Charles Kimbrough, a stage and screen actor best known for his performance as anchorman Jim Dial on the CBS comedy series “Murphy Brown,” died Jan. 11 in Culver City, Calif. He was 86 years old.
Kimbrough’s death was confirmed to the New York Times by his son, John Kimbrough.
A celebrated theater actor who earned a Tony Award nomination for his performance as Harry in the original 1970 Broadway production of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Company,” Kimbrough’s talents reached the mainstream in the late-’80s, starring alongside Candice Bergen on the newsroom sitcom “Murphy Brown.” Kimbrough earned an Emmy nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series in 1990 for the show’s second season.
Kimbrough played the comically conservative Jim Dial throughout the original run of “Murphy Brown,” serving as a main cast member for all 10 seasons. He later reprised the role for a handful of episodes in the 2018 revival of the series.
Born May 23, 1936 in St. Paul, Minn., Kimbrough was largely raised in Highland Park, Ill., near Chicago. He majored in music and theater at Indiana University, later receiving a master’s at the Yale School of Drama.
Kimbrough’s breakthrough as an actor came with the original production of “Company.” He appeared as two characters in Sondheim’s later musical, “Sunday in the Park With George,” which opened in 1984. Other notable stage credits include “Candide,” “Same Time, Next Year,” “Accent on Youth” and “The Merchant of Venice.” More recently, Kimbrough featured alongside Jim Parsons in the 2012 revival of “Harvey.”
Kimbrough also featured in the 1996 animated film “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” voicing the gargoyle Victor.
In 1991, Kimbrough divorced his first wife, Mary Jane (Wilson) Kimbrough. In 2002, he married Beth Howland, a fellow actor who featured opposite him in “Company” and featured in the ’70s comedy series “Alice.” Beth Howland died in 2015.
In addition to his son, Kimbrough is survived by his sister, Linda Kimbrough, and his stepdaughter, Holly Howland.