The respected character actor also appeared in All the President's Men, The China Syndrome, Star Trek, and many other films and shows.

By Maureen Lee Lenker
May 26, 2020 at 04:34 PM EDT
Credit: Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives

Richard Herd, the veteran character actor best known for his portrayal of Mr. Wilhelm on Seinfeldhas died. He was 87.

Herd's wife confirmed that the actor died of cancer-related causes to The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday.

Herd was a respected character actor, whose career spanned from the 1970s through current day. He made notable appearances in classics All the President's Men and The China Syndrome. In the 1976 film about the Watergate scandal, Herd portrayed an ex-CIA agent who led the team that broke into the Watergate Hotel. In 1979's The China Syndrome, he played a similarly morally bankrupt character as the chairman of a nuclear power plant scheming to cover up the plant's potentially deadly issues.

The actor had a lengthy career on television, often appearing in buzzy recurring or guest roles. His first recurring TV role was as Captain Sheridan, William Shatner's boss, on beloved ABC cop drama T.J. Hooker. He was a familiar face in science fiction television, portraying alien Supreme Commander John in both the 1983 NBC miniseries and its 1984 sequel, V: The Final Battle. He made multiple appearances in the Star Trek universe, portraying Klingon L'Kor on Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as Admiral Owen Paris on both Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Renegades. He recurred as Admiral William Noyce on seaQuest 2032.

He also excelled as military men, portraying Gen. Omar Bradley in 1979 ABC miniseries Ike: The War Years and similar men of authority in 1980's Private Benjamin and 1996's Sgt. Bilko. More recently, he had memorable roles as a member of the ensemble cast of Betty White's Off Their Rockers and in Get Out, as the Armitage family patriarch behind the shadowy plot at the heart of the film.

Herd is best-known, however, for his 11-episode stint on SeinfeldHe appeared over the course of three seasons of the long-running series as Wilhelm, a New York Yankee executive and George Costanza's (Jason Alexander) clueless supervisor. Wilhelm proved a constant thorn to George, providing George with a mysterious secret project, which he ultimately completes and gives George the credit in "The Bottle Deposit." His character was also brainwashed by a religious cult in "The Checks," and ultimately, in "The Millennium" cost George a new job as a scout for the New York Mets, after taking the fall for George's erratic behavior in numerous attempts to get fired by the Yankees.

Richard Herd was born September 26, 1932 in Boston. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War before moving to New York to study acting and pursue a theatrical career. He made his screen debut in 1970's  Hercules in New York.

Other screen credits range from feature films like F.I.S.T., The Onion Field, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and A Christmas in New York. Other television appearances include roles on The Golden Girls, The O.C., Desperate Housewives, Rizzoli & Isles, Shameless, and Hawaii Five-O among many more.

Herd was an active member of the Screen Actors Guild and served as their third national vice president.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Patricia Crowder Herd. Survivors also include his daughter Erica, son Rick and stepdaughter Alicia.

Related content: