‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ Star Frank Bonner Dead at 79
Actor Frank Bonner, who played sales manager Herb Tarlek in the TV sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, has died at the age of 79.
Bonner died Wednesday as a result of complications from Lewy body dementia.
The actor’s WKRP in Cincinnati costar Gary Sandy, who played radio program director Andy Travis, posted a tribute to Bonner on Facebook. “It is true!” Sandy wrote. “Frank [passed] away yesterday, June 16th at 3:49 pacific time. RIP my great friend!!!”
Bonner was born on Feb. 28, 1942, in Little Rock, Ark. He landed his first acting role in the experimental 1967 independent film The Equinox … A Journey Into the Unknown, about a group of four teenagers in the California canyons who discover an ancient book that unleashes a slew of supernatural demons upon the world. The film was reshot, reedited and rereleased in 1970 as the cult classic Equinox, with Bonner once again playing Jim Hudson (and credited as Frank Boers Jr.).
Bonner appeared in several movies and TV episodes throughout the ‘70s. In 1978, he began starring in WKRP in Cincinnati, which followed the misadventures of a fledgling fictional Ohio radio station. His character, Herb Tarlek, was known for his loud plaid suits and matching white belt and shoes.
WKRP in Cincinnati aired for four seasons before ending in 1982 and enjoyed a hugely successful syndication run over the next decade. Bonner reprised his role as Herb Tarlek in the spinoff series The New WKRP in Cincinnati from 1991 to 1993.
Bonner also worked extensively behind the camera, directing several episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati along with episodes of The Van Dyke Show, Who’s the Boss? and Saved by the Bell: The New Class.