Howard Hesseman: Five Must-Know Facts And Cause Of Death

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Howard Hesseman

A  police officer here, a broke doctor there, and overall a brilliant actor, the story of Howard Hesseman. How much do you know of this actor who stood at an impressive 5 feet 11 plus inches (1.82M)? Here is everything you need to know broken down into five facts.

Howard Hesseman was born in Lebanon

Howard Hesseman was not born in Lebanon, the country in the Middle East which you probably know as an adversary of Israel. America hosts the world and Hesseman was born in Lebanon in the state of Oregon.

Hesseman was a one-state man meaning that he had his kindergarten up to university education in Oregon.  And Hesseman was not always Howard Hesseman, for a chunk of years, he was a radio DJ and was known as Don Sturdy his DJing alias. A name he used in the early days of his acting career before deciding that the reality of moving H(f)oward was better than the fiction of being Sturdy.

Howard Hesseman was married two times

Someone once referred to Hollywood as a city of divorcees. This is not exactly the truth but there is no consensus as to how close it is to the truth. True or not, Hesseman has contributed to this assertion. He was married twice.

First, he was married to Catherine Maison. The two got married in 1965 and divorced in 1974. There is no record as to whether they had children, and there is even a deader silence as to the cause of the couple’s separation. After this, Hesseman did not marry again for one and a half decades. He might have resolved never to remarry then he met Caroline Ducrocq.

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Caroline Ducrocq is a French intellectual who conquered Philosophy, Greek and Latin in Europe before moving across the Atlantic to study at the NYU School of the Arts. She ended up founding a theatre company, began as an actor and excelled as both producer and director. She ended up marrying one of the most sought-after men at that time. 

He started his career half a century ago

Howard Hesseman began his movie career in 1968 which is more than fifty years ago. He made his debut acting as Don Sturdy. He mostly acted uncredited roles in films and passing roles on television. While Hesseman has gone on to make scores of screen appearances only a handful stand out. One of them was his role as an unconventional teacher willing to bend the rule in ABC’s high school drama series “Head of the Class”.

Other notable Hesseman appearances include in the comedy film “Police Academy 2: Their Last Assignment” in which played the role of Captain Pete Lassard who runs a police department full of aged men and who is given 30 days to remove a city infested with criminals in the map of the worse crime precinct.

Howard Hesseman was also in the CBS series “One Day at a Time” which aired between the 1970s and the 1980s. But perhaps his most prominent act as an actor was his appearance in “WKRP in Cincinnati”.

He starred in “WKRP in Cincinnati”

Hesseman’s most known screen appearance came in “WKRP in Cincinnati”, a CBS sitcom that followed the adventures or misadventures of staff in a struggling radio station.

In the series, Hesseman played the role of John Fever, a hippie who somehow worked his way into becoming one of the most sought-after DJs in Los Angeles. After being wrongly dismissed for which he got a cash settlement, he began a wanderer, living rough and searching for new employers. Only one radio station could employ him – WKRP and they are the worst radio station in the city of Cincinnati.

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And the real drama began for him.

For his role as John Fever in the four seasons that the series ran, Hesseman got two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He didn’t end up winning any of these, but his performance remains enshrined in the minds of his fans till date, thirty years later.

Note that Hesseman returned in a recurring capacity to play John Fever in “The New WKRP in Cincinnati” which aired for two seasons with less pop in the early 1990s.

Howard Hesseman had appeared in more than 150 acting credits and was said to be worth five million dollars. A huge sum but when divided by his endless number of credits comes out as a little more than 30 thousand dollars per appearance.

Cause of death

On Sunday, 30th January 2022, Hesseman’s manager Robbie Kass announced that Hesseman passed on on Saturday, 29th January 2022 in Los Angeles. He said that the cause of death arose from complications from colon surgery.

“He was a groundbreaking talent and lifelong friend and long time client, whose kindness and generosity was equaled by his influence and admiration to generations of actors and improvisational comedy throughout the world,” his manager said.

“He will be sorely missed and always treasured.”

Image source: Zimbio

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Staff Editor

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