Frank Bonner, Brash Salesman on ‘WKRP in Cincinnati,’ Dies at 79

Frank Bonner, the actor finest identified for enjoying Herb Tarlek, the brash salesman with an affection for plaid polyester fits, on the favored tv comedy “WKRP in Cincinnati,” died on Wednesday at his residence in Laguna Niguel, Calif., south of Los Angeles. He was 79.

His daughter, Desiree Boers-Kort, stated the trigger was issues of Lewy physique dementia. He had discovered he had the illness, which results in worsening psychological and bodily issues, about three years in the past.

“WKRP in Cincinnati,” seen on CBS from 1978 to 1982, was set at a struggling radio station attempting to reinvent itself with a rock format. The solid included Gary Sandy because the embattled station supervisor and Tim Reid and Howard Hesseman as disc jockeys. Mr. Bonner’s character, the station’s gross sales supervisor, was identified for his obnoxious conduct, his normal incompetence and his garish wardrobe.

Loni Anderson, who performed Jennifer Marlowe, the station’s super-efficient receptionist — and the frequent object of Herb’s heavy-handed flirting — stated in an announcement that Mr. Bonner was “one of the funniest men I had the pleasure of working with” and “the nicest man I have ever known.”

Ms. Boers-Kort stated that Mr. Bonner valued his time appearing on “WKRP in Cincinnati” in half as a result of it led him towards the profession he most popular: directing. After serving because the director of six episodes of “WKRP,” he went on to direct episodes of greater than a dozen different reveals in the 1980s and ’90s, together with “Who’s the Boss?,” “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” and “Just the Ten of Us” (on which he additionally had a recurring function).

Mr. Bonner reprised the function of Herb on the syndicated sequel “The New WKRP in Cincinnati” in the early 1990s. He was additionally seen on “Scarecrow and Mrs. King,” “Night Court” and plenty of different reveals.

Frank Bonner was born Frank Boers Jr. on Feb. 28, 1942, in Little Rock, Ark., to Frank and Grace (Delahoussay) Boers, and raised in the town of Malvern. His Hollywood profession started in 1967 and picked up steam in 1970 with roles in the movie “Equinox” and on the TV collection “The Young Lawyers” and “Nancy.” He appeared on “Mannix,” “Police Woman,” “Fantasy Island” and different reveals earlier than touchdown the career-defining function of Herb Tarlek.

In addition to Ms. Boers-Kort, his daughter, Mr. Bonner is survived by his spouse, Gayle Hardage Bonner. She had been his highschool sweetheart in Malvern, his daughter stated, they usually reunited and finally wed 4 many years later. His 4 earlier marriages ended in divorce.

His survivors additionally embody two sons, Matthew and Justin; a stepdaughter, DeAndra Freed; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. Another son, Michael, died earlier than Mr. Bonner.

Mr. Bonner obtained a kick out of Herb’s ill-advised wardrobe, his daughter stated, as a result of he knew that the character’s model was “one of the things that people loved about him.” She stated he stored a few of Herb’s distinctive white belts when the present ended.

The New York Times contributed reporting.

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