Ouch. Two Winchester moments stand out and they have everything to do with music: The one when he convinces the wounded soldier to play the Ravel. And before that the look on his face when he learns that the soldier was a pianist. Let's just say Mr. Stiers was brilliant.
The second is near the end of the big final ep when he discovers the face of the dead casualty. "Oh God, no...He wasn't even a soldier." His glare while suppressing unspeakable grief. Understated but devastating. He puts on the Mozart record and a few seconds later slams it and shatters it into pieces. Again, all brilliant.
The episode I remember most of him and his character was when he was struggling with what happens after death. Winchester almost became obsessed with finding out and he played it superbly.
The character of “Charles Emerson Winchester III” (David Ogden Stiers) was brought in to the television series “M*A*S*H” to fill the void created by the departure of actor Larry Linville's “Frank Burns” character. Winchester was an antagonist of sorts to the other surgeons, but his relationship with them was not as acrimonious, although he was a more able foil. Unlike Frank Burns, Winchester did not care for the Army. His resentment stemmed, in part, from the fact that he was transferred from Tokyo General Hospital to the 4077th due, in part, to a cribbage debt owed to him by his commanding officer. What set him apart from Burns as an antagonist for “Hawkeye” (Alan Alda) and “B.J.” (Mike Farrell) was that Winchester was clearly an excellent, technically superior surgeon, although his work sometimes suffered from his excessive perfectionism when rapid "meatball surgery" was called for. As with many new MASH surgeons, Winchester took some time to wrap his head around the fact that faster, less precise work saved lives that more elegant, slower work might cost. Winchester, however, presented a challenge to his colleagues' displays of irreverence, because when it came to pranks and insults, he could give as good as he got.
Winchester was respected by the others professionally, but at the same time, as a Boston blue blood, he was also snobbish, as when he stated in the scrub room, "I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and then I move on," which drove much of his conflict with the other characters. Still, the show's writers occasionally allowed Winchester's humanity to shine through, such as in his dealings with a young concert pianist who had partially lost the use of his right hand; the protection of a stuttering soldier from the bullying of other soldiers (it is revealed later that Winchester's sister Honoria stutters); his keeping a vigil with Hawkeye when Hawkeye's father went into surgery back in the States ("Sons and Bowlers"); his willingness to be officer of the day for Hawkeye when Hawkeye was offered three days in Seoul; giving blood to a patient even though he already donated blood five days earlier; or his continuing a family tradition of anonymously giving Christmas treats to an orphanage.
Winchester subjects himself to condemnation after realizing that "it is sadly inappropriate to offer dessert to a child who has had no meal." Isolating himself, he is saved by “Klinger's” (Jamie Farr) own gift of understanding. Klinger scrapes together a Christmas dinner for Charles, with the proviso that the source of the gift remain anonymous (Klinger had overheard Winchester's argument with the manager of the orphanage). For the final moment of the episode ("Death Takes a Holiday"), the two are simply friends as Charles says, "Thank you, Max," and Klinger replies, "Merry Christmas, Charles."
David Ogden Stiers, Harry Morgan, and William Christopher
In the series finale "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen", Charles comes across a group of Chinese musicians who surrender to him. When Charles takes them back to the camp as prisoners of war and later listens to his record of Mozart's Quintet in A major for Clarinet and Strings, the musicians attempt to play the piece of music. Charles, ever the perfectionist, cannot stand to hear them play the piece incorrectly (and is impressed that they can even attempt to play the music after only hearing it once) and spends the next week conducting them on how to play the piece properly. During this time, Charles is forced to use the little patience that he rarely shows. When the Chinese musicians are taken off to a prisoner of war camp in a prisoner exchange to Charles' dismay and protest, their final goodbye to Charles is the Mozart piece played correctly. Later, one of the musicians returns to the camp mortally wounded on a Jeep. When Charles inquires as to where the other musicians are, it's revealed that the truck the musicians were on was ambushed and that there were no other survivors. In a combination of shock and disbelief, Charles returns to The Swamp to listen to the Mozart record, but removes the record and smashes it in anger. Later still on the final night that everyone at the MASH is together, Charles says that before the war, music was a stress reliever to him, but because of the Chinese musicians and their fate, music will forever be a reminder of the horrors of war.
David Ogden Stiers appeared on “M*A*S*H” from 1977 to the show's conclusion in 1983, a total of anywhere from 131 to 137 episodes (sources vary). Stiers received two Emmy Nominations as “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series.” In 1981, he lost to Danny DeVito for “Taxi,” and in 1982 he lost to Christopher Lloyd for “Taxi.”
The cast of “M*A*S*H” (1980 – 1983) l. to r.: Mike Farrell, William Christopher, Harry Morgan, Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr, and David Ogden Stiers
In THE MAN WITH ONE RED SHOE, David Ogden Stiers played the conductor of the symphony orchestra in which "Richard Drew" (Tom Hanks) played violin. Stiers didn't just portray a classical music lover on film. In real life, he worked as a guest conductor with several symphony orchestras. Stan Dragoti directed this 1985 comedy thriller. Thomas Newman's score has not had a release.
David Ogden Stiers co-starred with John Cusack in the 1985 comedy BETTER OF DEAD.... Cusack plays "Lane Myer," a high-school student who is dumped by his girlfriend (Amanda Wyss) after trying out for a ski competition. Ogden Steirs plays Lane's father, "Al," and received his first poster credit. Savage Steve Holland directed the film. Rupert Hine provided the score and a few songs for the film, which appeared on an A&M Records LP/CD.
