HomeAmerican EntertainmentTVClassic TV‘WKRP in Cincinnati’: Here’s Which Actors From the Classic Series Are Still Alive Today

‘WKRP in Cincinnati’: Here’s Which Actors From the Classic Series Are Still Alive Today

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

More than 40 years after “WKRP in Cincinnati” came to an end, we at Outsider are checking to see which actors are still alive from the classic TV series cast. 

According to IMDb, “WKRP in Cincinnati” is about the misadventures of the staff of a struggling Top 40 rock station that is based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. The show premiered in September 1978 and ran until April 1982. It has a total of 90 episodes. Those who starred in the series were Gary Sandy, Gordon Jump, Loni Anderson, Howard Hesseman, Richard Sanders, and Frank Bonner. 

Looper reports “WKRP in Cincinnati” stars Frank Bonner, who took on the role of sales manager Herb Tarlek, who passed away in June 2021. Howard Hesseman, who played disc jockey Dr. Johnny Fever, died in January 2022. Meanwhile, other castmates have continued to remain active on the big and small screens. Or they have retired from showbiz altogether.

Upon leaving “WKRP in Cincinnati,” Gary Sandy, who played Andy Travis, went on to take on roles in various TV series. This includes “L.A. Law”; “Murder, She Wrote”;  and “Diagnosis Murder.” He also appeared on “The Young and the Restless” for a brief time. 

Richard Sanders, who appeared as Les Nessman, continued on with his acting career after the show ended. He appeared in other TV shows like “Growing Pains”; “Who’s the Boss?;” and “Designing Women.” Sanders retired from acting in 2006. 

Loni Anderson, who starred in the series as Jennifer Marlowe, continued to have acting success by appearing in the series “Nurses;” “Easy Street;” and “Partners in Crime.” She was also nominated for two Primetime Emmys. She later reprised her role in  “The New WKRP in Cincinnati” from 1991 to 1993. 

Loni Anderson Opens Up About Her Role on ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ 

During a 2021 interview with Palm Springs Life, Loni Anderson shared more details about her receptionist role on “WKRP in Cincinnati.”

“My ex-husband, who was up for the part of Andy Travis, said, ‘They’re going to call you in for this receptionist [role],’” Anderson recalled. “I looked at the script and said, ‘Yeah, but I don’t want to be a window dressing.’”

When the “WKRP in Cincinnati” crew spoke to her, Anderson said she kept trying to turn down the role. “I was on my little soapbox telling them, ‘I don’t want to play anything like that. I’m on the edge of becoming a blond but I’ve been a brunette all my life and I’m taken seriously as an actress. This is not the way I want to end up—as some airhead blonde.’”

Although she was expecting the “WKRP in Cincinnati” creators to pass her up after that discussion, Anderson said they asked her how she would do the role. “I told them, ‘Well I think it’s about time glamorous women were smart.’ In 1978, that was not a big thing. They asked me to read in that [smart] way, but it wasn’t written that way. I thought I was going to blow it.”

After reading what she wrote to the creators, Anderson was met with silence. “I went to the parking lot and cried, thinking, ‘They’ll never have me back at MTM!’ When I got home, my husband told me my agent called. I got the job.”