WKRP In Cincinnati’s Stars: Where Are They Now?

ADVERTISEMENT

Let’s take a look at Gary Sandy, Gordon Jump, Loni Anderson and the rest of the crew and see what they’ve been up to in the years since WKRP signed off for good in 1982. We’ll also check in with some of the lesser-known cast members that contributed to the show’s success during its run. Along the way, you’ll probably learn some secrets about the cast that you didn’t know before!

Gary Sandy As Andy Travis

As Andy Travis, Gary Sandy played the radio show director on the show WKRP In Cincinnati. Andy was frequently having to settle disputes and act as the voice of reason among his rather crazy staff. Before WKRP In Cincinnati, Gary was seen on TV shows including Starsky and Hutch. Outside of the show, he had a short relationship with co-star Loni Anderson.

Gary Sandy Now

While Gary Sandy has continued to act in the decades since WKRP In Cincinnati ended in 1982, he has not quite replicated the success that he found on the show. He did a number of TV shows during the later 1980s and into the 90s, but by now he has largely moved on to acting in off-Broadway productions, having seemingly chosen the stage over the small screen.

Edie McClurg As Lucille Tarlek

Edie McClurg was featured on WKRP In Cincinnati regularly as Lucille Tarlek, Herb’s wife. She was known for having a rather nasal vocal tone and also being perhaps the only person who saw any good in Herb. Before she took the role, she was seen in the horror classic Carrie. She would end up also being a fairly regular guest on Late Night With David Letterman.

Edie McClurg Now

Edie McClurg had good success in her acting career in the 1980s. Along with WKRP In Cincinnati, she racked up credits in Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In more recent years, she has started to focus her efforts more on voice acting. She has been cast in such hit films as Cars, Cars 2, The Little Mermaid, and A Bug’s Life.

Tim Reid As Venus Flytrap

No radio station would be complete without DJs, and as radio personality Venus Flytrap, Tim Reid filled that role perfectly. Although he was a public personality, his true self was kind of a mystery. It wasn’t until later in the show that we found out that the smooth-talking disc jockey was a Vietnam veteran named Gordon Simms who was wanted for desertion.

Tim Reid Now

Tim Reid was just getting started with his high profile role on WKRP In Cincinnati, but he kept the momentum going after his time on the show was over. He would go on to appear on shows such as Simon & Simon and Frank’s Place. He also played Ray Parker on the sitcom Sister, Sister during much of the 1990s.

Howard Hesseman As Dr. Johnny Fever

Howard Hesseman played Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP In Cincinnati after a successful acting career that included a prominent role on The Andy Griffith Show. However, it was his time as a San Francisco radio DJ that helped him earn the role of Dr. Johnny Fever, who was a cynical character that everyone who watched the show enjoyed. He also appeared on The New WKRP In Cincinnati.

Howard Hesseman Now

When Hesseman’s time on WKRP In Cincinnati was over, he took the role of Charlie Moore on the popular show Head of the Class. In the many years since Hesseman’s career has been marked more by guest appearances and minor roles than anything else. He recently acted on the film Wild Oats and has also continued to promote WKRP In Cincinnati reruns.

Allyn Ann McLerie As Carmen Carlson

Allyn McLerie had been seen in a number of films before she ever appeared on WKRP In Cincinnati. She had been seen in 1947’s Words and Music and Western films such as The Magnificent Seven Ride. When she earned the part of Carmen Carlson on WKRP In Cincinnati, she finally had gotten the recurring role that many actresses covet.

Allyn Ann McLerie Now

By the time WKRP In Cincinnati went off the air for the last time, Allyn had already prepared to move on by taking the role of Florence Bickford in The Day and Nights of Molly Dood. She also was seen on the shows Punky Brewster and Brooklyn Bridge, but she has not taken a role in a film or TV show since 1993.

Gordon Jump As Arthur Carlson

Back before WKRP In Cincinnati, Gordon Jump was known as the host of Gordon Jump’s Fun Time on WLWD. The radio show definitely helped him fit the role of Arthur Carlson years later. Jump went to Los Angeles to begin acting and landed guest roles on The Incredible Hulk and The Bionic Woman. On WKRP In Cincinnati, he played the station’s general manager.

