A Farewell to Two Supporting Stars

This past week, two highly talented actors who shone in supporting parts passed away. 

Emma Chambers, born in 1964 in Doncaster, England, was best known to some people for Notting Hill (1999) as the kooky younger sister of Hugh Grant’s character. But to me, she’ll always be the lovably dense Alice Tinker on The Vicar of Dibley (1994-2007). In the clip above, Dawn French tries to tell her a joke; Alice’s inability to understand jokes became a running gag throughout the series.

Chambers did mostly theater and television. In a 2002 interview for The Independent, she mentioned how Ian McKellen was sort of a father figure to her, and that unlike sweet, naive Alice she was a “cynical old bitch”. She sounds like a wonderful human being. And she will be missed; Hugh Grant took some time off from his busy schedule of tweeting about Murdoch and the Leveson Inquiry to say the following:

The other talent is David Ogden Stiers who died yesterday at the age of 75. There is no question that we’ll primarily remember him for M*A*S*H, where he played Major Charles Winchester, the aristocratic surgeon who joined the show in 1977 and became a more interesting foe to Alan Alda’s laidback Hawkeye than the man he replaced, Frank Burns (Larry Linville). The clip above shows a very touching scene with Winchester from the series finale of M*A*S*H.

Born in Illinois, Stiers was a very versatile actor who was mentored by John Houseman. After starting out in theater, he appeared on various TV shows before landing the role of Winchester. He was Emmy-nominated twice for his work on M*A*S*H and he continued getting good roles on TV after its cancellation.

He also became a sought-after voice talent. His most famous role in that field is Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast (1991). Stiers returned to Disney in 1995 for Pocahontas, where he performed a very entertaining musical number together with Mel Gibson called “Mine, Mine, Mine”. Check out the clip above. Stiers didn’t just sing; he also became famous as a conductor. 

The news of Stiers’s passing obviously made Alan Alda feel nostalgic:

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