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Richard Herd, 'Seinfeld's' Mr. Wilhelm, Dead at 87

Richard Herd, 'Seinfeld's' Mr. Wilhelm, Dead at 87

Longtime character actor Richard Herd, known as George Costanza's boss Mr. Wilhelm on "Seinfeld," died Tuesday at 87.

THR reports his wife of 40 years, actress Patricia Crowder Herd, confirmed he died of cancer at home in L.A.

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In his 50-plus-year career, Herd — often mistaken for the late Karl Malden — appeared on such TV shows as "Kojak" (1975), "Eight Is Enough" (1979), "Starsky and Hutch" (1979), "MASH" (1980), "Dallas" (1980-1981), "Falcon Crest" (1984), "The Golden Girls" (1989), and "Hawaii Five-0" (2018). He was a regular on "T.J. Hooker" (1982-1984) and "SeaQuest 2032" (1993-1994), and appeared on three "Star Trek" series: "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1993), Star Trek: Voyager" (1999-2001), and Star Trek: Renegades" (2015).

His sci-fi bona fides also included appearing in both "V" miniseries (1983 & 1984).

Herd acted in dozens of feature films, among them "All the President's Men" (1976), "F.I.S.T." (1978), "The China Syndrome" (1979), "The Onion Field" (1979), "Private Benjamin" (1980), "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" (1987), "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" (1997), "Get Out" (2017), and "The Mule" (2018).

richard herd seinfeld nbc
Herd as Mr. Wilhelm, speaking to George (Jason Alexander) and George Steinbrenner (voiced by Larry David)

Herd's most high-profile performance was as Mr. Wilhelm on "Seinfeld" for 11 episodes (1995-1998). On the 1996 episode "The Checks," Mr. Wilhelm is recruited by a cult posing as a carpet-cleaning company, infuriating his underling George (Jason Alexander). "My name is Tanya," a glassy-eyed Mr. Wilhelm says when George confronts him.

His death follows the death of longtime "Seinfeld" alum Jerry Stiller, who died at 92 two weeks ago.

Born on September 26, 1932, in Boston, Herd survived the bone infection osteomyelitis in childhood only because he was among the first victims to receive a new innovation: penicillin. He studied with esteemed actor Claude Rains, served in the Korean War, and worked on the stage prior to his film debut in the loopy Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy "Hercules in New York" (1970).

Along with this wife, Herd is survived by his daughter, his son, and his stepdaughter.