One of the most iconic figures in late-1970s TV has passed away.
Dr. Johnny Fever, or Howard Hesseman as he was born, has died.
Hesseman was 81 years old.
“WKRP in Cincinnati” may not have had that long of a run (the show originally aired from 1978-1982), but it was a show that many of us grew up watching and loved.
Dr. Johnny Fever was what made the show and brought viewers back every week.
It was also the role that made Hesseman a household name.
He had started his career a decade before that show aired, getting his first real break on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”
He had a mix of TV and movie roles over the next few years, finding recurring roles on “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Soap.”
Then came “WKRP in Cincinnati,” which put him on the map for the lead in a few feature films as well as another series lead in “Head of the Class.”
He was an instant hit on WKRP, declaring the station’s transition from elevator music to rock, with the proclamation, “All right Cincinnati, it’s time for this town to get down! You got Johnny, Dr. Johnny Fever, and I am burning up in here.
“We’re all in critical condition, babies, but you can tell me where it hurts because I got the healing prescription here from the big KRP musical medicine cabinet.
“Now, I am talking about your 50,000-watt intensive care unit, babies!”
There was a reboot of WKRP in 1991, but it did not last very long.
Hesseman continued to rack up TV and movie guest spots, however, compiling an amazing 154 acting credits over his career, with his last role being Big Oil in 2018’s “Dirty Politics.”
Hesseman died on Sunday due to complications related to colon surgery.
Rest in peace, Dr. Johnny Fever… we will miss you.