'Seinfeld' and 'Star Trek' actor Richard Herd dies aged 87 from cancer-related causes
Actor Richard Herd, well-known for his role as Mr. Wilhelm on ‘Seinfeld’, died on Tuesday, May 26, at the age of 87. According to his wife of 40 years, actress Patricia Crowder Herd, the character actor died of cancer-related causes at his home in Los Angeles.
Herd had a career that stretched more than five decades and he often played characters who were authoritative and stern, like Captain Sheridan on the ABC action cop drama ‘T.J. Hooker’.
Born on September 26, 1932, Herd was the son of a railroad engineer and World War II veteran, who died when Herd was quite young. Reportedly, Herd suffered from bone marrow cancer which affected the growth of his legs as a child. He was educated at the Industrial School for Crippled Children during his formative years.
“I had osteomyelitis, a serious bone infection, and almost didn't survive," he said in a 2015 interview. "I became ill in second grade and went to the Cotting School, as it's now known, in Lexington, for young people with various ailments. I was in and out of Boston Children's Hospital. Lying there, month after month, you become very stoic. It really stimulated my imagination, and I think actually helped me later as an actor."
Herd enlisted in the Army during the Korean War but injured a knee in basic training, which led to an honorable discharge within 90 days of his enlistment. After this, Herd went to New York, and studied acting and art. He made his film debut in ‘Hercules in New York’.
While he never quite reached star-status, Herd had a rich career that included several memorable supporting roles. He played Supreme Commander John in the NBC miniseries ‘V’; the Klingon L'Kor on ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’; Admiral William Noyce on ‘seaQuest 2032’; and Admiral Owen Paris on ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ and ‘Star Trek: Renegades’.
On the silver screen, he played the role of the ex-CIA agent who led the team that broke into The Watergate Hotel in ‘All the President's Men’. His other film credits include titles like ‘The China Syndrome, ‘F.I.S.T.’, ‘The Onion Field’, ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, and ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’.
Herd continued to act into his 80s. ‘A Christmas in New York’, ‘Get Out’, and ‘The Silent Natural’ were the last films he appeared in.
Herd is survived by his wife Patricia, his daughter Erica, son Rick, and stepdaughter Alicia.