We have some sad news to report on today as Richard Herd, the veteran actor best known for his role as Mr. Wilhelm on the classic comedy series Seinfeld, has passed away. A legend of the screen, Herd has been featured in dozens of movie and television roles over the years, making him a very familiar face to people all across the world. According to his wife, Herd died at his home on Tuesday due to complications from cancer. He was 87 years old.
Richard Thomas Herd Jr. was born on Sept. 26, 1932, in the city of Boston, Massachusetts. He would make his professional acting debut in the 1970 movie Hercules in New York, appearing as a television presenter. Appearing in other movies like All the President's Men and F.I.S.T., Herd would also have roles in a variety of television programs during the 1970s. That includes roles on shows like The Streets of San Francisco, Kojak, and The Rockford Files along with a handful of TV movies.
One of Herd's biggest earlier roles was as Evan McCormack in the 1979 movie The China Syndrome, featuring the actor alongside Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and Michael Douglas. Around this time, he would also pick up roles as an FBI agent in Starsky and Hutch and a military general in the TV mini-series Ike; The War Years. In the 1980s, Herd would take on one of his most well-known roles when he appeared in a recurring role on the classic TV series T.J. Hooker as Captain Dennis Sheridan.
In the following years, Herd would be featured in multiple episodes of classic shows like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Quantum Leap, and SeaQuest 2032. Of course, among his most beloved roles is on Seinfeld as Mr. Wilhelm, the clueless boss of George Costanza (Jason Alexander). "It was easy. It was fun. It was very inviting," Herd said of his Seinfeld audition in a 2016 interview, noting how he was surprised to get the part. "And as I left, I turned around and said, 'Look, I have to tell you this. I hope it doesn't make a difference, but I'm a Red Sox fan.' And they all threw their scripts at me. The next day they said, 'Come on out and play with us.'"
Some of Herd's other memorable television roles include playing various characters for Betty White's Off Their Rockers and as Admiral Owen Paris, the father of Tom Paris, in Star Trek: Voyager. He has also been featured in movies like Sgt. Bilko, Get Out, The Mule, and A Fare to Remember. His final credited role is for the upcoming movie Turning Tables from director Ani Kyd Wolf, which also stars Joey Lawrence, Courney Gains, and Debra Wilson.
Herd's survivors include Patricia Crowder Herd, his wife of 40 years; a daughter, Erica; a son, Rick; and a stepdaughter, Alicia. At this time, our thoughts go out to them, and we extend our condolences to those mourning the loss of the accomplished entertainer. Over the course of decades, Herd has brought joy to millions with his performances, and his legacy is one that will live on forever. May he rest in peace. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.