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David Ogden Stiers, Maj. Winchester on ‘M*A*S*H,’ dies at 75

New York Times
Published: March 4, 2018 Updated: March 5, 2018 at 12:45 PM
JAN 14 1980 Hawkeye (Alan Alda, right) notices that Charles (David Ogden Stiers) doesn't look well just before Charles comes down with the mumps in M*A*S*H tonight at 9 on Ch. 13. Television: Programs: M.A.S.H. 1980 Thru - Files Thru 1979 To St

David Ogden Stiers, the tall, balding, baritone-voiced actor who brought articulate, somewhat snobbish comic dignity to six seasons of the acclaimed television series M*A*S*H, died Saturday at his home in Newport, Ore., southwest of Salem. He was 75.

His death was announced on Twitter by his agent, Mitchell K. Stubbs, who said the cause was bladder cancer.

Mr. Stiers joined the cast of M*A*S*H in 1977, when Larry Linville, who had played the pompous and inept Maj. Frank Burns, left the show. The series, a comedy-drama set in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War, required a foil for its raucous, irreverent, martini-guzzling leads, Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda) and B.J. Hunnicutt (Mike Farrell), and Stiersí imperious Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III seemed to fit the bill.

The role earned Mr. Stiers two Emmy nominations (in 1981 and 1982). He was nominated a third time, in 1984, for his lead role in The First Olympics: Athens in 1896, a dramatic miniseries.

David Allen Ogden Stiers was born Oct. 31, 1942, in Peoria, Ill., the son of Kenneth Stiers and the former Margaret Elizabeth Ogden. The family later moved to Eugene, Ore., where David graduated from high school.

After briefly attending the University of Oregon, he headed to California to pursue an acting career and worked with the Santa Clara Shakespeare Festival in California for seven years. In the late 1960s, he moved to New York to study drama at Juilliard.

There he became a member of John Housemanís City Center Acting Company, making his Broadway debut with the company in 1973. He continued to appear on the New York stage in the 1970s and returned to Broadway later in his career, playing a beloved wartime general in the 2009-10 holiday run of Irving Berlinís White Christmas."

He never married. Some reports have suggested that he is survived by a son from an early relationship. In early 2009, at 66, Mr. Stiers announced that he was gay and "very proud to be so" in a blog interview that was reported by ABC News.