Richard Herd, ‘Seinfeld’ Actor, Died at Age 87

Herd

On May 26, 2020, “Seinfeld” actor, Richard Herd, passed away due to complications from cancer. His wife, Patrica Herd, confirmed his death with The Hollywood Reporter. Herd said her husband died in their home in Los Angeles, California. He was 87 years old.

Herd’s Early Years

The actor was born on Sept. 26, 1932, in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, Richard Sr., was a WWII war veteran and a railroad engineer. He died when Herd was really young. In the second grade, Herd was diagnosed with osteomyelitis. Osteomyelitis is inflammation of bone marrow or the bone, this is usually due to infection.

Due to the severity of the ailment, Herd went to a school for young people with various disabilities called the Cotting School. For months at a time, he was in and out of the Boston Children’s Hospital. “Lying there, month after month, you become very stoic. It really stimulated my imagination… I think actually (it) actually helped me later as an actor.”

How Were Doctors Able to Help Herd’s Bone Infection?

Doctors were able to save him with the newly discovered antibiotic, penicillin. Penicillin was just a mold growing on a staphylococcus culture plate at first. However, it quickly became one of the most trusted allies by physicians worldwide. Thankfully with penicillin, surgeries, and loving care he was able to retain full use of his legs.

Where Did He Get His Love for Performing?

His mother Katherine was quite fond of music. It was her love that sparked Herd’s desire to perform. His instrument of choice was the drums. During his high school years, he gained acting experience when he performed on the radio and in summer stock at Liberty Mutual Theatre located in Boston.

After high school, he enlisted in the Army. However, due to a knee injury, he acquired during boot camp, he was honorably discharged. This all happened within 90 days of enlisting. Afterward, he began hosting training videos for the Army Signal Corps.

Herd continued to act in small plays, such as “A Month in the Country,” and “The Miser.” After working with numerous summer stock runs,  Shakespearean bus/truck tours, and a couple of industrial films, he finally made his New York debut. He had a minor role as an usher in “The Dress Circle.” He was also a member of the Player’s Club.

When Did He Make His Film Debut?

The actor had an infelicitous role as a coach in the movie, “Hercules in New York.” He did not move to Hollywood until the mid-1970s when he replaced Richard Long (he died before production began) as Watergate figure, James McCord, in “All the President’s Men.”

From there he had a handful of roles in the movies “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,” “F.I.S.T.,” and “The Onion Field” to name a few. He more frequently appeared on TV shows, such as “Kojak,” “The Rockford File,” and “Starsky and Hutch.”

Though He Never Became a Super Star

Even though Herd never found that one role to boost him to a superstar level, he did have several memorable roles. He was George Costanza’s boss, Mr. Wilhelm, the oblivious New York Yankee’s executive. Herd was in “Star Trek: Voyager,” “Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” “Desperate Housewives,” and many, many more.

His Personal Life

The actor was married to Amilda Cuddy from 1954 to 1955. In 1957, he married Dolores Wozaldo (Katherine Lind). They had two children together and divorced at some point. He married his widow on April 12, 1980. She has a child from a previous marriage.

The actor is mourned by his wife, daughter Erica, son Rick, and step-daughter Alica.

By Sheena Robertson
Edited by Jeanette Vietti

Sources:

Hollywood Reporter: Richard Herd, Mr. Wilhelm on ‘Seinfeld,’ Dies at 87
IMDb: Richard Herd
Chicago Tribune: Richard Herd, ‘Seinfeld’ actor who played Yankees exec Mr. Wilhelm, dies at 87
People: Richard Herd, Who Starred in Seinfeld, Dies at 87 of Complications from Cancer

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of The Pop Culture Geek Network’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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