Frank Bonner, who played a brash salesman having an affection for polyester plaid matches about the TV comedy”WKRP in Cincinnati,” has expired. He was 79.
Bonner died Wednesday from complications of Lewy body dementia,” said his daughter, Desiree Boers-Kort. The actor died at his home in Laguna Niguel, south of Los Angeles.
He had been diagnosed about three years ago with the disorder that leads to worsening mental and physical complications.
“WKRP in Cincinnati” aired from 1978-1982 and was set at a lagging Ohio radio station hoping to reinvent itself with stone. The cast comprised Gary Sandy, Tim Reid, Howard Hesseman and Jan Smithers, alongside Bonner as subpar ad salesman Herb Tarlek.
Loni Anderson, who played the station’s enabled receptionist Jennifer, stated she was”heartbroken” over his passing.
“Frank Bonner was like family,” Anderson said in a statement. “He was one of the funniest guys I had the pleasure of working with and he was the nicest guy I’ve ever known.”
Boers-Kort stated her dad enjoyed his time about the sitcom in part because it directed him toward the profession he preferred over acting — directing. After taking on this job for six episodes of”WKRP,” he proceeded to direct for more than a dozen other 1980s and 1990s shows including”Simon & Simon,””Who’s the Boss” and”Saved by the Bell: The New Class.”
Bonner continued to act, such as in the early 1990s sequel”The New WKRP in Cincinnati,””Scarecrow and Mrs. King” and”Night Court.”
“He’d prefer the behind-the-camera (work), and he thoroughly enjoyed helping people get to where he needed them to function as scenes,” Boers-Kort stated Thursday. “He was really humble and down-to-earth, and only a nice, kind human”
He got a kick out of Herb’s ill-advised wardrobe and kept some of the belts when the show finished, his daughter said. He had been fond of them since he knew the character’s style was”among the things which people loved about him.”
A native of Arkansas whose birth name was Frank Boers Jr., that he was raised in the city of Malvern. His Hollywood career began in the 1970s with the film”Equinox” and on TV dramas, including”The Young Lawyers” and”Mannix.”
Bonner is survived by his wife, Gayle Hardage Bonner, who had been his high school sweetheart in Malvern. The group reunited and finally married four decades later and after preceding marriages for both, his daughter said.
Other survivors include sons Matthew and Justine Bonner; stepdaughter DeAndra Freed; seven grandchildren and a great-grandchild.