Gordon Jump Now

After WKRP In Cincinnati, Gordon Jump had a slight dip in acting appearances before he reprised his role in the 1990s on The New WKRP In Cincinnati. Then, he made a few appearances on Seinfeld, where he played George’s boss. His last acting appearance was in Changing of the Guard, and he, unfortunately, died in 2003 right before the film was released.

Carol Bruce As Lillian Carlson

Carol Bruce was cast as Lillian Carlson, the owner of the radio station and often loathsome mother of Arthur Carlson. During the show, Lillian was known for thinking that her son was a weak man and that she had failed him somehow while raising him. Before Carol took that role, she was known for her singing as much as her acting, even appearing in many Broadway productions.

Carol Bruce Now

Carol Bruce had a lengthy acting resume before she appeared in her role on WKRP In Cincinnati, and she continued to act after that point. In fact, she didn’t act for the last time until 2000, when she appeared on That’s Life at 80 years old! Sadly, she would end up passing away just seven years later at the age of 87, but she certainly made an impression during her lifetime.

Richard Sanders As Les Nessman

Many characters had a hand in making WKRP In Cincinnati the fun show that it was, including Les Nessman, who was a news reporter who took himself seriously even though he wasn’t so great at his job. Richard Sanders portrayed the role, but his contributions didn’t end there. He also wrote a number of episodes, so his influence on the show was pretty large.

Richard Sanders Now

Once WKRP In Cincinnati ended, Richard Sanders kind of stepped away from the limelight, although he did appear in movies that included Valley Girl and Men of Honor. He has also gone back to writing screenplays and episodes of TV series, including three episodes of The New WKRP In Cincinnati in 1992 and 1993.

 

Loni Anderson As Jennifer Marlowe

It’s hard to believe now, but Loni Anderson was a no-name actress when she appeared as Jennifer Marlowe on WKRP In Cincinnati for the first time. The show was really what made her a star and many credit her presence for the show’s success during its four-year run. Loni would continue to be a sex symbol in the 1980s and married actor Burt Reynolds, as well.

Loni Anderson Now

Although Loni Anderson’s acting career was very successful, her personal life was in turmoil when her marriage with Burt Reynolds dissolved, resulting in a long, messy divorce. Although she has had some acting roles here and there since the 1990s, for the most part, she lives her life out of the limelight. She devotes a lot of time to her family, including caring for her daughter, who has severe scoliosis.

Frank Bonner As Herb Tarlek

Frank Bonner was known as Herb Tarlek on WKRP In Cincinnati. Herb was the sales manager for WKRP, and he was definitely perceived as being a rather unsavory character on the show. Herb was always lusting after Jennifer, as the fact that he was married didn’t slow him down any. Although Frank appeared on 1970s sitcoms before he played Herb, WKRP In Cincinnati was the show he was most known for.

Frank Bonner Now

Although Frank was unquestionably best known for his time on WKRP In Cincinnati, he continued to act and direct once the show was off the air. He was a regular on Just the Ten of Us and also appeared on The New WKRP In Cincinnati. He also starred on Saved by the Bell: The New Class. He was last seen in 2014 on Under the Hollywood Sign.

Ian Wolfe As Hirsch

Ian Wolfe played Hirsch, the servant (or “houseboy”) of Mrs. Carlton on WKRP In Cincinnati. One of the running gags on the show was that Hirsch made terrible coffee unless of course, he wanted to impress company when they came over. He was also regularly known for getting the better of Mrs. Carlton with his deadpanned verbal quips.

Ian Wolfe Now

Ian Wolfe was already an older man by the time he started appearing on WKRP In Cincinnati, so he did not have much time to add on to his acting resume when the show ended. Ultimately, he passed away in 1992 at the age of 95. With that said, he continued to act right up until his last days, even appearing in the film Dick Tracy in 1990.

Bill Woodson As The Voice Announcer

Bill Woodson is a bit of a different case from his peers, as he was never actually seen on WKRP In Cincinnati. In fact, he wasn’t even officially credited on the show. However, he could be heard on every episode, as he would regularly do voice-overs instructing viewers to stay tuned for the conclusion of the episode, and so forth. TV fans of the 1980’s televison definitely remember his voice.

