Feb. 27th, 1940
Lebanon, Oregon, USA
Howard Hesseman's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Howard Hesseman has been a leading counter-culture figure since the late 1960s. He was a member of the improv group, "the Committee", for ten years in the sixties and seventies. He has been a character actor for many years on different television shows since the 1960s, and took small parts in "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960), "Dragnet 1967" (1967), "Soap" (1977) and "Sanford and Son" (1972). The role that brought him to prominence was Howard Johnson in the cult classic Billy Jack (1971). He has been active in movies and TV since.
He was a frequent guest star on "The Bob Newhart Show" (1972), but the best was yet to come. He will perhaps be forever remembered on the classic series "WKRP in Cincinnati" (1978), as anti-disco DJ Dr. Johnny Fever. Also in the seventies, Hesseman appeared in a small part in The Sunshine Boys (1975), Tunnel Vision (1976), Silent Movie (1976) and The Big Bus (1976). After the cancellation of "WKRP in Cincinnati" (1978), he went on to star as the husband of Ann Romano in "One Day at a Time" (1975). After that series was cancelled, Hesseman starred in more cult classics, such as This Is Spinal Tap (1984), Doctor Detroit (1983), Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985), (a role which he refused to play again) Clue (1985) and Flight of the Navigator (1986).
He then got another part in television, this time as a teacher in the high school sitcom "Head of the Class" (1986). As Mr. Moore, he was insightful, funny and a pleasure to watch. Hesseman left the show in 1990 and has done a steady stream of television guest roles since. In 1987, he was in the star-studded Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), and, in 1991, he starred in the very strange film Rubin and Ed (1991). Since then, he has been in a handful of other films, including Gridlock'd (1997) with Tupac Shakur. His work in recent years concentrates mostly on television, where he takes mostly small guest roles, in shows like "That '70s Show" (1998), "Touched by an Angel" (1994), "The Practice" (1997) and "Crossing Jordan" (2001). Since his career began, Hesseman has gained a reputation as a quality and versatile character actor.
- As a member of " The Committee" Hesseman appeared weekly on " The Smothers Brothers' Comedy Hour" 1968-1969.
- During "The Committee's" appearance on the July 18, 1969 _"The Dick Cavett Show" (1968)_ (qv) Howard called one of his cast members "fellow baby." Nearly a decade later on _"WKRP in Cincinnati" (1978)_ (qv) he would make this phrase one of the most popular sayings of Dr. Johnny Fever, the role that he is most identified with.
- Before he became an actor, he was a real radio D.J. Hence, the _"WKRP in Cincinnati" (1978)_ (qv) role fit him perfectly.
- Attended the University of Oregon.
- Arrested for selling 1 ounce of marijuana in San Francisco in 1966.
- Was a close friend and sometime lover of Janis Joplin in the late 1960s.
- Member of the improvisational group, The Committee, 1965-75.
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