Frank Bonner, best known for donning nightmarish iterations of plaid as WKRP in Cincinnati salesman Herb Tarlek, died on Wednesday as a result of complications from Lewy body dementia, TMZ reported. He was 79.
“I’m deeply saddened to let you know that our beloved Frank Bonner passed away today at age 79,” his daughter Desiree Boers-Kort shared with a WKRP Facebook group. “He loved his fans and was still signing autograph requests up until the last few weeks of his illness. Thank you to all who followed his career. He will be forever missed.”
Prior to his time in Cincinnati, Bonner guested on numerous TV series including The Young Lawyers, The F.B.I., Emergency!, Love, American Style and Cannon. Come 1978, he would make his debut as hapless Herb, a role he would play throughout the sitcom’s four-season run.
Bonner reprised the role in the 1991 spinoff The New WKRP in Cincinnati and in a 2004 music video for Canadian indie rock band Rheostatics (for the song “The Tarleks,” watch it here).
Bonner’s subsequent TV credits included episodes of The Love Boat, Newhart, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Sidekicks, Just the Ten of Us and Saved by the Bell: The New Class.
Watch Herb school J-school grad Bailey Quarters on the ssssecrets to his ssssuccess: