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rest in peace

WKRP in Cincinnati's Howard Hesseman dies at 81

Howard Hesseman, best known for his roles on WKRP in Cincinnati and Head of the Class, died Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 81.

Hesseman's representative, Robbie Kass, told Variety on Sunday the actor died of complications from colon surgery he had last summer. "Howard was a groundbreaking talent and lifelong friend whose kindness and generosity was equaled by his influence and admiration to generations of actors and improvisational comedy throughout the world," Kass said.

In the 1960s and '70s, Hesseman was part of the San Francisco improv troupe The Committee, and was a radio DJ under the name "Don Sturdy." He started his acting career with smaller parts on The Andy Griffith Show and Sanford and Son, but got his big break on WKRP in Cincinnati. His performance as DJ Dr. Johnny Fever earned Hesseman two Emmy nominations. After the show ended in 1982, Hesseman went on to star as Charlie Moore on Head of the Class, and later had recurring roles on That 70s Show and Boston Legal. He is survived by his wife, Caroline Ducrocq.