Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Godspeed Charles Kimbrough

Charles Kimbrough, who played stuffy anchorman Jim Dial on the classic sitcom Murphy Brown, died on January 11 2023 at the age of 86.

Charles Kimbrough was born on May 23 1936 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended Indiana University Bloomington, majoring in theatre and drama, and then received  a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Yale University's School of Drama. In 1964 he made his television debut, appearing on the soap opera Another World. In the late Sixties and early Seventies he was part of the the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.

Charles Kimbrough made his debut on Broadway in the production Cop Out in 1969. He also appeared on Broadway in Company from 1970 to 1972. He was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Company.

In the Seventies he appeared on Broadway in Candide; Love for Love; The Rules of the Game; Same Time, Next Year; Secret Service; Boy Meets Girl; The Water Engine/Mr. Happiness; and One Night Stand. He made his movie debut in 1976 in The Front. During the Seventies he appeared in the films The Sentinel (1977), The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979), Starting Over (1979), and It's My Turn (1980). He guest starred on the TV show Kojak.

It was in 1988 that he began playing Jim Dial, the staid anchor of FYI on Murphy Brown. He appeared in every episode of the series. He was nominated for the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1990. In the Eighties he also guest starred on the shows Great Performances, All My Children, Tales of the Unexpected, American Playhouse, Spenser: For Hire, and Hothouse. He appeared in the movies Switching Channels (1988) and The Good Mother (1988). He appeared on Broadway in Sunday in the Park with George and Hay Fever.

In the Nineties Charles Kimbrough continued to appear on Murphy Brown. He guest starred on the TV shows Dinosaurs, Mighty Max, Piny and the Brain, Love Boat: The Next Wave, Hercules, Recess, Family Guy, The Angry Beavers, and Batman Beyond. He was the voice of Victor on the animated featured film The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

In the Naughts Mr. Kimbrough appeared on Broadway in Accent on Youth and The Merchant of Venice. He appeared in the movies The Wedding Planner (2001) and Marci X (2003). He guest starred on the TV show Ally McBeal. In the Teens he appeared on Broadway in a revival of Harvey. It was in 2018 that he reprised his role as Jim Dial on the revival of Murphy Brown.

Charles Kimbrough consistently gave great performances as Jim Dial on Murphy Brown, and it is shocking that he was nominated only once for an Emmy for the role. He should have not only been nominated many more times, but he should have won. Of course, he played many other roles besides Jim Dial. He had a highly successful career on Broadway, and made various guest appearances on television shows. In animated projects he played everything from the gargoyle Victor The Hunchback of Notre Dame to bumbling network executive Sandy Dreckman on the Pinky and the Brain episode "You'll Never Eat Food Pellets in This Town Again!." Charles Kimbrough was wonderful actor with great deal of versatility.

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