Fred Willard

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Fred Willard talks about his earliest appearances on television - sketches with comedy partners on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Steve Allen Show. He describes his involvement with the comedy troupe Ace Trucking Company, which led to regular apsdfasdpearances on The Tom Jones Show (in England) and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He recalls several guest appearances on sitcoms The Bob Newhart Show, Get Smart, Mad About You and Modern Family. He speaks in great detail about portraying "Jerry Hubbard" the hapless sidekick on the television talk-show parody Fernwood 2-Night with Martin Mull, and chronicles reuniting with Mull for a groundbreaking storyline on Roseanne which led one of television's first gay weddings. He discusses his roles in several of Christopher Guest's mockumentary films, and speaks of his part as the only human actor among a band of puppets in the series D.C. Follies. He comments on his fans, his favorite kinds of roles to play, and the role of improvisational acting in his career. Amy Harrington conducted the interview on September 28, 2012 in Encino, CA.

"Often at a party you might have something to say and you start to say it, and someone else comes in with a line and suddenly you're off. But in front of the camera it comes time for you to say something and you just say it. That's what I like about being an actor, when it comes time for me to say my line, everyone else has to be quiet."

Highlights
Fred Willard on appearing in the feature film "This Is Spinal Tap"
05:06
Fred Willard on The Mike Douglas Show  with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
02:36
Fred Willard on working with Martin Mull as "Barth Gimble" on Fernwood 2-Night
01:52
Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night  "going too far"
04:06
Fred Willard on playing "Scott" on Roseanne
03:34
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on radio he listened to as a child; on his early memories of television and appearing on The Steve Allen Show
09:59
On his early comedy career; on participating in various comedy troupes and appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show
19:58
On appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson with his comedy troupe, The Ace Trucking Company; on appearing on Get Smart and The Bob Newhart Show
16:01
On appearing as "Jerry Hubbard" and Fernwood 2-Night (later America 2-Night) with guest starts such as Carol Burnett, Burt Lancaster and Charlton Heston
12:27

Chapter 2

On his Fernwood 2-Night character "Jerry Hubbard"; on critical reaction to Fernwood 2-Night; on a typical production day on the show
15:01
On the set of Fernwood 2-Night and the acts who appeared; on working with Martin Mull as "Barth Gimble" on Fernwood 2-Night; on the show transitioning to America 2-Night in its second season
15:59
On hosting Real People; on his Real People co-stars and stories he covered on the show; on hosting Saturday Night Live in 1978
14:39
On acting in the feature film "This Is Spinal Tap"; on acting in director Christopher Guest's mockumentaries
13:37

Chapter 3

On improv acting; on hosting What's Hot and What's Not; on hosting D.C. Follies
16:14
On playing the gay character "Scott" on Roseanne; on being reunited with Martin Mull on Roseanne; on his gay marriage on the show
12:18
On guest starring in various sitcoms; on playing "Hank McDougall" on Everybody Loves Raymond; on playing a "TV Dad"
18:12
On appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; on guest starring on Modern Family and various other 2012 shows
10:45

Chapter 4

On guest starring in various series; on the types of roles he plays; on his fans
09:49
On what he enjoys about acting; on advice to aspring actors; on what he'd like to do in the future
13:46
Shows

Bob Newhart Show, The (1972-78)

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Fred Willard on appearing on The Bob Newhart Show
01:34

Carol Burnett Show, The (1967-78)

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Fred Willard on his early comedy career
11:16

Divorce Court

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Fred Willard on guest starring in various series and appearing on Divorce Court
03:36

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

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Fred Willard on appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show
06:58

Everybody Loves Raymond

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Fred Willard on guest starring as "Hank MacDougall" on Everybody Love Raymond
03:46
Fred Willard on working with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond
03:03
Fred Willard on acting in specific episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond
03:00
Fred Willard on playing a "TV Dad" on Everybody Loves Raymond
01:11

Fernwood 2 Night

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Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
12:27
Fred Willard on his character "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night and his nightclub act
09:04
Fred Willard on the critical reaction to Fernwood 2-Night
02:28
Fred Willard on a typical production day on Fernwood 2-Night and the improv and writing process
03:29
Fred Willard on the atmosphere on the set of Fernwood 2-Night, and the acts who appeared on the show
01:52
Fred Willard on working with Martin Mull as "Barth Gimble" on Fernwood 2-Night
01:52
Fred Willard on the change from Fernwood 2-Night to America 2-Night
00:38
Fred Willard on various cast members of Fernwood 2-Night
05:11
Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night "going too far"
03:56
Fred Willard on the end of America 2-Night
01:18

