Charles Kimbrough, best known for playing news anchor Jim Dial on Murphy Brown, has tragically died at the age of 86. According to the New York Times, his death was confirmed by his son, John Kimbrough.
Kimbrough spent the first few decades of his career on stage in New York City. He won a Tony nomination for his role in the 1970 Broadway production, Company, when he was cast in Murphy Brown.
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He also went on to appear in several TV guest spots, but it was Murphy Brown that marked his first time as a series regular. He went on to remain a regular member of the cast throughout the 10th season run, briefly appearing in the reboot in 2018.
In Murphy Brown, as well as other projects, he was typically cast as a stiff character, which he addressed in a 2012 interview with the Wall Street Journal. “Unfortunately, I’m really good at playing jackasses of one kind or another. I’ve always been slightly self-conscious as an actor, and I guess that sometimes reads as pomposity,” he stated.
“Starting when I was 30, I somehow gave off an impression at an audition that had them mentally put me in a three-piece suit or put an attaché case in my hand,” he noted. “If there was a stiff-guy part, the director would brighten up when I came in. That wasn’t the response I wanted. I was in anguish.”
Some of the actor’s other credits include TV shows Ally McBeal and Kojak, and in films The Wedding Planner, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which he voiced victor, one of the three gargoyles.
Despite having success in television, Kimbrough stated throughout his career that theater was his first love. He appeared in the 2012 revival of Harvey, Al Pacinos’ 2010 production of The Merchant of Venice and in Sunday in the Park With George, in both the 1984 production and the 1994 revival.
The actor was married to actress Beth Howland, who played waitress Vera Gorman in Alice from 2002 until her death in 2015.