David Ogden Stiers


David Ogden Stiers, who played the fabulously snotty, secretly fragile Charles Emerson Winchester III in M*A*S*H, has died. God, I loved that show with its brilliant word play and unrestrained self-righteous liberalism. Winchester, of all the main protagonists, was perhaps the only unapologetic Republican in the 4077th (Margaret Houlihan started that way, but softened considerably as the show matured); and yet, because of the depth David Ogden Stiers brought to the characterisation, not to mention his fabulous comic tone and timing, he was always my favourite. I saw a little piece of myself in Winchester too, with his habit of taking refuge from the world in music and the sublimities of art. We did it for different reasons, but there were many times when I too would sit alone in the tent listening to Dylan or Ginsberg while people lived and laughed on the other side of the canvas.

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