Get Smart

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Fred Willard on acting on Get Smart and missing out on a few opportunities
02:54

Mad About You

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Fred Willard on guest starring on Mad About You
00:56

Mike Douglas Show, The

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Fred Willard on The Mike Douglas Show with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
02:36

Modern Family

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Fred Willard on guest starring on Modern Family
02:22
Fred Willard on guest starring as "Frank Dunphy" on Modern Family
03:05

Murder, She Wrote

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Fred Willard playing dramatic roles and the types of roles he usually plays
02:57

Real People

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Fred Willard on becoming a host of Real People
02:18
Fred Willard on some of the stories he covered on Real People
03:03
Fred Willard on his Real People co-stars
01:57

Roseanne

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Fred Willard on playing "Scott" on Roseanne
03:34
Fred Willard on playing a gay couple with Martin Mull on Roseanne
03:23
Fred Willard on how it felt to be reunited with Martin Mull on Roseanne in a groundbreaking storyline
03:38
Fred Willard on his gay wedding scene on Roseanne
01:43

Saturday Night Live

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Fred Willard on hosting Saturday Night Live in 1978
05:41

Steve Allen Show, The (1956-61)

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Fred Willard on appearing on The Steve Allen Show
00:49

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

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Fred Willard on appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
03:31

Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The

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Fred Willard on appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
01:29
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night  "going too far"
03:56

Characters & Catchphrases

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Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
12:27

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Fred Willard on his comedic influences
01:10

Criticism of TV

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Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night "going too far"
03:56

Diversity in Television

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Fred Willard on playing the gay character "Scott" on Roseanne
12:18

Emmy Awards

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Fred Willard on hosting his talk show What's Hot, What's Not?  and being nominated for a daytime Emmy
04:59
Fred Willard on his Emmy nominations
01:45

LGBTQ

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Fred Willard on playing the gay character "Scott" on Roseanne
12:18

Pop Culture

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Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
12:27

Television Industry

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Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night "going too far"
03:56
Professions

Actor

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Fred Willard on what he's learned about improv acting from the Christopher Guest movies
02:25
Fred Willard on playing dramatic roles and the types of roles he usually plays
02:57
Fred Willard on what he likes about acting, doing research for roles, and what attracts him to a role
03:21
Fred Willard on advice to aspiring actors
01:48

Performers

View Profession
Fred Willard on what he's learned about improv acting from the Christopher Guest movies
02:25
Fred Willard on playing dramatic roles and the types of roles he usually plays
02:57
Fred Willard on what he likes about acting, doing research for roles, and what attracts him to a role
03:21
Fred Willard on advice to aspiring actors
01:48
Genres

Comedy Series

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Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
12:27
Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
31:00
Fred Willard on playing "Scott" on Roseanne
12:18
Fred Willard on guest starring as "Hank MacDougall" on Everybody Love Raymond
12:46

Reality TV

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Fred Willard on co-hosting Real People
08:19
People

Dabney Coleman

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Fred Willard on various cast members of Fernwood 2-Night
05:11

Phil Donahue

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Fred Willard on hosting his talk show What's Hot, What's Not?  and being nominated for a daytime Emmy
04:59

Georgia Engel

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Fred Willard on working with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond
03:03

Brad Garrett

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Fred Willard on working with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond
03:03

Christopher Guest

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Fred Willard on appearing in Christopher Guest's feature films
08:26
Fred Willard on what he's learned about improv acting from the Christopher Guest movies
02:25

Charlton Heston

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Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
12:27

Monica Horan

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Fred Willard on working with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond
03:03

Marty Krofft

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Fred Willard on hosting the comedy puppet show D.C. Follies
08:50

Sid Krofft

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Fred Willard on hosting the comedy puppet show D.C. Follies
08:50

Burt Lancaster

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Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
12:27

Norman Lear

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Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
12:27
Fred Willard on Fernwood 2-Night "going too far"
03:56

John Lennon

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Fred Willard on The Mike Douglas Show with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
02:34

Martin Mull

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Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
12:27
Fred Willard on working with Martin Mull as "Barth Gimble" on Fernwood 2-Night
01:52

Bob Newhart

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Fred Willard on appearing on The Bob Newhart Show
01:34

Sarah Purcell

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Fred Willard on his Real People co-stars
01:57

Ray Romano

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Fred Willard on working with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond
20:59

Roseanne

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Fred Willard on playing "Scott" on Roseanne
03:34

Tom Snyder

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Fred Willard on the critical reaction to Fernwood 2-Night
02:28

Alan Thicke

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Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
12:27

Frank De Vol

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Fred Willard on playing "Jerry Hubbard" on Fernwood 2-Night
12:27

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