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The Devastating Death Of Howard Hesseman

The great Howard Hesseman — a true film and television journeyman — has died at the age of 81 on Saturday, January 29. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, his passing comes as a result of complications from colon surgery. He is survived by his wife since 1989, fellow actor Caroline Ducrocq, as well as their godchildren, Grace, Hamish, and Chet. The Wrap provided a statement from Robbie Kass, Hesseman's manager of 35 years, which said simply, "Unfortunately, I can confirm that Howard passed away on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Los Angeles."

Additional comments from Kass appeared in Variety's announcement, too. They read, "Howard was a groundbreaking talent and lifelong friend whose kindness and generosity was equaled by his influence and admiration to generations of actors and improvisational comedy throughout the world."

From the late 1960s to the late 2010s, Hesseman popped up all over the entertainment world. From his unforgettable turn as Dr. Johnny Fever on "WKRP in Cincinnati" to his performance in "About Schmidt" opposite Jack Nicholson, Hesseman thrived no matter which project he'd signed on to appear in. His work would lead him to two Emmy nominations and global recognition.

To honor his legacy, here's just a taste of his remarkable body of work that spanned screens big and small.

Howard Hesseman will forever be a part of film and television history

Born on February 27, 1940, in Lebanon, Oregon, Howard Hesseman's first credited role was a small part on "The Andy Griffith Show" under the stage-name Don Sturdy. However, that was far from his first experience with performing. Hesseman joined a San Francisco-based performance group known as The Committee in the 1960s, an influential improv comedy troupe that also included the likes of Rob Reiner and David Ogden Stiers.

With his experience with The Committee in his back pocket, Hesseman spent the 1970s and 1980s joining major project after major project. 1971's "Billy Jack" stands among his most well-known early works, but he's fondly remembered for his performances in films like "Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment," "Heat," and "This Is Spinal Tap" (via IMDb). When it comes to television, Hesseman became a star during his stints on "WKRP Cincinnati," "One Day at a Time," and "Head of the Class." Hesseman's later-career roles include guest-starring roles on "CSI," "Chicago Med," and "Fresh Off the Boat." After 50 years on screens of all sizes, his final performance was in the 2018 film "Dirty Politics."

Howard Hesseman contributed much to the world of film and television throughout his decades-long career.