David Ogden Stiers, a prolific actor best known for playing a surgeon on the “M.A.S.H.” television series, has died, Fox News reports. He was 75.
The actor’s agent Mitchell Stubbs confirmed Saturday night in an email that Stiers died after battling bladder cancer.
No additional details were provided, but Stubbs’ agency tweeted that Stiers died at his home in Newport, Oregon, on Saturday.
Stiers played the aristocratic Maj. Charles Winchester III on “M.A.S.H.” beginning in its sixth season, replacing Larry Linville after he left the series. Stiers’ character, while arrogant, also showed an empathy and wit his predecessor lacked.
Stiers did voice acting in several Disney animated films, voicing the character Cogsworth in “Beauty and the Beast” and played characters in “Lilo & Stitch” and “Pocahontas.” He was also the voice of an announcer in George Lucas’ 1971 feature directorial debut, “THX 1138.”
For his work on the sitcom set in the Korean War, Stiers was twice Emmy-nominated for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy or variety or music series, in 1981 and 1982. Variety recalled that he earned a third Emmy nomination for his performance in the NBC miniseries “The First Olympics: Athens 1896,” as William Milligan Sloane, founder of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
He had more than 150 film and television credits, including appearances on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and several Perry Mason television movies.
The actor, with his educated, resonant voice, was much in demand for narration and voiceover work, and for efforts as the narrator and as Cogsworth the clock in Disney’s hit animated film “Beauty and the Beast,” he shared a Grammy win for best recording for children and another nomination for album of the year.
Indeed, it was his voice that earned him his first screen credit — as the announcer in George Lucas’ 1971 film “THX 1138.”
Among his many credits, Stiers worked repeatedly for director Woody Allen, appearing in “Shadows and Fog,” “Mighty Aphrodite,” “Everybody Says I Love You” and “Curse of the Jade Scorpion.”
On “M*A*S*H,” Stiers’ Maj. Winchester was witty where his predecessor, Frank Burns, had been vapid. And with his Harvard education, he was a match for Alan Alda’s Hawkeye in the operating room, where the surgeons routinely performed what they often called “meatball surgery.”
The show has been experiencing a popular renaissance, as it marks 35 years since a series finale that drew an astounding 106 million viewers, according to the Washington Post.
He starred in “M*A*S*H” from 1977 until 1983 and also appeared on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “North and South,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and “Regular Show,” among other programs, according to Entertainment Tonight.
David Allen Ogden Stiers was born not in New England but in Peoria, Ill., Variety said, though the family moved to Eugene, Ore., while he was in high school. He briefly attended the University of Oregon, began his professional career at the Actors Workshop in San Francisco, the California Shakespeare Festival and improv group the Committee before heading East and, starting in 1968, attending New York’s Juilliard and then joining at launch the Houseman Acting Company, where he was mentored by venerable actor and “Paper Chase” star John Houseman.
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