LAST LUNCHEON JUN. 19, 2015
Honoree: Fred Willard
One of America's most prolific comic television actors received the Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award at PPB's June 19 celebrity luncheon. President Chuck Street presented the coveted award to Fred Willard following some rollicking-good humor from some of Fred's friends and colleagues on the dais.
Fred radiates a unique charm that has solidly established him as an exceptionally-talented comic character actor, first coming to prominence as the ambitious, but dimwitted sidekick, Jerry Hubbard, to Martin Mull's smarmy talk-show host, Barth Gimble, in the devastating satirical series Fernwood Tonight (1977). A master of sketch comedy, he is most heralded for his quick wit and improvisational expertise. His 100 appearances in sketches and as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno are indicative of his ability to transform any character into a unique comic portrayal.
An alumnus of the famed Second City, Fred Willard received three Emmy nominations for his recurring role on the TV series Everybody Loves Raymond as Robert Barone's father-in-law, Hank MacDougall. In 2010, he received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on the ABC TV series Modern Family as Phil Dunphy's father, Frank Dunphy. He has numerous voice-over credits in both TV shows and movies.
Movie fans will remember Fred for his roles in the Rob Reiner mockumentary film "This Is Spinal Tap," the Christopher Guest mockumentary films "Waiting for Guffman," "Best in Show," "A Mighty Wind," and "For Your Consideration," and also in the Will Ferrell Anchorman films.
Born and reared in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Fred is a former U.S. soldier, having graduated from the Kentucky Military Institute and the Virginia Military Institute. After his tour in the Army in 1962, Willard and pal Vic Greco formed a comedy act that was funny and successful enough to earn them an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, his first TV appearance.
For his considerable, ongoing dedication to charity works with various nonprofits, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Fred and his wife, Mary, were honored in 2010 with the Golden Star Award, and the couple also works with City of Hope, John Wayne Cancer Society, PETA and dozens more. Fred was honored by Actors and Others for Animals with the Man of The Year Award in 2008, and he received a commendation from the City of Los Angeles for "outstanding humanitarian and philanthropic work helping to further the goal of making the City of Los Angeles a better place."
On the Dais: Front Row: Doris Roberts, Peter Marshall, Honoree Fred Willard, Milt Larsen and PPB Chairman of the Board, Jeanne DeVivier Brown, Back Row: PPB President Chuck Street, Todd Sherry, Heather Olt and Steve Bluestein, Not Pictured: Sarah Purcell and Leonard Maltin, (Don King photo)