The Bartender||19 episodes|
|1989||My Secret Identity||Jay Bennett||Episode "For Old Time's Sake"|
|1991||The Golden Girls||Bob||Episode "Dateline:Miami"|
|1994–96||Family Matters||Vice Principal Mallet||Three episodes|
|1996||Back to Back||Loan Officer||Television film|
|1996||Friends||Mr. Lipson||Episode "The One After the Superbowl: Part 1"|
|1996||Sister, Sister||Mr. Mitushka||3 episodes|
|1996–97||Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman||President Garner||3 episodes|
|1998–99||Mad About You||Henry Vincent||5 episodes|
|1999||The Pooch and the Pauper||President||Television film|
|1999||The Simpsons||Wally Kogan||Episode "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday"|
|2001–02||Maybe It's Me||Jerry Stage||22 episodes|
|2001–08||King of the Hill||Various roles||Seven episodes; voice only|
|2001||When Billie Beat Bobby||Howard Cosell||Television film|
|2002||Family Guy||Dave Campbell||Two episodes; voice only|
|2003||National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure||Professor Doornitz||Television film|
|2003||That '70s Show||Charlie Miller||1 episode|
|2003–04||A Minute with Stan Hooper||Fred Hawkins||13 episodes|
|2003–05||Everybody Loves Raymond||Hank MacDougall||13 episodes|
|2003–07||Kim Possible||Jack Hench||Three episodes; voice only|
|2004–05||Saturday Night Live||'Bear City' Narrator||Voice only; uncredited|
|2006||Re-Animated||Milt Appleday||Television film|
|2007||Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure||The Boogey Man||Television film|
|2007||Stargate SG-1||Jacek||Episode "Family Ties"|
|2008||Pushing Daisies||The Great Hermann||Episode "Oh Oh Oh It's Magic"|
|2008||Larry the Cable Guy's Star-Studded Christmas Extravaganza||Various roles||Television film|
|2008||Transformers Animated||Swindle||Two episodes|
|2007–08||Back to You||Marsh McGinley||17 episodes|
|2009||Everybody Hates Chris||Cop||Episode "Everybody Hates the Car"|
|2009||Wizards of Waverly Place||Mr. Stuffleby||Two episodes|
|2009||Modern Family||Frank Dunphy||Two episodes|
|2010||Castle||Hank McPhee||Episode: "The Late Shaft"|
|2010||Chuck||Craig Turner||Episode "Chuck Versus the Role Models"|
|2011||G.I. Joe: Renegades||Mayor||Episode: "Fire Fight"|
- ↑ Tad Friend (July 3, 2006). Fred Williard, tourist. The New Yorker. Accessed 2009-06-06.
- ↑  mondo-video.com
- ↑ DECOUPAGE! Episode 7. Part 1 of 4: "Monologue"
- ↑ Ben Yagoda (November 21, 2006) "Unscripted And Unleashed" Philadelphia Inquirer. Accessed 2008-03-27.
- ↑ Missile to the Moon. Rifftrax. Accessed 2007-10-23.
- ↑ Template:Cite web