Veteran actor David Ogden Stiers, best remembered for playing Major Winchester on “M*A*S*H” from 1977-1983, has died. The New York Times reports that Stiers died Saturday at his home in Newport, Ore., from bladder cancer. He was 75.
“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 Times reports. “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 Mr. Stiers’s imperious Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III seemed to fit the bill.
“Winchester’s upper-class Boston priggishness, however, turned out to be balanced by impressive medical skills, a heartfelt appreciation of the arts, real wit and a surprising level of compassionate humanity. Winchester was, unlike Frank Burns, a worthy adversary.”
Stiers received Emmy nominations for the role in 1981 and 1982, followed by a third nomination in 1984 for his lead role in the miniseries “The First Olympics: Athens in 1896.”
Earlier in his career, Stiers appeared as Stanley Moss on the TV series “Doc,” and made guest appearances on shows including “Charlie’s Angels,” “Kojak” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
He remained a presence on television following “M*A*S*H,” including playing D.A. Michael Reston in a series of ‘Perry Mason” TV movies in the 1980s. His many big-screen appearances included roles in the feature film “The Accidental Tourist” (1988) and a number of Woody Allen movies including “Shadows and Fog” (1991), “Mighty Aphrodite” (1995) and “Everyone Says I Love You” (1996).
In recent years, Stiers kept up a busy schedule of narration and voiceover work, including extensive runs on “American Experience,” “Lilo & Stitch: The Series” and “Regular Show.” He also played Rev. Purdy on the USA Network series “The Dead Zone.”
Here’s a clip of Stiers as Major Winchester on “M*A*S*H” …