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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media – comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Local media is still his beat and he’s bringing his interest, curiosity, contacts and unique style to Cincinnati Public Radio and 91.7 WVXU. Contact John at johnkiese@yahoo.com.

RIP Frank Bonner, WKRP's Herb Tarlek

Courtesy Media Heritage
Actor-director Frank Bonner, 79, died June 16.

Rest in peace Herb Tarlek.

Actor Frank Bonner, who played salesman Herb Tarlek on WKRP In Cincinnati and The New WKRP In Cincinnati, died Wednesday, June 16 as a result of complications from Lewy body dementia, his family told TMZ.

Bonner was 79.

He was best known as the WKRP salesman who wore loud sports coats and white belts and often conspired with newsman Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) and station manager Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump) to blunt the influence of the program director (Gary Sandy) and DJs.

Herb was never able to land a major Cincinnati business to advertise on the struggling rock 'n' roll station, but he could fill the airwaves with commercials for the Ferryman Funeral Home, Shady Hill Rest Home and Barry's Fashions for the Short and Portly.

Credit Courtesy MeTV
"WKRP" starred (front row) Loni Anderson, Howard Hesseman Jan Smithers, (second row) Frank Bonner, Gary Sandy, (back row) Richard Sanders, Gordon Jump and Tim Reid.

Sandy, who has a home in Northern Kentucky, posted on Facebook Thursday: "RIP My Great Friend!!!"

While Bonner was best known for WKRP (1978-82), he enjoyed a long career behind the TV cameras. His directing credits included Who's The Boss?; Family Ties; Saved By The Bell: The New Class; Evening Shade; Tim Reid's Frank's Place and The Famous Teddy Z from WKRP creator Hugh Wilson; Head Of The Class starring WKRP alum Howard Hesseman; Evening Shade; Harry and the Hendersons and The New WKRP.

Bonner also kept his hand in acting by appearing in Newhart; Night Court, Gimme A Break!, The Facts Of Life Goes To Paris; Simon & Simon; Matt Houston; Punky Brewster; Murder She Wrote; Evening Shade; Harry and The Hendersons; Just The Ten Of Us and City Guys. His last acting credit was Under The Hollywood Sign in 2014.

He was born Frank Woodrow Boers Jr. on Feb. 28, 1942, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Watch WKRP reruns closely and you'll see an Arkansas Razorbacks coffee mug on his desk.

Bonner is the second WKRP cast member to die. Jump, a Dayton native, passed away in 2003 at age 71. Creator Hugh Wilson died in 2018 at 74.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.