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Charles Kimbrough, Murphy Brown Actor, Dies At 86

Charles Kimbrough, best known for his appearance as anchorman Jim Dial on "Murphy Brown," has died. He was 86. The Emmy-nominated actor died on January 11. His son, Jim Kimbrough, confirmed the death to The New York Times.

Audiences around the world fell in love with Kimbrough when he chewed up scenes in "Murphy Brown" as the sarcastic and hilarious Jim Dial, who was frequently at odds with the titular character. Kimbrough would later return as Dial for the 2018 revival series. In a 1992 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kimbrough expressed how grateful he was to have landed the role of Dial in the CBS series. "Frankly, to be honest, I hadn't worked for two years before 'Murphy Brown' ... I had to pray for a job like this. It was going to get me over this bumpy patch in my middle years," he said.

While audiences primarily know Kimbrough for his hilarious "Murphy Brown" role, the actor began to make a name for himself on the stage. 1971 saw him join Stephen Sondheim's original production of "Company." Starring as Harry, Kimbrough nabbed himself a Tony nod. Kimbrough would later join Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park with George" during its 1984 Broadway debut. Kimbrough continued to appear in productions well into his 70s, joining Jim Parsons in the Broadway revival of "Harvey" in 2012. In a 1990 interview with the Sun Sentinel, Kimbrough described how important working on Broadway was to him. "It was always my dream that I would be working on Broadway, and one night Olivier would come backstage and tell me how wonderful I was," the actor said. Kimbrough, however, did more than just appear on Broadway during his lengthy and varied career. 

Charles Kimbrough was more than just Murphy Brown's Jim Dial

Though Kimbrough's legacy as a thespian is cemented through his work on "Murphy Brown" and Broadway, there's much more to the actor than casual fans might realize. The actor nabbed the recurring role of "Victor" in Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" franchise. He returned as the gargoyle in the 2002 direct-to-video sequel. His tenure as Victor didn't end there, however. Kimbrough would later go on to voice the "Notre Dame" supporting player in Disney and Square Enix's widely popular video game franchise "Kingdom Hearts". Kimbrough, per IMDB, voiced Victor in the prolific series' "Dream Drop Distance." His other animated credits included spoofing his "Murphy Brown" character in "Family Guy," appearing as Mort Chalk in Disney's "Recess" franchise, and dropping by for an episode of "Batman Beyond."

He also appearedin  the Jennifer Lopez rom-com "The Wedding Planner" and the Damon Wayans-starring "Marci X." "In a 2012 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Kimbrough opened up about how he had become typecast as a "stiff-guy." "I somehow gave off an impression at an audition that had them mentally put me in a three-piece suit or put an attaché case in my hand," he said. "That wasn't the response I wanted. I was in anguish." Ultimately, as his career progressed, Kimbrough found himself appreciating his little niche as an actor. "I learned to take the parts I was getting and make the most out of them that I could."