David Ogden Stiers, who celebrated an active career on Broadway in the '70s before becoming known to most as Major Charles Winchester on MASH, died March 3 at the age of 75 following a battle with bladder cancer. The news was shared via Twitter by his agent, Mitchell K. Stubbs.
Born October 31, 1942, in Peoria, Illinois, Mr. Stiers first began to pursue acting with the Santa Clara Shakespeare Festival, where he performed for seven years. In 1969, he moved to New York to attend Juilliard, during which time he studied both acting and voice (Mr. Stiers was a classical music enthusiast, and would go on to make guest conductor appearances with several international orchestras .)
Mr. Stiers made his Broadway debut as a member of the City Center Acting Company, appearing in simultaneous repertory productions of The Three Sisters, The Beggar's Opera, Measure for Measure, Scapin, and Next Time I'll Sing to You in 1973 and early 1974.
Two months after the limited engagement, he went on to appear in Ulysses in Nighttown before starring in the long-running Stephen Schwartz musical The Magic Show. Mr. Stiers played "Feldman the Magnificent," an eccentric nightclub magician. He later returned to the stage in 2009's White Christmas as General Henry Waverly, marking his final Broadway performance.
After a series of small screen appearances (including The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda), Mr. Stiers joined the sixth season of CBS' MASH. His performance as the pompous yet good-natured Major Charles Winchester earned him two consecutive Emmy nominations. He earned a third nod in 1984 for the mini-series The First Olympics: Athens 1896.
Mr. Stiers' commanding voice could also be heard in several Disney animated films, most notably as Cogsworth and the Narrator in Beauty and the Beast (he also lent his voice to the prologue of the Broadway adaptation). Additional Disney credits included Lilo & Stitch, Pocahontas, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.