DAVID OGDEN STIERS was an American actor and conductor who died on this date (b: 1942): He appeared in numerous productions on Broadway, and originated the role of Feldman in The Magic Show, in which he appeared for four years between 1974 and 1978. He is best known for his role on the long-running series M*A*S*H.
In 1977, he was cast as Major Charles Emerson Winchester, III, M.D., on M*A*S*H, a role he portrayed until the series’ conclusion in 1983, and which earned him two Emmy Award nominations. He appeared prominently in the 1980s in the role of District Attorney Michael Reston in several Perry Mason television films, and voiced a number of Disney characters during the 1990s and 2000s, most notably Cogsworth in 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, Governor Ratcliffe and Wiggins in 1995’s Pocahontas, Kamaji in 2001’s Spirited Away, and Dr. Jumba Jookiba in 2002’s Lilo & Stitch, its sequel films, and Lilo & Stitch: The Series. He appeared in television again on the supernatural drama series The Dead Zone as Reverend Gene Purdy, a role he portrayed from 2002 to 2007.
Stiers continued to contribute voice work for films and television productions in his later years, narrating M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water (2006) and having a recurring role on the animated series Regular Show. Stiers spent his later years as a conductor of the Newport Symphony Orchestra.
Stiers was born at St. Francis Hospital in Peoria, Illinois, on Halloween 1942, and grew up in Peoria Heights, Chillicothe, and Urbana, Illinois. He attended Urbana High School as a freshman and sophomore where one of his classmates was Roger Ebert. Stiers’ family moved to Eugene, Oregon, where he graduated from North Eugene High School, and briefly attended the University of Oregon, before enrolling at the Juilliard School in New York City, from where he graduated in 1972.
Stiers subsequently moved to San Francisco, where he performed with the California Shakespeare Theater, San Francisco Actors Workshop, and the improv group The Committee, whose members included Rob Reiner, Howard Hesseman, and Peter Bonerz. In California, he worked for the Santa Clara Shakespeare Festival for seven years. Stiers relocated to New York City in the 1960s to study at the Juilliard School (Drama Division Group 1: 1968–1972). During his studies, Stiers was mentored by actor John Houseman, whose City Center Acting Company he later joined.
Stiers came out as gay in 2009.