Frank Bonner, Herb at ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’, dies at the age of 79 | Life and entertainment

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Frank Bonner, who played a cheeky salesman in the TV comedy “WKRP in Cincinnati” with a penchant for plaid polyester suits, has died. He was 79.

Bonner died on Wednesday of the effects of Lewy body dementia, said his daughter Desiree Boers-Kort. The actor died at his home in Laguna Niguel, south of Los Angeles.

He was diagnosed with the disease about three years ago, which has exacerbated mental and physical complications.

“WKRP in Cincinnati” broadcast from 1978 to 1982 and played on a retarded Ohio radio station that was trying to reinvent itself with rock. The cast included Gary Sandy, Tim Reid, Howard Hesseman and Jan Smithers, alongside Bonner as the below-average advertising salesman Herb Tarlek.

Loni Anderson, who played the station’s authorized receptionist, said she was “unhappy” with his death.

“Frank Bonner was like family,” Anderson said in a statement. “He was one of the funniest men I have had the pleasure to work with and he was the nicest man I have ever met.”

Boers-Kort said her father cherished his time on the sitcom partly because it led him to the career he preferred to acting – directing. After taking the job for six episodes of “WKRP,” he directed more than a dozen other shows in the 1980s and 1990s, including “Simon & Simon,” “Who’s the Boss,” and “Saved by the Bell: The New Class “. . “

Bonner continued to act, including in the sequels “The New WKRP in Cincinnati”, “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” and “Night Court” in the early 1990s.

“He preferred to work behind the camera and he really enjoyed helping people get to where he needed them for the scenes,” said Boers-Kort on Thursday. “He was very humble and down to earth and just a nice, friendly person.”

He got a kick out of Herbert’s ill-considered wardrobe and kept some of the belts when the show ended, his daughter said. He liked her because he knew the character’s style was “one of the things people loved about him”.

Born in Arkansas, birth name Frank Boers Jr. grew up in the city of Malvern. His Hollywood career began in the 1970s with the film “Equinox” and in TV dramas, including “The Young Lawyers” and “Mannix”.

Bonner leaves behind his wife, Gayle Hardage Bonner, who was his high school mistress in Malvern. The couple got back together and eventually married four decades later and after previous marriages for both, his daughter said.

Other survivors are the sons Matthew and Justine Bonner; Stepdaughter DeAndra freed; seven grandchildren and one great-grandson. Bonner preceded his son Michael in death.

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