Frank Bonner, 'WKRP in Cincinnati' Actor and TV Director, Dead at 79

Frank Bonner
CBS via Getty Images

Veteran sitcom star and TV director Frank Bonner has died. He was 79.

Bonner died  at his home in Laguna Niguel, California, on Wednesday from complications due to Lewy body dementia, according to multiplereports.

Bonner is best known for playing the colorful sales manager Herb Tarlek on the beloved sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati from 1978 to 1982 -- a character he reprised for the revival series The New WKRP in Cincinnati, which ran for two seasons, from 1991 to 1993.

Loni Anderson, who co-starred with Bonner playing Jennifer Marlowe on WKRP in Cincinnati -- paid tribute to the actor in a statement to ET on Thursday.

"Frank Bonner was like family. He was one of the funniest men I had the pleasure to work with and the nicest man I have ever known," Anderson shared. "I am heartbroken."

Bonner also notably portrayed Father Hargis, headmaster of St. Augustine’s Academy, in the Growing Pains spin-off series Just the Ten of Us.

Bonner made his big screen acting debut in the cult classic Equinox in 1970. Additional acting credits include Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Evening Shade, Harry and the Hendersons, Sidekicks, and The Love Boat, among many others.

The performer was also an accomplished TV director, helming all 105 episodes of the late-'90s NBC sitcom City Guys, and served as a director on USA High, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Head of the Class, Family Ties and many others.

He is survived by his wife, Gayle, his four children -- Desiree, DeAndra, Justin and Matthew -- as well as seven grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

Related Gallery


Lisa Banes, 'Gone Girl' Actress, Dead at 65

John Gabriel, 'Ryan's Hope' Star, Dead at 90

Ned Beatty, 'Network' and 'Deliverance' Star, Dead at 83

Ernie Lively, Actor and Blake Lively's Father, Dead at 74

Clarence Williams III, ‘The Mod Squad’ Actor, Dead at 81