David Ogden Stiers, the actor best known as stuffed-shirt Major Charles Winchester on M*A*S*H (1977-1983), has died of bladder cancer at his home in Oregon, ExtraTV reports. He was 75.
Stiers was born in Peoria, moving to Eugene, Oregon, as a child. He became an actor at 20, when he joined the Santa Clara Shakespeare Festival and went on to study acting at Juilliard.
A successful theater actor first and foremost, he made his film debut in a capacity that would become important later in his career — he provided a voice to the first film directed by George Lucas (b. 1944), the cult classic THX 1138 (1971).
He made his first credited on-screen film appearance in Drive, He Said, a 1971 film directed by Jack Nicholson (b. 1937). Though never a major force in the medium, he would go on to appear in such films as Oh, God! (1977), The Cheap Detective (1978), Magic (1978), The Man with One Red Shoe (1985), Better Off Dead... (1985) and in the Woody Allen (b. 1935) films Another Woman (1988), Shadows and Fog (1991), Mighty Aphrodite (1995), Everyone Says I Love You (1996) and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001).
It was TV that made Stiers a familiar face — and voice. Among his stand-out moments, he was a series regular on Doc (1976); appeared in the Charlie's Angels pilot in 1976; guested on prestige series like Mary Tyler Moore (1976-1977); appeared in North and South (1985) and North and South, Book II (1986). He was nominated for an Emmy for The First Olympics: Athens 1896 (1984) and was a foil for Raymond Burr (1917-1993) in several Perry Mason TV films that aired in 1987 and 1988.
If his years on M*A*S*H were his biggest success — he was twice nominated for an Emmy for his boorish Major Winchester, a perennially put-upon character who was eventually allowed to show a soft side — his work as a voice actor became his most longlasting. He shared a Grammy for the soundtrack of Beauty and the Beast (1991), which he narrated. He went on to lend his voice to such projects as Napoleon (1995), Pocahontas (1995), Lilo & Stitch (2002), Lilo & Stitch: The Series (2003-2006) and many more.
In 2009, Stiers came out as gay, noting that he had held off due to being so beholden to family entertainment and fearing a blow to his work.
Stiers is the latest M*A*S*H veteran to pass away, following the deaths of McLean Stevenson (1927-1996), Larry Linville (1939-2000), Edward Winter (1937-2001), Harry Morgan (1915-2011), Allan Arbus (1918-2013) and William Christopher (1932-2016).