David Ogden Stiers, best known for his role as the arrogant Army surgeon Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III on “M*A*S*H,” died Saturday. He was 75.
His agent tweeted that he died of bladder cancer at his home in Newport, Ore., according to Variety.
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.
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.
Stiers was also musically inclined: He served as the associate conductor for the Newport Symphony Orchestra in Oregon and guest-conducted dozens of orchestras around the world, said Entertainment Weekly.
In 2009, the actor revealed publicly that he was gay. He told ABC News at the time that he had hidden his sexuality for a long time because so much of his income had been derived from family-friendly programming.