Fred Willard appeared for the last time as Phil Dunphy’s dad Frank on Wednesday night’s episode of Modern Family.
On the eleventh episode of Modern Family Season 11, titled Legacy, Phil told viewers he was in Florida visiting his dad, Frank, after he got a call that he was wandering around the grocery store that he used to run.
Phil went to Florida to find out whether Frank was okay. Frank talked about Phil’s mom when they met. His memory appeared to be intact, and his mind still sharp, alert, and quick.
Later, Frank drove Phil in his car, and it was clear from their conversation that his memory was still good. He was also alert and appeared fit for his age, judging by the ease with which he handled the car.
When Phil finally asked Frank why he was seen wandering around the grocery, he said he thought the place was a mess and not as well organized as it used to be.
Phil’s obvious conclusion was that Frank did not have dementia. But viewers were shocked when they later learned that Frank had died, meaning that last night’s episode was Willard’s last appearance.
Fans react on Twitter
Fans took to Twitter to express their sadness about Frank Dunphy’s death and Fred Willard leaving Modern Family after appearing in a total of 14 episodes.
Willard debuted on Modern Family in Season 1, Episode 10 of the show, titled Undeck the Halls, which aired back in 2009, according to IMDb.
So unexpected!! In tears ..so many tears! You and Ty made the perfect TV father and son next to Father Knows Best. God bless! Thank you for sharing your talent on the show.
— MoCheekyMonkey (@mocheekymonkey) January 16, 2020
The Final Father And Son Episode With @Fred_Willard
— Gage Lucas Oldham Official (@gagelucasoldham) January 15, 2020
Some fans were angered about the decision to kill off Willard’s character.
You killed himmmmm
You killed Frank
How dare youuuuuuuuu
— Asajj Ventress (@AngryNeeson52_) January 16, 2020
@ModernFam anyone who kills off Fred Willard is not cool.
— MrRoper (@JMD4733) January 16, 2020
However, some fans at first thought Willard had died in real life. But Willard has not died. It was only his Modern Family character, Frank, who died.
Others expressed concern about Willard’s health and speculated that he might have left due to health issues.
I am a little concerned about Fred Willard. I love that guy. Is he not well? He looks thin..too thin.
— Kenneth Clift (@CliftKenneth) January 16, 2020
Please modern family actors and friends reach out to Fred Willard. He needs all of our love. Please extend your support. #ModernFamily
— Just me (@jess1010) August 9, 2019
Fred Willard bio
Fred Willard was born in September 1939 in Shaker Heights, Ohio, according to his IMDb page.
He is best known for his role in the 1984 mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, directed by Rob Reiner, as well as other mockumentaries by Christopher Guest.
Willard was nominated in 1986 for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host for hosting What’s Hot, What’s Not.
He was also nominated in 2010 for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for playing Frank Dunphy in Modern Family.
Modern Family airs on Wednesdays on ABC at 9/8c.