Frank Bonner, 'Herb Tarlek' on WKRP has died at 79

The article says he died of complications of Lewy body dementia.

That’s a shame.

I always thought Herb’s best moment was when he managed to sell the jingle originally written for a funeral home (which Mr. Carlson decided was in poor taste) to a tow-truck company. (He altered the lyrics slightly.)

:frowning_face: I had to look that up. Never heard of it. See ya Herb.

WKRP is still one of my all-time favorite TV shows, and Bonner was perfect at playing the smarmy sales guy. Godspeed, Frank.

Sorry to hear this. That’s a terrible way to go. He played the role of Herb perfectly. It was more than the writing. He had all the right mannerisms. I met a few radio sales people over the years who fit the model. Fortunately, not many. Everything about WKRP was over the top but there was a grain of truth in all of it, believe me.

Same thing Robin Williams had.

OK, fine.

(Not really.)

The show was based on the experiences of Hugh Wilson, who was an ad salesman at WQXI in Atlanta. Some of the stories in the first season (such as the famous Flying Turkeys episode) were inspired by real events at the station.*

*Which is still around, by the by; but it’s a sports-talk station now.

I had no idea that Robin Williams had that – I thought he had straight up depression.

The Herb Tarlek character was played perfectly.

I loved WKRP. RIP, Frank.

Herb Tarlek was a hard worker, a loyal husband, and an all around fine person.

Frank Bonner was very memorable on WKRP. Herb is one of my favorite characters in that cast.


And a seriously sharp dresser. :smiley:

Edie McClurg, who played his onscreen wife, also has dementia. She’s 75. You probably remember her from Ferris Bueller, but did you know she was also in Carrie?

Volkswagen seat covers everywhere breathe a sigh of relief.

RIP, Little Guy.

Yeah. She was interviewed a few years back talking about the locker room scene that panned among the girls getting dressed. She was a little older and more experienced than some of the other actors in that scene, and she recognized that it was a slow motion camera. So, when the camera panned by her, she shook her head knowing in slow motion her hair would swish around in a cool way. And get her a little more attention. Sad to hear she has dementia.

There was an episode of Supernatural that had Dean wearing a hideously tacky suit. I took one look at the episode’s advance photos and remarked “Good lord; Dean just mugged Herb Tarlek and stole and is wearing his suit”.

Herb is trying to impress a client, in order to get the client to sign with WKRP. To do so, he intends to offer the client a drink or two. So he’s pouring some rotgut into an empty bottle, whose label indicates that it once held good stuff.

Les: “What are you doing, Herb?”

Herb: “Aging Scotch.”

One of my favorite characters, and I’m sad to hear about Frank Bonner’s passing. Rest well, Mr. Bonner.

I was a bit too young to remember the original roll-out but my parents watched it; I watched re-runs on WGN a few years after the show went off the air. I used to love the characters on that show, with Venus and Johnny Fever being my faves.

I remember Venus once saying, as Herb walked by, that “there’s a Volkswagen somewhere that’s missing its seat covers.”

Rest in Peace Frank.