Peter O'Toole played "Dr. Harry Wolper," an eccentric university scientist trying to clone his deceased wife in the 1985 romantic comedy CREATOR. Ivan Passer directed the film, in which David Ogden Stiers played Harry’s rival colleague, "Dr. Sid Kuhlenbeck." Sylvester Levay's score for the film has not had a release.
In the epic mini-series NORTH AND SOUTH (1985) and its sequel NORTH AND SOUTH, BOOK II (1986), David Ogden Stiers played "Congressman Sam Greene," who has an affair with abolitionist "Virgilia Hazard" (Kirstie Alley). Douglas Heyes directed the initial 6-part series, while Kevin Connor directed the second 6 parts. Bill Conti's score for both series was released by Varese Sarabande in 2008.
David Ogden Stiers, Kirstie Alley, and Robert Guillaume in NORTH AND SOUTH
In 1985, Raymond Burr returned to television to reprise his character of "Perry Mason" in a series of television movies, beginning with the appropriately titled PERRY MASON RETURNS. Starting with the second film, in 1986, David Ogden Stiers began making regular appearances in the films as "District Attorney Michael Reston." Ogden Stiers' first appearance came in PERRY MASON: THE CASE OF THE NOTORIOUS NUN, which aired in May 1986. Ron Satlof directed the NBC film, which had music by Dick DeBenedictis, along with Fred Steiner's original Perry Mason theme.
David Ogden Stiers reprised his role of "D.A. Michael Reston" in the third PERRY MASON television film, THE CASE OF THE SHOOTING STAR, which aired on 9 November 1986. Again, Ron Satlof directed and Dick DeBenedictis scored.
David Ogden Stiers reprised his role of "D.A. Michael Reston" in the fourth PERRY MASON television film, THE CASE OF THE LOST LOVE, which aired on 23 February 1987. Again, Ron Satlof directed and Dick DeBenedictis scored.
David Ogden Stiers reprised his role of "D.A. Michael Reston" in the fifth PERRY MASON television film, THE CASE OF THE SINISTER SPIRIT, which aired on 24 May 1987. This time, Richard Lang directed and Dick DeBenedictis scored.
David Ogden Stiers reprised his role of "D.A. Michael Reston" in the sixth PERRY MASON television film, THE CASE OF THE MURDERED MADAM, which aired on 4 October 1987. Ron Satlof directed and Dick DeBenedictis scored.
David Ogden Stiers reprised his role of "D.A. Michael Reston" in the seventh PERRY MASON television film, THE CASE OF THE SCANDALOUS SCOUNDREL, which aired on 15 November 1987. Christian I. Nyby II came in to direct, and Dick DeBenedictis scored.
David Ogden Stiers reprised his role of "D.A. Michael Reston" in the eighth PERRY MASON television film, THE CASE OF THE AVENGING ACE, which aired on 28 February 1988. Christian I. Nyby II directed, and Dick DeBenedictis scored.
David Ogden Stiers reprised his role of "D.A. Michael Reston" for the final time in the ninth PERRY MASON television film (Ogden Stiers' eighth), THE CASE OF THE LADY IN THE LAKE, which aired on 15 May 1988. Ron Satlof directed, and Dick DeBenedictis scored.
David Ogden Stiers was part of the ensemble cast in Woody Allen's 1988 drama ANOTHER WOMAN. The film focuses on fifty-year-old philosophy professor "Marion Post" (Gena Rowlands). John Houseman plays Marion's father. In a flashback scene, "Young Marion" is played by Margaret Marx, and her father is played by David Ogden Stiers. So, Ogden Stiers is playing the younger John Houseman. In that scene, Ogden Stiers is shown telling his son (Stephen Mailer) to work in a cardboard factory so that Marion can go to college. In typical Allen fashion, the film had a needle-drop score of classical music and old standards. It appears as an isolated score track on the 2017 Twilight Time Blu-ray release of the film.
In THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, an emotionally distant writer of travel guides, "Macon Leary" (William Hurt), must carry on with his life after his son is killed and his marriage crumbles. When Macon breaks his leg, in order to recover from his injury, he moves into his childhood home with his reclusive siblings: sister, "Rose" (Amy Wright), and brothers, "Porter" (David Ogden Stiers) and "Charles" (Ed Begley, Jr.). Lawrence Kasdan directed this 1988 drama. John Williams' Oscar-nominated score was released on a hard-to-find Warner Bros. CD at the time of the film's release. It was re-issued by Film Score Monthly in 2008.
Walt Disney's 1991 animated film BEAUTY AND THE BEAST begins with voice-over narration by David Ogden Stiers, recounting how the “Beast” was once a spoiled, young prince who turned away a “beautiful enchantress” disguised as a beggar woman in need of shelter. According to the enchantress’s spell, the Beast was required to fall in love with someone, and win her love in return, before his twenty-first birthday, or he would remain a Beast forever.
In the film, Ogden Stiers is also the voice of "Cogsworth" the clock, although he originally auditioned for "Lumiere," the talking candlestick. The last phrase of Cogsworth's line "Flowers, chocolates, promises you don't intend to keep... " was ad-libbed by Ogden Stiers.
Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise directed the film. The songs and score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman have had numerous releases, the most recent of which was the Disney Legacy Collection just last month.
In DOC HOLLYWOOD a young doctor (Michael J. Fox) causes a traffic accident in a small South Carolina town and is sentenced to work for some days at the town hospital. David Ogden Stiers plays the town's mayor, "Nick Nicholson." Michael Caton-Jones directed this 1991 comedy-drama. Carter Burwell's score was released by Varese Sarabande.