He Played Jim Dial on "Murphy Brown." See Charles Kimbrough Now at 85.
The Emmy-winning actor reprised the role for the recent revival.
It's not every TV show that becomes a talking point in national politics, but that's exactly what happened with the iconic 1990s series Murphy Brown, starring Candice Bergen as an investigative journalist on a fictional television news show, when then-Vice President Dan Quayle criticized the show's "family values" because it portrayed Murphy as a happy single mother. Throughout the show's 10-season run, Charles Kimbrough played Jim Dial, a veteran news anchor who occasionally butted heads with his younger, upstart co-anchor. His expertise at playing the straight man earned him an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and he was one of only four cast members to appear in all 247 episodes of the show's initial run.
Though Murphy Brown made him a household name—and provided him a late-career chance to return to the spotlight when it was revived in 2018—Kimbrough's career encompasses much more than that single role. Keep reading to learn what he's been doing since the series first ended in 1998.
He found a second career as a voice actor.
After Murphy Brown went off the air, Kimbrough appeared occasionally in films and on television, acting in the movies The Wedding Planner and Marci X, and guest-starring on Love Boat: The Next Wave and Ally McBeal, but he he's worked much more often as a voice actor.
During the run of his hit sitcom and in the years since, he providing a guest voice for the Jim Henson series Dinosaurs and regularly voiced characters in a number of animated series, including Pinky and the Brain, Family Guy, and Batman Beyond.
He also worked on animated movies, including Disney's The Hunchback of Norte Dame and its sequel, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, and Recess: School's Out. He acted in the Disney-produced dub of the Japanese anime film Whisper of the Heart, written by revered animation master Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Ponyo). And he also voiced a character in the Kingdom Hearts video game series.
He was married to a star of another iconic sitcom.
In 2002, Kimbrough married another actor famous for being on a sitcom: Beth Howland, who played the clumsy waitress Vera Gorman on the hit show Alice, starring Linda Lavin, which ran from 1976 to 1985. Some three decades before they tied the knot, Kimbrough and Howland had both appeared in the same Broadway show. They were married until Howland's death from lung cancer in December 2015, though, at her request, Kimbrough didn't announce Howland's death publicly until May 2016.
"It was the Boston side of her personality coming out," Kimbrough said, as quoted in the actor's obituary in the New York Times. "She didn't want to make a fuss."
Previously, Kimbrough was married to Mary Jane Wilson from 1961 until 1991. They welcomed a son, John Kimbrough, who went on to be the founder of the alternative rock band Walt Mink.
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He returned to his first love, the theater.
In the years before he became famous for his role on Murphy Brown, Kimbrough was a successful stage actor, appearing in his first Off-Broadway role in 1961's All for Love and, in 1970, played Harry in the original cast of Stephen Sondheim's Company (where he met his future wife), earning a Tony nomination for the role. In 1984, he appeared in the original Broadway production of Sondheim's Sundays in the Park With George.
Years after Murphy Brown ended, Kimbrough again took to the stage, appearing in a New York City Center Encores! Production of No, No, Nanette and a New York Philharmonic staging of My Fair Lady starring Kelsey Grammer. He returned to Broadway in 2009's Accent on Youth alongside David Hyde Pierce.
He came back for the Murphy Brown reunion in 2018.
Twenty years after the original run of Murphy Brown ended, and in the wake of successful revivals of other '90s sitcoms like Will & Grace and Roseanne, CBS brought back the series for a 13-episode 11th season in 2018, and Kimbrough was on board. Eighty-one at the time, he was not well enough to appear in all of the episodes, according to Deadline, but he did appear in three. The revival was canceled after one season.