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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

David Ogden Stiers

The great film critics, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were discussing James Bond and super hero movies several years ago.  They agreed on one point:  If you have a good villain, you have a good movie.

The concept is transferable to stage and television.

On M*A*S*H, of course, the Korean War was the biggest villain, but characters in the 4077th also filled the role.

When the writers ran out of things to do with Frank Burns, played magnificently by Larry Linville, David Ogden Stiers was added to the cast.  Major Charles Emerson Winchester was no Frank Burns.  The comedy came from Winchester not fitting in and his snooty attitude.  I'll give the producers credit for not creating a Frank Burns clone to fill the role.

Villain?  Not totally, but just enough.

David Ogden Stiers died Saturday.  Bladder cancer.  75.

He was more than M*A*S*H.  If you have the time, look up Stiers' career on IMDB.com.  It's an impressive list-- and that included voice work.  Stiers had a set of pipes.

By the way, the M*A*S*H finale aired 35 years ago at the end of February.

If you have cable or satellite television, chances are you can find a M*A*S*H episode somewhere, 24/7.  That's not a complaint.  I'm a huge fan of the early years.  However, you can't deny that David Ogden Stiers brought a lot to the table.