Charles Kimbrough, Anchorman Jim Dial on ‘Murphy Brown,’ Dies at 86

The veteran actor also received a Tony nomination for his performance in the Broadway production of “Company”

Charles Kimbrough as Jim Dial

Charles Kimbrough, best known to TV fans as straitlaced anchorman Jim Dial on “Murphy Brown,” died on Jan. 11, his son, John Kimbrough, told The New York Times. He was 86.

A cause of death was not given.

The St. Paul, Minnesota, native actor began his career on stage as a member of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in the late 1960s, where he and his wife of 30 years, Mary Jane Wilson, appeared in productions of “Cat Among the Pigeons” and “The White House Murder Case.”

 It was shortly thereafter, in 1971, that he appeared in the Stephen Sondheim musical, “Company,” a role for which he earned a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor. He was among the original Broadway cast to perform in another Sondheim hit, “Sunday in the Park With George” in 1984. A decade later, he starred in the original Off-Broadway production of the A.R. Gurney comedy “Sylvia” about a dog and the couple who adopts her. A furry friend was the center of a man’s world again when Kimbrough appeared in the 2012 Broadway revival of “Harvey,” the story of a man whose imaginary friend is a six-foot rabbit.

Although he continued work on the stage and on television with appearances on shows like “Kojak,” “Tales of the Unexpected,” “Spencer: For Hire” and even a short stint on the daytime soap opera “Another World,” it was being cast as the staid veteran network reporter and anchorman Jim Dial on the CBS sitcom “Murphy Brown” in 1988 that brought him fame. And, in 1990, it also earned him an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Film lovers may recognize his voice as the gargoyle Victor in the 1996 animated film “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

In 1991, Kimbrough married actress Beth Howland, who was best known as frazzled waitress Vera on the Linda Lavin sitcom “Alice” in the ‘70s and who died in 2016 from lung cancer.