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December 22, 2014

Fred Willard to Play Ty Burrell's Father on 'Modern Family'

by Michael D. Ayers, posted Nov 18th 2009 3:28PM
Fred WillardFred Willard, better known for his work in films like 'Best in Show,' is joining the Dunphy family on ABC's breakout comedy 'Modern Family.'

In an interview with Fancast, Ty Burrell reveals that Willard will play the Phil Dunphy's father.

"Fred is not just a pioneer for this type of comedy but somebody who has really set the tone for how it can be done, so it was just a total honor," Burrell says to Fancast. "He really established, even going back to 'Spinal Tap,' some of the funniest stuff out of the medium."Fred WillardFred Willard, better known for his work in films like 'Best in Show,' is joining the Dunphy family on ABC's breakout comedy 'Modern Family.'

In an interview with Fancast, Ty Burrell revealed that Willard will play Phil Dunphy's father.

"Fred is not just a pioneer for this type of comedy but somebody who has really set the tone for how it can be done, so it was just a total honor," Burrell said. "He really established, even going back to 'Spinal Tap,' some of the funniest stuff out of the medium."

Willard will appear on a holiday-themed episode airing Dec. 9. As of now, Fancast says his screen time is relegated to conversing with his family via a computer chat. Still, even with this seemingly small role, it opens the door for more episodes to come -- assuming, of course, that he doesn't cause as much trouble as Shelley Long's character did.

Without even knowing how Willard's character will be shaped, it's easy to see where Phil gets his personality from, based on Willard's past performances as a master of the aloof. He's perfectly cast, and we're so excited about his role that we got to thinking about situations that we'd love to see the two Dunphy men take on:

-- A day at the waterpark: When the Dunphy men take the family out for some local surf, trouble arises with an unfortunate entry into the "lazy river."
--The senior Dunphy gives Phil Valentine's Day advice, inadvertantly causing Claire a trip to the hospital. A new allergy is later discovered.
--The Dunphy men join forces to teach a "how-to" real estate seminar. Things seem to be going well, until the class starts asking questions. For tips on control, they turn to Phil's father in-law, Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill).
-- The roller derby team: The area is buzzing about the addition of a roller derby arena, to which the Dunphy men step up and coach the high school girl's squad. Rightly so, Haley Dunphy (Sarah Hyland) is mortified.
-- When faced with the task of buying a new toilet, the Dunphy men get themselves banned from the Home Depot. Local news describes the incident as a "growing trend in father-son gang violence."

'Modern Family' airs tonight at 9PM on ABC, with guest appearances from actors Edward Norton and Elizabeth Banks. If you've missed the season so far, catch up on SlashControl here.

How would you like to see Willard wreak havoc on the clan?

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