Ryan Seacrest, watch your back. Why? Because while you’ve had a good run as the hardest-working guy in show business, Fred Willard — whose recently appeared in everything from MODERN FAMILY (as Phil’s dad) to THE WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE (as Mr. Stuffleby) — would like nothing better than to steal that title out from under you.

“When I’m not working I say, ‘What’s wrong? What aren’t I getting these jobs!'”, admits Willard. “And then when I get a job, I say, ‘Oh boy, I can’t wait until this is over so I can just sit at home and read the paper!'” jokes the affable star. And yet, as a character actor, he’s had the opportunity to work steadily without becoming that thing no actor wants to be: overexposed. You don’t, as he explains, want people saying, “Are we tired of this guy yet?”

Fortunately for him, that doesn’t seem likely to happen any time soon, especially given his status as one of televisions most dependable go-to guys when it comes to guaranteed laugh-getters. But how did he achieve that rare status? Frankly, by not being overly picky!

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First Look: MODERN FAMILY Man Fred Willard

modern family christmas

In what we nominate as one of the savviest casting moves of 2009 comes December 9th’s MODERN FAMILY — which will unwrap an early holiday gift for fan the form of special guest star Fred Willard — who (as first reported by Fancast’s Matt Webb Mitovich) will play Phil Dunphy’s (Ty Burrell) father. More first look photos of which can be found after the jump.

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