Los Angeles Actor, David Ogden Stiers, died at age 75 from bladder cancer, on Saturday, March 3, 2018. He was most well-known for his part in “M*A*S*H” as the surgeon Major Charles Emerson Winchester III. Mitchell K. Stubbs, Stiers’ agent, tweeted that Stiers passed away from bladder cancer at his residence in Newport, Oregon.
For his effort on “M*A*S*H,” Stiers was nominated for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy or variety or music series twice. He also was nominated for an Emmy a third time for his role in NBC miniseries, “The First Olympics: Athens 1896.” He played William Milligan Sloane, founder of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Major Charles Emerson Winchester III “M*A*S*H”
Stiers joined the “M*A*S*H” cast in 1977, after Larry Linville’s character, Major Frank Burns, went AWOL after a breakdown. “M*A*S*H” is a comedy-drama series about a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in the Korean War.
Winchester was an upper-class man with a snobby attitude, but his remarkable medical talents and shocking compassionate humanity balanced out his behaviors. “From the beginning, he felt confident about playing Winchester. ‘It’s just a matter of isolating the traits’ from others in his own personality, he told The Salt Lake Tribune in 1977,” according to The New York Times.
“Even today, people call out the name of my character from that show, and I cringe,” he said in 2002. “That’s why I walk so fast and kind of disguise myself. I just can’t have the same conversation 85 times a day.” he said, according to Daily News Entertainment.
Other Roles Stiers Performed
In the 1960s, he relocated to New York to attend a drama program at Julliard. While there, he joined the John Houseman’s City Center Acting Company. In 1973, he did a Broadway performance with the company. He played in “The Beggar’s Opera,” “The Three Sisters,” and three other shows.
In the 1970s, he regularly performed on the New York stage. In 2009-10, Stiers returned to Broadway to play an admired wartime general in the holiday play of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.”
Stiers made his first film appearance with a minor role in Jack Nicholson’s “Drive.” He said, it was “a counterculture classic made in 1971. He played the voice of the announcer in George Lucas’ “THX 1138,” a dystopian sci-fi drama.
He continued to do voice roles, which became a crucial part of his career. He was voiced in approximately 24 Disney animated productions, such as “Beauty and the Beast” in 1991. He played the voice of Cogsworth the clock. He was also the villain Jumba Jookiba in “Lilo & Stitch” in 2002.
Other movies he appeared in are: “Oh, God!” in 1977, “The Accidental Tourist,” in 1988, “The Man With One Red Shoe,” in 1985, as well as four Woody Allen productions. His very last appearance on screen was in “The Joneses Unplugged,” a movie about technology overload made in 2017.
Stiers had over 150 production credits, including parts on numerous Perry Mason films, and the “Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Stiers’ Personal Life
Reports suggest that he had a son from a previous relationship but was never married. In 2009, he announced that he was a homosexual, and he was very proud of it. He kept it a secret because he feared it would affect his life. He regrets keeping the secret.
“I wish to spend my life’s twilight being just who I am,” Stiers said, according to The New York Times.
By Jeanette Smith
The New York Times: David Ogden Stiers, Major Winchester on ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 75
Daily News Entertainment: ‘M*A*S*H’ actor David Ogden Stiers dead at 75
CBS News: David Ogden Stiers, “M*A*S*H” star, dead at 75
Image Courtesy of Robert Easton’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License