Star of the popular sitcom Murphy Brown, Charles Kimbrough, has sadly passed away at the age of 86 on Wednesday, January 11.
His son, John Kimbrough, recently confirmed his father’s death to The New York Times.
Born May 23, 1936, Kimbrough studied theatre and drama at Indiana University Bloomington, graduating in 1958. He went on to earn a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Yale University’s School of Drama.
Kimbrough began his acting career in the late 1960s and early 1970s with appearances in plays such as Georges Feydeau’s Cat Among the Pigeons and Jules Feiffer’s The White House Murder Case with the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.
In 1971, he was nominated for a Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical as Harry in Stephen Sondheim’s Company. In 1984, he performed in the original Broadway cast of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George and in 1985 starred in the original Off-Broadway production of A.R. Gurney’s comedy Sylvia.
Throughout the ’70s, Kimbrough also appeared in a series of Chef Boyardee Spaghetti & Meatballs commercials.
Kimbrough’s most iconic role came in 1988 when he was cast as veteran news anchor Jim Dial for the CBS sitcom Murphy Brown.
The series ran for 10 seasons and featured 247 episodes, earning 17 Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes. For his role, Kimbrough was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1990.
Kimbrough reprised the role in 2018 when the series was revived.
As news broke of Kimbrough’s passing, fans from near and far took to social media to pay tribute to the late star while reflecting on his impressive career.
RIP Charles Kimbrough, nominated for a TONY as the original Harry in Company, where he first sang Sorry/Grateful, the song that made me a Sondheim fan. pic.twitter.com/eLwvSD6rDI
— Helen Kennedy ???? (@HelenKennedy) February 5, 2023
Sad to learn that #Emmy-Nominated #CharlesKimbrough, best-known for his Role as #JimDial on TV’s #MurphyBrown, has passed away at age 86. He was well-known to the #Broadway Community, too, having performed in 15 Shows, earning a @TheTonyAwards-Nomination for #Company, in 1970. pic.twitter.com/BRgqdeGnCl
— ???? i????how????unes ???? (@iShowTunes) February 5, 2023
#MurphyBrown star Charles Kimbrough made a name for himself on Broadway in #Sondheim musicals – Company & Sunday In The Part With George! Here is sings like his character, using his musical theater background. Backed up by Oscar nom/5x Emmy Winner #CandiceBergen – Wait for it… pic.twitter.com/ZPLHdCnSqH
— The Murphy Brown Podcast (@murphybrownpod) January 13, 2022
The news of #CharlesKimbrough’s (“Murphy Brown’s” Jim Dial) passing saddens me enormously. He and his marvelous lady, “Alice’s” #BethHowland, made room for me at their table at a CBS press event years ago — and we had a lovely evening. May both wonderful people Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/2mqY64gMBu
— Jay Bobbin (@JayBobbin1) February 5, 2023
#RIP Charles Kimbrough, so good on ‘Murphy Brown.’ Said Diane English: “When he came to read, he brought it all: ramrod posture, anchor voice, slick-back hair. He brought a credibility to the character. We didn’t want a Ted Baxter version of this guy.” https://t.co/Kh478MV1Fg
— Mike Barnes (@MikeBarnes4) February 5, 2023
RIP Charles Kimbrough, 86. Like Melinda Dillon, he was famous for a key role later in his career (Jim Dial on “Murphy Brown”) but had huge Broadway success early on (“Company”). https://t.co/xjAtW2W2mS Also … commercials! pic.twitter.com/Y86VEnO4qs
— Matthew Rettenmund (@mattrett) February 5, 2023
R.I.P. to actor Charles Kimbrough of “Murphy Brown” fame. We learned today he passed away January 11th at the age of 86. He earned an Emmy nomination for the show and, two decades earlier, he got a Tony nomination for the Broadway musical, “Company.” He was a class act. pic.twitter.com/WmXBfswHPK
— George Pennacchio (@abc7george) February 5, 2023
Kimbrough is survived by his sister, Linda Kimbrough, son, John Kimbrough, and stepdaughter, Holly Howland.