BELOVED actor David Ogden Stiers has passed away at the age of 75 after a battle with bladder cancer.
The M*A*S*H star’s death was confirmed by his agent Mitchell Stubbs, who told The Oregonian he died peacefully at his home in Newport, Oregon.
Stiers is best known for his role as the arrogant aristocrat and surgeon Major Charles Winchester on the iconic military sitcom.
The Advertiser reports,
He joined the M*A*S*H cast in 1977 following the departure of the show’s Frank Burns character, starring opposite Alan Alda and Mike Farrell.
Stiers earned two Emmy nominations for the role, in 1981 and 1982.
He also voiced Cogsworth in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Jumba in Lilo & Stitch.
His early television credits include stints on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Charlie’s Angels and Kojak.
He also appeared on the drama The Dead Zone as Reverend Gene Purdy and was also known for the role of District Attorney Michael Reston in several Perry Mason TV movies.
In an interview in 2009, Stiers revealed he was gay and “very proud to be so”.
He had kept his sexuality secret for decades because he was concerned that coming out would harm his acting career.
“I wish to spend my life’s twilight being just who I am,” ABC News reported him as saying in a 2009 interview.
“I could claim noble reasons as coming out in order to move gay rights forward, but I must admit it is for far more selfish reasons.
“Now is the time I wish to find someone, and I do not desire to force any potential partner to live a life of extreme discretion with me.”
The actor was also the resident conductor of the Newport Symphony and had guest conducted for more than 70 orchestras around the world.
Social media has been flooded with tributes to the star, with fans expressing their shock and sadness over his death.
It has been reported that Stiers is survived by a son.
Rip david odgen stiers you will be missed.
— diane (@dianepatsgirl) March 4, 2018
— Benjamin J. Roethig (@benroethig) March 4, 2018
David Odgen Stiers what a great actor. Colonel Winchester, one of the greatest TV characters all time and David brought so much to that role. RIP, thank you for sharing your gifts with us.
— David Kuenstle (@Davidkuenstle) March 4, 2018