Frank Bonner, ‘WKRP in Cincinnati' star, dead at 79

The actor played Herb Tarlek in the hit sitcom.

Frank Bonner, who played Herb Tarlek on the sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati" has died, according to TMZ. He was 79.

Bonner passed away "peacefully" Wednesday amid his battle with Lewy body dementia, his family told TMZ.

As Herb on "WKRP" in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Bonner was the quintessential salesman in a gaudy plaid suit and white loafers, despite struggling as a radio station sales manager who consistently failed to reel in the big accounts.

Frank Bonner as advertising salesman Herb Tarlek.

Frank Bonner as advertising salesman Herb Tarlek. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

The actor turned to directing in a few episodes of "WKRP," and later reprised the role in the early ’90s spinoff, "The New WKRP in Cincinnati." He wore both hats again in "Saved by the Bell: The New Class," playing recurring character Mr. Harrington. 

Bonner went on to direct in several of the decade’s biggest sitcoms, including "Who’s the Boss?," "Head of the Class" and "Newhart," starring comedy legend Bob Newhart.

Bonner’s thrill seeking saw him in crutches on an episode of "WKRP" after he was injured in a freak parasailing accident, falling 20 feet and suffering many internal and back injuries.