Most TV watchers will recognize him as Mr. Wilhelm on Seinfeld, but character actor Richard Herd had a rich, decades-long career on the stage, big screen, and TV beyond his famous sitcom turn. The veteran thespian died Tuesday at his Los Angeles home of cancer-related complications, his wife of 40 years, Patricia Crowder Herd, told the Hollywood Reporter. Herd was 87. He died with his family around him, his rep said in a statement, per CNN. After a serious childhood illness that nearly killed him—he told the Patriot Ledger in 2015 he was saved as one of the first recipients of penicillin—Herd launched his career as a stage actor in New York. He made his movie debut in 1970's Hercules in New York, then moved on to play Watergate burglar James McCord in 1976's All the President's Men. Herd also appeared in such films as The China Syndrome, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and Get Out.
It was his role as the bumbling Yankees exec and supervisor to George Costanza (Jason Alexander) on Seinfeld, however, that really put Herd on many people's radars. "He was always doing things that never got done and always going over to Mr. Steinbrenner and apologizing to him," Herd said of his character in a 2016 interview, per Variety. The actor was originally from Boston and was actually a Red Sox fan in real life. He also made appearances on such shows as ER, Dallas, and NYPD Blue, and had roles in various Star Trek franchises, including The Next Generation, Voyager, and Renegades. In addition, he served as the third national VP for the Screen Actors Guild. THR notes his resemblance to the late actor Karl Malden. Herd is survived by his wife, a son, a daughter, and a stepdaughter. (Read more Seinfeld stories.)