Thursday, June 29, 2006

Fred Willard

"A few years ago," he said, after a moment, "I was in Cleveland, where I grew up, and I looked up my dad's death certificate at City Hall. I was twelve when he died, in 1951. He died after dropping off Christmas gifts to a customer — he worked at a financing company, it was all a little vague. They said he usually turned to wave after he got in his car, and this time he didn't. Heart failure. I went down to the intersection listed on the certificate, a Buick dealership, and it was very touching. He was Fred Willard, and I was Fred Willard. He was a pretty stern guy, though. I don't remember much joking, never much encouragement. My wife hates all these visits, going to see the graves. 'The people aren't there!' she says. And I say, 'But this is the closest we can get to them.'" He gazed out at Times Square, perhaps seeing past the JumboTron dazzle to the Tenderloin of decades past. "If it was up to me, nothing would ever change, no one would ever die. On the other hand," he added, "then no one could have babies, either, because it would get too crowded."
From a conversation with Fred Willard, in this week's New Yorker.

You may know Willard as Mike LaFontaine (A Mighty Wind), Buck Laughlin (Best in Show), or Ron Albertson (Waiting for Guffman). Readers of a certain age (and comic sensibility) will also remember him as Jerry Hubbard on Fernwood 2Nite.

Fred Willard, Tourist (from The New Yorker)

comments: 2

Ken Zirkel said...

Willard was also a co-host on a horrible little pre-reality era "reality show" (which, as a junior high schooler, I absolutely loved) called "Real People"

Michael Leddy said...

Yipes — I'd forgotten (or repressed?) that one. But I can hear the studio audience now . . . "Real People!"