Frank Bonner, best known for donning nightmarish iterations of plaid as WKRP in Cincinnati salesman Herb Tarlek, died Wednesday of complications from Lewy body dementia, TMZ reported. He was 79 years old.
“I am deeply saddened to let you know that our beloved Frank Bonner passed away today at the age of 79,” his daughter Desiree Boers-Kort shared with a WKRP Facebook group. “He loved his fans and still signed autograph requests until the last weeks of his illness. Thank you to everyone who has followed his career. He will be missed forever. “
Prior to his time in Cincinnati, Bonner appeared in numerous television series including The Young Lawyers, The FBI, Emergency !, Love, American Style, and Cannon. In 1978, he would make his debut as the hapless Herb, a role he would play throughout the sitcom’s four seasons.
Bonner reprized the role in the 1991 spin-off 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 J-school Herb graduate Bailey Quarters on the secrets to his success: