Frank Bielec, who transformed the spaces where Americans lived for eight years as the designer on the reality TV show “Trading Spaces,” has died at the age of 72.
Bielec died Friday, his wife Judy told TMZ, after suffering a heart attack on Thursday.
He was first hospitalized in Katy, Texas, then transferred to a Houston hospital, where he died.
Bielec was a star of TLC’s “Trading Spaces” from 2000 through 2008 and again when the program was revived in 2018. In the show, homeowners would swap houses and revamp a room in the other home while working within a set budget.
“A very sad day for the TLC family as we learn of the passing of beloved Trading Spaces designer Frank Bielec. We will miss and remember him fondly, his quirky style and wonderful sense of humor. We share our love and condolences with the entire Bielec family at this difficult time. We love you Frank!” the posts read.
Many posted their memories of Bielec and condolences on Twitter:
— Ty Pennington (@typennington) May 16, 2020
— Ty Pennington (@typennington) May 16, 2020
I never met a man who was more universally loved. When Frank showed up to film – you knew you were in for a special day! Grateful to have been given an opportunity to have a colleague turned friend in Frank Bielec. RIP, pal. #frankbielechttps://t.co/krDyneyfnL
— Tom Farrell (@Tfworkshop) May 16, 2020
They should do a “best of Frank” episode. Show the best outtakes and scenes, before and afters of room transformations, and the cast sharing their favorite memories. Frank Bielec was the Bob Ross of design and renovation. He will be missed.
— Ken Cooney (Spark Comics) (@Ken_Cooney) May 16, 2020
“Saying Goodbye to Frank Bielec was the hardest part of my time on #tradingspaces For so many reasons ! Frank made everyone smile , he was the glue that held our show together,” he wrote. “His quick wit, amazing comments , expressions and laughter made us want to work with him everyday. I remember auditioning with him in Tennessee so many years ago he asked me to build him a box (for flowers) so I started measuring his height ..(the cameraman realized the joke and started laughing shaking the camera.”
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Saying Goodbye to Frank Bielec was the hardest part of my time on #tradingspaces For so many reasons ! Frank made everyone smile , he was the glue that held our show together. His quick wit, amazing comments , expressions and laughter made us want to work with him everyday. I remember auditioning with him in Tennessee so many years ago he asked me to build him a box (for flowers) so I started measuring his height ..(the cameraman realized the joke and started laughing shaking the camera. It was clear Frank and I had immediate comedy chemistry on camera. I will never forget his #kindness to all #humans and all #animals His heart and hands were always full of #love When I left the show to go make #extrememakeoverhomeedition he shed tears and said “your star is too big and bright for just one sky … go shine and share it with the universe Frank made me cry that day , with tears of pride , he did it again today. Thank you frank for letting us all reflect some of your brilliant light You will be missed! @genevievegorder @johngidding @leighseaman @lauriesmithofficial @vernyipdesigns @realpaigedavis @seithg @sabrina_soto @dougwilsondesigner @hildisantotomas @bretttutor @joaniesprague @robmarish @mjcine @tlc @discoveryinctv @tv_ep_nataliefeldman @kahilee sorry if I missed a tag. Our thoughts are with his loving family
Bielec previously revealed that he almost did not make it past the show’s first season, along with Pennington and Hildi Santo-Tomas.
“They were gonna let us go because I didn’t fit the demographic, Pennington was a loaded cannon, and Hildi was not good for the show because she was such a defined, independent character,” he said in a 2009 interview with Katy Magazine.
His wardrobe gave the show’s executives fits, he said then.
“I always wore shorts and crappy clothes because I was working and it was hot,” Bielec said. “I figured if the carpenters could dress that way, I could too, but boy did we get phone calls.”
But when the ratings came out, the show decided to keep all three principal characters.
“I was the oldest one on the set so they treated me like gold. They looked to me like a father figure,” he said.
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