Fans are mourning the loss of a Hollywood actor who is remembered for playing an arrogant radio commercial salesman.
People who loved watching “WKRP in Cincinnati” bid farewell to Frank Bonner who died from complications of Lewy body dementia on June 16.
Bonner passed away “peacefully” with loved ones nearby, according to a family representative.
“I am deeply saddened to let you know that our beloved Frank Bonner passed away today at age 79,” daughter Desiree Boers-Kort said on Facebook.
The celebrity is fondly remembered for playing Herb Tarlek, a rude salesman who often wore colorful polyester-plaid suits.
Tarley suffered a humiliating pattern of failing to close multiple deals with major ad agencies. These failures drew the ire of his fictional coworkers who mocked him as the “plaid guy.” He also responded to management decisions he disagreed with by saying, “Hokay, okay.”
CBS first aired the televised situation-comedy series for four seasons and 90 episodes, between 1978 and 1982.
Boers-Kort revealed her father adored his fans so much that he kept signing mementos almost until his life ended.
“He loved his fans and was still signing autograph requests up until the last few weeks of his illness,” she said.
Bonner’s daughter thanked everyone who took an keen interest in her father’s acting.
“Thank you to all who followed his career, he will be forever missed,” she said.
Bonner was born into a musical family on Feb. 28, 1942, in Little Rock, Ark. His parents were singer Mamie Grace and saxophonist Frank Woodrow Boers.
Bonner began professionally acting as Frank Boers, Jr. in the 1967 independent and experimental film “The Equinox … A Journey into the Supernatural.”
Mainstream media began widely publicizing his personal life after he suffered a major parachute accident and was hospitalized in 1979.
At the time, Bonner fell 20 feet and suffered serious injuries to his internal organs and back. The accident did not discourage him from acting, and he quickly reappeared on television despite having to use crutches. These appearances were in WKRP’s season two episode, “A Family Affair” as well as an all-star special episode of the “Family Feud” game show.
In the 1980s, Bonner appeared as a guest star in an episode of the sitcom “Night Court,” and starred as Father Hargis, the fictional headmaster of St. Augustine’s Academy, on the TV drama “Just the Ten of Us” between 1988 and 1990.
Bonner revived his role as Herb Tarlek in the 1991 spinoff “The New WKRP in Cincinnati.” He later appeared in a 2004 music video for Canadian band Rheostatics’s “The Tarleks” indie rock song. He also appeared in one of the first episodes of the TV sitcom series “Newhart.”
Bonner separately directed several episodes of “WKRP in Cincinnati” and other TV sitcoms, including “Who’s the Boss?,” “Head of the Class,” “Evening Shade,” “City Guys,” and “Saved by the Bell: The New Class.”