Welsch actor Roger Rees has died. Rees, best know as Kirstie Alley’s billionaire love interest on Cheers, passed away yesterday following a brief, unspecified illness. He was 71.
Rees began acting with the Royal Shakespeare Company in England.
Rees first gained acclaim for creating and performing the title role of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, David Edgar’s adaptation of the Dickens novel in 1982. The show one many Tony awards, including one for Rees. One year later, a version was produced for U.S. television, earning him his only Emmy nomination.
Rees continued in theatre and eventually was cast in as filmmaker PETER BOGDONAVICH in BOB FOSSE’s Star 80 – a movie about the tragic death of Playmate DOROTHY STRATTEN. Soon after, he won the aforementioned role of Robin Colcord on Cheers. He continued to make numerous television appearances throughout the next two decades, always leaving audiences with memorable guest performances.
Perhaps most notably, Rees frequently made an appearance on The West Wing as the ever-soused ambassador Lord John Marbury. Film fans may also recognize him in one of Mel Brook’s final spoofs Robin Hood: Men in Tights as the Sheriff of Rottingham.
Rees became a naturalized U.S. citizen 25 years ago. Rees married his husband and producer Rick Elice in 2011. Together, they collaborated on the play Peter and The Starcatchers, for which they both earned Tony nominations.
Always a pleasure in both television and film, from Cheers to Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, Rees charisma and charm will always be missed. As a small tribute, please enjoy this clip of Rees’ excellent comedic timing. Always a thorn in chief of staff Leo McGarry’s side due to his rampant alcohol abuse and abrupt rudeness, Rees was never funnier than his recurring role in The West Wing.
Yet, in the same turn, he could be astute and heartrendingly earnest.
Sources: Deadline, youtube