David Ogden Stiers, who played Major Charles Winchester in “M*A*S*H,” has revealed he is gay.
In an interview with the blog Gossip-Boy.com, he said: “I am [gay]. Very proud to be so.”
He said his success as a voice actor had prevented him from coming out sooner, saying he had feared his sexuality would not be well-received in the family entertainment business.
“I enjoy working and even though many have this idealistic belief that the entertainment industry and studios like Walt Disney are gay friendly, [they weren’t always],” he said.
“For the most part they are, but that doesn’t mean for them that business does not come first. It’s a matter of economics…A lot of my income has been derived from voicing Disney and family programming. What they might allow in a more known actor, they prefer not having to deal with in minor players.
“From the late 1980s until about seven or eight years ago, you would find certain individuals coming up to you, me, and advocating the position that since we were doing family fare that it would be best were the actors to maintain a certain palatability to parents,” Ogden Stiers said.
“These parties likely had heard rumours or harboured suspicions about me and wanted to make sure no embarrassing incidents were forthcoming.”
However, he said the problem may have been his own fears, rather than outside pressure.
“Many of my fears were in modern times self-invented. I’ve been working internally on whether they were the problem or if I just continued using them as an excuse long after the call for conservative private lives passed,” he explained.
Ogden Stiers appeared in M*A*S*H for six years, gaining two Emmy nominations. He did not appear in the show’s spin-off, AfterMASH, instead playing a variety of roles.
He enjoyed a second wave of success as a voice actor, playing Cogsworth in Disney film Beauty and the Beast, along with characters in Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.