FRED WILLARD (Al Kaiser), a four-time Emmy nominee, radiates a unique charm that has established him as one of our generations’s most gifted comic actors. A master of sketch comedy, Willard is most heralded for his quick wit and improvisational expertise, which he has demonstrated in hundreds of appearances on stage, in film and on a wide range of television shows.
An alumnus of the famed Second City comedy troupe, Fred was also a founding member of the Ace Trucking Company sketch/improve group, where he honed his comedic skills. Of course, movie audiences know him best for his work in over seventy films. From Silver Streak with Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, to his most recent film, Youth in Revolt, starring Michael Cera, Ray Liotta, Steve Buscemi, and Jean Smart, he has worked with Hollywood’s best. He danced with Jane Fonda in Fun with Dick and Jane and played a presidential advisor in First Family, starring Bob Newhart, Gilda Radner, and Madeline Kahn. He appeared with James Mason in Salem’s Lot, with Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner, with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah in Roxanne. Willard’s improvisational performances in Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show earned him an American Comedy Award nod for Funniest Supporting Actor, and won him the Boston Film Critics Award, the American Comedy Award, the Sierra Award, and a tribute from the American Film Institute (AFI).
Willard’s film credits also include This is Spinal Tap, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration, the Academy-Award nominated Monster House, and the Academy Award-winning short film “Ray’s Male Heterosexual Dance Hall.” Willard also starred as the only human character in the Oscar-winning film WALL-E, which The New York Times named the best film of the decade. He was honored by the AFI for contributing to America’s cultural legacy.
Willard’s stage work includes roles in off-Broadway productions of Jules Feiffer’s “Little Murders,” Dan Greenburg’s “Arf and the Great Airplane Snatch,” and Mary Willard’s “Elvis and Juliet.” He has also performed in “Mame” at the Hollywood Bowl, and in the Los Angeles Reprise Theatre productions of “Promises, Promises,” “Anything Goes,” and “L’il Abner.” Willard won an Inland Empire Music Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical for his role in Mary Willard and Mary Stuart’s “Moon Shine!” His one-man show (with a cast of ten) – “Fred Willard, Alone at Last!” – earned the comic actor two Los Angeles Artistic Director Awards.
A favorite on TV talk shows, game shows, and series, Willard has appeared in over one thousand television episodes, from the variety “Tom Jones Show” to his recent appearances on “Modern Family.” He and Martin Mull co-starred in Norman Lear’s innovative TV cult classic “Fernwood 2 Night.” He was also a series regular on “Sirota’s Court,” “D.C. Follies” (again the only human), “Maybe it’s Me,” “A Minute with Stan Hooper,” and “Back to You.” Willard garnered three Emmy nominations for his performance as Amy’s dad on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” His work on “What’s Hot, What’s Not” earned him a daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host. He has also made over one hundred appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”