Murphy Brown's Straight-Laced News Anchor Dead at 86

Charles Kimbrough played Jim Dial for 10 seasons
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 6, 2023 1:52 AM CST
Murphy Brown 's Straight-Laced News Anchor Dead at 86
FILE - The original Broadway cast of "Sunday in the Park with George," Mandy Patinkin, Charles Kimbrough, top left, and Bernadette Peters, bottom right, join director James Lapine and composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, top right, at the Lyceum Theater in New York, Saturday, May 14, 1994.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Charles Kimbrough, a Tony- and Emmy-nominated actor who played a straight-laced news anchor opposite Candice Bergen on Murphy Brown, died Jan. 11 in Culver City, California. He was 86, the AP reports. Kimbrough played newsman Jim Dial across the 10 seasons of CBS' hit sitcom between 1988 and 1998, earning an Emmy nomination in 1990 for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series. He reprised the role for three episodes in the 2018 reboot. The New York Times first reported his death and his son and agents confirmed it Sunday to The Associated Press.

“Whether on stage or in front of the camera he was a joy to behold,” said SMS Talent, Inc., the talent agency that represented Kimbrough. The agency said the actor died of natural causes in a hospital. Kimbrough's wife, actor Beth Howland who played diner server Vera on the 1970s and ’80s CBS sitcom Alice, died in 2016. They married in 2002, more than a decade after his 1991 divorce from his first wife, Mary Jane (Wilson) Kimbrough, who died in 2007. SMS Talent said Kimbrough is survived by a sister, Linda Kimbrough, a son, John Kimbrough, a stepdaughter, Holly Howland, and a granddaughter, Cody.

Born May 23, 1936, Kimbrough spent years in the New York theater scene. He was nominated for a Tony in 1971 for his Broadway performance in the Stephen Sondheim musical Company. Kimbrough also lent his voice to a gargoyle named Victor in Disney's animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

(More obituary stories.)

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