David Ogden Stiers

David Ogden Stiers
David Ogden Stiers
Born October 31, 1942 (1942-10-31) (age 69)
Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
Education North Eugene High School
Alma mater University of Oregon
Occupation Actor, director, narrator, vocal actor
Years active 1971–present

David Ogden Stiers (born October 31, 1942) is an American actor, director, vocal actor, and musician, noted for his roles in Disney movies, as well as his performances in the television series M*A*S*H as Major Charles Emerson Winchester III and the science fiction drama The Dead Zone as Reverend Gene Purdy. He is also known for the role of Attorney Michael Reston in the Perry Mason TV movies.


Early life

Stiers was born in Peoria, Illinois, the son of Margaret Elizabeth (née Ogden) and Kenneth Truman Stiers.[1] He attended Urbana High School, at the same time as film critic Roger Ebert.[2] He later relocated to Eugene, Oregon, where he graduated from North Eugene High School and briefly attended the University of Oregon.[3] He later ventured 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 and Howard Hesseman. Soon after, Stiers studied drama at Juilliard. During his studies, Stiers was mentored by accomplished theater actor John Houseman and would later join his City Center Acting Company.


Early acting credits

Stiers first appeared in the Broadway production The Magic Show in 1974 in the minor role of Feldman. Later his early credits include The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Kojak, and Rhoda. Stiers also appeared in the pilot of Charlie’s Angels as the team's chief back-up.[4]

M*A*S*H (1977–1983)

In 1977, Stiers joined the cast of the now iconic CBS-TV sitcom M*A*S*H. As Major Charles Emerson Winchester III, Stiers filled the void created by the departure of actor Larry Linville's Frank Burns character. In contrast to the buffoonish Burns, Winchester was a well-spoken and talented surgeon who presented a different type of foil to Alan Alda's Hawkeye Pierce and Mike Farrell's B.J. Hunnicutt. Burns usually served as the butt of practical jokes instigated by Hawkeye or B.J., and his surgical skills were often harshly criticized. Charles, however, presented a challenge to his colleagues' displays of irreverence because his surgical skills could match or even outshine theirs; his aristocratic manner and aversion to the puerile behavior served as the target for his fellow surgeons' barbs and jokes. For his portrayal of the pompous but nonetheless multidimensional Boston aristocrat, Stiers received two Emmy Award nominations.

Other television work

Following the completion of M*A*S*H, Stiers expanded his work on television with regular guest appearances on North and South; Star Trek: The Next Generation; Murder, She Wrote; Touched By An Angel; Wings; and Frasier, along with a recurring role in Season 1 of Two Guys and a Girl as Mr. Bauer. In 1984, he portrayed United States Olympic Committee founder, William Milligan Sloane in the NBC miniseries, The First Olympics: Athens, 1896. He also had guest appearances on ALF and Matlock. He appeared in two unsuccessful television projects, Love & Money and Justice League of America (as the Martian Manhunter). In 2002, Stiers started a recurring role as the Reverend Purdy on the successful USA Network show The Dead Zone with Anthony Michael Hall. In 2006, he was cast as the recurring character Oberoth in Stargate Atlantis. Stiers also appeared in several Perry Mason made-for-TV movies in the 1980s as District Attorney Michael Reston.

Film work

Stiers's early films included Jack Nicholson’s Drive, He Said and the George Burns comedy Oh, God! He followed up with roles in Harry's War, Better Off Dead, The Man With One Red Shoe, The Accidental Tourist, Iron Will, Doc Hollywood, Jungle 2 Jungle, and Krippendorf's Tribe. During the 1990s, Stiers joined Woody Allen’s ensemble casts in Another Woman, Shadows and Fog, Mighty Aphrodite, Everyone Says I Love You, and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. His most recent film appearance was in the 2001 film The Majestic, with Jim Carrey. He also voiced the character Kamaji in Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away and the engineer Piccolo in Porco Rosso.

Vocal work

Stiers has provided voice work for dozens of film and television projects. His first work was on one of George Lucas’ earliest films, the critically acclaimed THX 1138, in which he was incorrectly billed as "David Ogden Steers". Stiers has voiced PBS documentary films such as Ric Burns’ project New York: A Documentary Film and several episodes of the documentary television series The American Experience,[5] including Ansel Adams (2002), also directed by Ric Burns. In 1992, he voiced Mr. Piccolo in the animated English-dubbed version of Porco Rosso. Furthermore, he has collaborated with Disney on eight animated features, such as Beauty and the Beast (as Cogsworth, also opening narration), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (as the Archdeacon), Pocahontas (as Governor Ratcliffe and Wiggins), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (as Mr. Harcourt), and Lilo and Stitch (as Jumba Jookiba). He also voiced Gryzlikoff in Darkwing Duck and Mr. Jolly in Teacher's Pet. He also voiced the king and prime minister in a short film, The Cat That Looked at a King, in 2004. In recent years, Stiers has lent his voice to several video games, including Icewind Dale, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, as Jeff Zandi in Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, and as Esher in Myst V: End of Ages. He also lent his voice in Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman as the Penguin. He also voiced Pop's father, Mr. Maellard in the cartoon Regular Show.


Stiers is the associate conductor for the Newport Symphony Orchestra and the Ernest Bloch Music Festival.[6] He has guest conducted over 70 orchestras around the world, including the Oregon Mozart Players, the Vancouver Symphony, the Yaquina (Ore.) Chamber Orchestra, as well as orchestras in San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto.[7][8][9]


  1. ^ "Film Reference bio". http://www.filmreference.com/film/94/David-Ogden-Stiers.html. 
  2. ^ "David Ogden Stiers Unofficial website – David Ogden Stiers Fan Tribute site". http://davidogdenstiers.com/bio/index.shtml. 
  3. ^ "USA Network's Five Questions With David Ogden Stiers". http://www.usanetwork.com/series/thedeadzone/seejohnnysworld/fivequestionsfor/stiers.html. 
  4. ^ "Hollywood Dot Com Biography". http://www.hollywood.com/celebrity/David_Ogden_Stiers/189878#full. 
  5. ^ "Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film". http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/ansel/filmmore/filmcredits.html. 
  7. ^ "Mozart would be 250; calls for a party". The Register - Guard (Eugene, Or): p. C1. January 19, 2006. 
  9. ^ Hooper, Barrett (Mar 06 , 2002). "David Ogden Stiers' second great love: With more than 120 credits to his name, including six years of M*A*S*H, you might think he would want to direct. No. He wants to conduct. Tomorrow, in Toronto, he will". National Post (Don Mills, Ont): p. 4. 

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