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'Best in Show' actor Willard accused of lewd act

FILE - This April 26, 2011 file photo shows actor Fred Willard arriving at the fifth annual BritWeek in Los Angeles. Willard, who starred in such films as ``Best in Show'' and ``Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,'' was arrested in a Hollywood theater July 18, 2012, on suspicion of engaging in a lewd act, police said Wednesday. FILE - This April 26, 2011 file photo shows actor Fred Willard arriving at the fifth annual BritWeek in Los Angeles. Willard, who starred in such films as ``Best in Show'' and ``Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,'' was arrested in a Hollywood theater July 18, 2012, on suspicion of engaging in a lewd act, police said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
July 19, 2012
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LOS ANGELES—Actor Fred Willard, perhaps best-known as a dog-show announcer in the movie "Best in Show," was arrested on suspicion of committing a lewd act at a Hollywood adult theater and later fired from his work on a PBS series.

Uniformed vice officers were conducting a routine investigation of the theater Wednesday night and saw Willard engaging in a lewd act, Los Angeles police Sgt. Mark Ro said. The actor appeared to be alone, he said.

Willard, 72, was booked at the Hollywood police station on suspicion of committing a lewd act in public. Ro said Willard was released after midnight without posting bail.

By Thursday afternoon, Willard had lost his job narrating "Market Warriors," which is produced by Boston public television station WGBH.

"Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately Fred Willard no longer will be involved with the `Market Warriors' series," said WGBH spokeswoman Jeanne Hopkins.

Mark Walberg, the host of "Antiques Roadshow," will re-narrate the four episodes that have already been produced. Hopkins said.

Willard's attorney Paul Takakjian wrote in an email that he was gathering more information and declined further comment. The actor said in a video posted by celebrity website TMZ that it was a misunderstanding and denied wrongdoing.

ABC plans to continue broadcasting its series "Trust Us With Your Life," which is hosted by Willard and has four shows that have not yet aired.

Willard was nominated four times for Emmys for guest roles on TV's "Modern Family" and "Everybody Loves Raymond." In Pixar's 2008 hit "WALL-E," he played Shelby Forthright, the CEO of a ubiquitous big-box chain called Buy'n'Large.

In addition to "Best in Show," Willard has also appeared in other Christopher Guest mockumentary films, including "This is Spinal Tap" and "Waiting for Guffman."

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