Bill Woodson Now

Bill Woodson lived a long and active life. In fact, he was 99 years old when he died last year, and he had continued to work until right up to his death. Between his acting gigs, narrating jobs, and voiceover work, he racked up over 100 credits in his career, which is an impressive feat to be sure. He also made voice appearances in commercials and for promotional campaigns.

Sylvia Sidney As Lillian Carlson

Sylvia Sidney had an impressive resume before she was cast as Lillian Carlson on WKRP In Cincinnati. She had already appeared on Sabotage and Fury. However, Sidney’s role on WKRP In Cincinnati would not ultimately be one of her career highlights, as she only played the role on the pilot and not ever again.

Sylvia Sidney Now

Although the part of Lillian on WKRP In Cincinnati didn’t ultimately work out for her, it wasn’t something that really held Sylvia back as she continued her acting career. She got right back on to auditioning for other roles, making appearances in Beetlejuice and Mars Attacks!, among others. Sadly, she passed away in 1999.

Sam Anderson As Rex Erhardt

Sam Anderson was just starting out as an actor when he was cast as Rex Erhardt on WKRP In Cincinnati. He didn’t stick to just that character, as he made appearances as other bit characters on the show, too. However, Sam’s most memorable part was as Rex who got to host a show after Johnny Fever’s morning show had concluded on the station.

Sam Anderson Now

Sam Anderson is one of the more active actors you’ll find in the world of television, making hundreds of appearances in dozens of shows over the years. Some of his most notable roles have been in Perfect Strangers, ER, Lost, and most recently, This Is Us. In films, Anderson has been seen in movies like Forrest Gump and La Bamba.

Mykelti Williamson As Donovan Aderhold

When the WKRP brand was resurrected in The New WKRP In Cincinnati, the producers decided to add some new blood to the proceedings to go with the familiar characters. Mykelti Williamson played Donovan Aderhold, the station director who got his job through his connection with Dr. Johnny Fever. Of course, Aderhold would end up leaving his job before the show ended.

Mykelti Williamson Now

Although Mykelti Williamson definitely got in front of some new viewers in The New WKRP In Cincinnati, it was just a small taste of what was to come, as his most notable role was in Forrest Gump, when he played Bubba. Other films you may have noticed Mykelti in include The Fifth Element, Free Willy, and Final Destination.

Wendy Davis As Ronnie Lee

In the 1990 revival of WKRP, Wendy Davis was part of the cast. She played Ronnie Lee on The New WKRP In Cincinnati. Of course, while Ronnie Lee was not a big part of the show, she regularly appeared to make the audience go “aww” with a cute scene. She ended up leaving the show partway through the first season, forcing WKRP to hire a new receptionist.

Wendy Davis Now

Wendy Davis was no stranger to television when her time on The New WKRP In Cincinnati ended. She would also act in prominent, successful sitcoms as Coach and Martin. She didn’t really ever ascend to the kind of role that would make her a star, but she seems at peace with that now. She lives in Los Angeles and has two children.

Michael Des Barres As Jack Allen

Although many television viewers were not familiar with Michael Des Barres when he first appeared as Jack Allen on The New WKRP In Cincinnati, he had carved out a very successful music career while writing for bands in the 1970s and 80s and even replacing Robert Palmer as lead singer of The Power Station. As Jack Allen, Michael was a morning show host who never got along with his wife for long.

Michael Des Barres Now

Michael Des Barres was just getting started when he made his appearances on The New WKRP In Cincinnati. In the 1990s, he also was seen on Seinfeld, ALF, and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He also appeared on Nip/Tuck and films such as Under Siege and Mulholland Drive.

Jan Smithers As Bailey Quarters

During the 1970s, Jan Smithers made a bit of a name for herself by doing guest appearances and taking small roles on hit TV shows that included Starsky and Hutch and Our Winning Season. However, she would really get a nice break when she landed the role of Bailey Quarters on WKRP In Cincinnati. On the show, Bailey was constantly butting heads with Jennifer.

Jan Smithers Now

After the conclusion of WKRP In Cincinnati, Jan Smithers continued to act, but she mostly went back to the types of guest roles that she did before she played Bailey. She did episodes of Murder, She Wrote and Hotel. In 1987, she acted in Mr. Nice Guy, which would be her last acting credit. She decided to dedicate her time to her family instead of acting.

 

ADVERTISEMENT