NEW YORK — Howard Hesseman, who played the radio disc jockey Johnny Fever on the sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” and the actor-turned-history teacher Charlie Moore on “Head of the Class,” has died. He was 81.
Hesseman, who had himself been a radio DJ in the ‘60s, earned two Emmy nominations for playing Johnny Fever on CBS’ “WKRP in Cincinnati,” which ran for four seasons from 1978-1982. The role made Hesseman a counterculture icon at a time when few hippie characters made it onto network television.
“I think maybe Johnny smokes a little marijuana, drinks beer and wine, and maybe a little hard liquor,” Hesseman told The New York Times in 1979 as he readied for one of three “Saturday Night Live” hosting gigs. “And on one of those hard mornings at the station, he might take what for many years was referred to as a diet pill. But be is a moderate user of soft drugs, specifically marijuana.”
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