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Stiers, David Ogden (b. 1942)  
 
page: 1  2  

Meanwhile, Stiers had never abandoned film. Even while he was working on M*A*S*H, he performed in a number of features, and he subsequently appeared in numerous other motion pictures, including Lawrence Kasdan's The Accidental Tourist (1988), Frank Darabont's The Majestic (2001), and three Woody Allen productions, Mighty Aphrodite (1995), Everyone Says I Love You (1996), and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001).

Stiers has also had great success with a series of voice-over roles in animated features for the Disney Studio, beginning with Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise's Beauty and the Beast (1991). He went on to work in Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg's Pocahantas (1995), Trousdale and Wise's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), and Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders's Lilo & Stitch (2002), as well as a sequel, Lilo & Stitch 2 (2005, directed by Michael LaBash and Anthony Leondis), and a spin-off television series.

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Some of the Disney work was done at a studio in Vancouver, which was relatively convenient to Newport, Oregon, to which Stiers had moved in the early 1990s to be with his elderly parents, Kenneth and Margaret (née Ogden) Stiers, in their last years. His father and mother died in 1996 and 1999, respectively.

Upon returning to Oregon, Stiers began an ongoing association with both the Newport Symphony Orchestra and the Ernest Bloch Music Festival, for both of which he has performed as a conductor. He has also conducted dozens of other orchestras, often in benefits for charities.

Stiers has also returned to his roots on the stage, particularly in the works of Shakespeare, including several stints in the title role of King Lear, which he reckons "is the hardest thing probably pretty much any actor will ever do" but also one of the most interesting and rewarding.

Stiers's involvement in the theater has brought him opportunities to direct. In 1997 in Philadelphia, he was at the helm of a production of John Lowell's Autumn Canticle, a love story about two men, one a singer of chamber music and the other a composer.

Interviewed at the time, Stiers denied being gay, although he tempered his response by adding, somewhat enigmatically, "but I believe that we're all the same person differently expressed." He also stated, "Equal rights for homosexuals isn't an emotional issue for me as much as it is logical."

In a 2009 interview with Wayne Fuller, however, Stiers publicly acknowledged that he is gay and "very proud to be so." He explained that his reluctance to come out earlier was based on a fear of losing work.

He stated, "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. These parties likely had heard rumors or harbored suspicions about me and wanted to make sure no embarrassing incidents were forthcoming. Cogsworth, the character I did on Beauty and the Beast, could be a bit flamboyant on screen because basically he is a cartoon, but they didn't want Cogsworth to become Disney's gay character because it got around that a gay man was playing him."

A second reason for his decision to come out at the age of sixty-six was a very personal one. "I wish to spend my life's twilight being just who I am," declared Stiers, adding poignantly, "Now is the time I wish to find someone and I do not desire to force any potential partner to live a life of extreme discretion for me."

While Stiers admitted to having "nagging worries" about revealing his homosexuality, he said that he felt "a tad more comfortable in discussing [his] personal life" in 2009 than he had previously. Reflecting on his situation, he stated that he had "been working internally on whether [his fears of facing prejudice] were the problem or if [he] just continued using them as an excuse long after the call for conservative private lives passed." That he asked himself the question is in itself an answer.

Linda Rapp

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arts >> Overview:  American Television, Drama

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American television sitcoms have consistently reflected the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, often in distorted and stereotyped ways, but occasionally in ways that acknowledge our humanity and complexity.

arts >> Overview:  Conductors

In spite of the presence of many gay, lesbian, and bisexual figures in the field of classical music, it is difficult to identify more than a handful of self-identified, openly gay or lesbian conductors even in the early years of the twenty-first century.

arts >> Overview:  Film Actors: Gay Male

Although few gay actors have been permitted the luxury of openness, many of them have challenged and helped reconfigure notions of masculinity and, to a lesser extent, of homosexuality.

literature >> Shakespeare, William

As one of the key figures that western civilization has used to define itself, William Shakespeare stands in a complicated, fiercely contested relationship to homosexuality.


    Bibliography
   

"David Ogden Stiers." Turner Classic Movies: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/participant.jsp?spid=184848&apid=0.

"David Odgen Stiers Interview." USA Network: http://www.usanetwork.com/series/thedeadzone/seejohnnysworld/fivequestionsfor/stiers.html.

Fuller, Wayne. "Television Icon David Ogden Stiers Officially Comes Out." Gossip Boy (March 11, 2009): http://www.gossip-boy.com/DOS.html.

Gladstone, Neil. "20 Questions: David Ogden Stiers." City Paper (Philadelphia) (February 13-20, 1997): http://www.citypaper.net/articles/021397/articles001.shtml.

P., Ken. "Interview with David Ogden Stiers." IGN.com (June 21, 2002): http://tv.ign.com/articles/363/363070p1.html

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Stiers, David Ogden  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2009  
    Date Last Updated May 28, 2009  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/stiers_do.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2009 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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