Fred Willard Is the Only Actor to Appear Live-Action in a Pixar Movie

Fred Willard is the only live-action actor to appear in a Pixar movie. More people are realizing that fact today after news broke that the actor had passed away. Disney fans will remember him popping up in WALL-E as Buy-N-Large CEO Shelby Forthright. The executive wanted to make life easier for humanity but at a devastating cost. Forthright was the man with the plan to evacuate Earth in 2105 as trash began to pile up on the planet. While people were out in space on starships, garbage collecting robots and mobile incinerators would get the Earth back to a livable state. So, when that plan failed, he informed all AUTO units that Operation Cleanup was no more.

He described the process with Entertainment Weekly, “I was at home and Andrew Stanton called and he said that ‘we’re doing a little film up here at Pixar and we thought we’d like to have you appear in the film.’ I’ve always loved Pixar films, they do such wonderful animation. Each one is more astounding than the other. The interesting thing is that there was no script at the time. They hadn’t started actually producing it. I knew my part, I knew what I was doing, like my character. I had given a pre-taped interview for the whole world to watch.”

“The idea is that the whole planet had fallen apart and we were all going to be evacuated into outer space,” he continued. “After a couple years of cleanup, people would gently come back down to a greener, refurbished Earth. That’s all I knew and if I knew any more, I couldn’t tell anybody about it at the time. I have no idea why they wanted that to be a live-action part. Unless they thought I was the perfect person who’s so self-unaware but could act like someone who is in charge.”

“I’d played the president in several other shows. In the Lois and Clark television show, and in a movie for Disney called The Pooch and the Pauper. Both times are kind of self-unaware Presidents. I guess I look like the perfect foolish person to be in charge of the entire Earth,” Willard continued.

Willard died of natural causes as revealed by his rep, Glenn Schwartz. Willard was 86 and still working as he will appear in Space Force posthumously. People all over the world enjoyed his work in Best in Show, This Is Spinal Tap, and For Your Consideration. The outpouring of love for Willard all over social media has been inspiring to see. Everyone from the fans to high-profile celebrities are mourning his passing. Christopher Guest directed the star in a bunch of films, and his wife Jamie Lee Curtis put out a message about the actor’s passing.

She tweeted, “How lucky that we all got to enjoy Fred Willard’s gifts. He is with his missed Mary now. Thanks for the deep belly laughs Mr. Willard.”


Willard’s representation also wrote a tribute of their own. “A four-time Emmy nominee radiated a unique charm that established him as one of our generation’s most gifted comic actors. A master of sketch comedy, Fred was most heralded for his quick wit and improvisational expertise, which he demonstrated in hundreds of appearances on stage, on the big screen, and on a wide range of television shows.”

Did you remember him in WALL-E? Let us know in the comments!

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