WKRP Star Howard Hesseman Dead at 81

Actor Howard Hessman, best known for his role as disc jockey Johnny Fever on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati has died at the age of 81. Hessman died on Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications following a colon surgery he first had last summer. His death was confirmed by his wife, Caroline Ducrocq, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In addition to his role on WKRP in Cincinnati—a role which earned him two Emmy nominations and had real-life DJ experience when he took the role of Johnny Fever—Hessman also appeared in Head of the Class, One Day at a Time as well as guest appearances on That 70s Show and other series. He also hosted Saturday Night Live three times during his career. Hessman also appeared in numerous films, including Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment, Heat, About Schmidt, The Rocker, and Halloween II.

"He was a groundbreaking talent and lifelong friend and longtime client, whose kindness and generosity was equaled by his influence and admiration to generations of actors and improvisational comedy throughout the world," Hessman's manager Robbie Kass told CNN.

Hessman is survived by his wife and their godchildren, Grace, Hamish, and Chet.

Photo: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images