The World Lost Two Comedy Greats This Week

Modern Family

On May 11, the world lost comedian and actor Jerry Stiller. His death, announced on Twitter by his son, Ben Stiller, was due to natural causes, saying that he was “a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband”. He was 92.

Six days later, another announcement. Fred Willard, the comedic actor know for his roles on Modern Family and Everybody Loves Raymond, died peacefully “at the fantastic age of 86 years old,” according to his daughter, Hope Mulbarger.

“He kept moving, working and making us happy until the very end. We loved him so very much! We will miss him forever,” Mulbarger told CNN.

While the families mourn the loss of their loved ones, the world was also saddened by their passings, with hundreds of tributes flowing in from Hollywood and beyond.

But, who was Jerry Stiller and Fred Willard, and what made them so incredibly famous?

We look back at the careers of both comedians.

Fred Willard

Jerry Stiller

Actor and comedian Jerry Stiller was a star of the stage and screen, often performing as part of a duo with his wife Anne Meara.

After they married in 1953, they regularly performed in Las Vegas and on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Stiller acted on TV shows such as Love, American Style, Joe and Sons and The Love Boat before scoring the role of Frank Costanza on Seinfeld.

The actor played Frank from 1993 to 1998 and received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal as George’s often irate father.

Following the series finale of the hit TV series, Stiller played another irritable father on King of Queens, Arthur Spooner, from 1998 to 2007.

During that time, he was nominated for a Grammy award for best-spoken word album for Married to Laughter: A Love Story Featuring Anne Meara in 2001.

While he was most famous for his roles in Seinfeld and King of Queens, Stiller appeared in many films including Airport 1975, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and both versions of the hit musical Hairspray in 1988 and in 2007 as dress-shop owner Mr Pinky.

He also appeared in two films with his son, Ben, including The Heartbreak Kid and Zoolander, where he played the iconic Maury Ballstein.

WATCH NEXT: Jerry Stiller on Seinfeld. Story continues…

Fred Willard

Actor Fred Willard made his first appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1978 following some small films.

He appeared in TV shows such as Laverne & Shirley, Sirota’s Court and Fernwood Tonight, before playing a Colonel in the Air Force in Rob Reiner’s mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap.

After sharing the screen with Christopher Guest in the film, Guest would then cast him in five more films Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration and Mascots.

Willard also starred in both Anchorman films as the overwhelmed news station boss Dan Harken as well as roles in Fun With Dick and Jane, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Epic Movie, Max Rose and Fifty Shades of Black (2016).

But it was his numerous turns as various characters on the US sitcom circuit that made him a household name.

Before his death, Willard had a whopping 313 credits to his name including appearances on the upcoming Space ForceModern Family (as Frank Dunphy), New Girl, The Odd Couple, The Bold and the Beautiful, Betsy’s Kindergarten Adventures, King of the Hill, Saturday Night Live and as Hank MacDougall on Everybody Loves Raymond.

WATCH: Fred Willard on Modern Family. (Grab the tissues!)

Vale Jerry Stiller and Fred Willard.

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