Tony-winning and ‘Cheers,’ ‘West Wing’ actor Roger Rees dies

Posted at 4:51 PM, Jul 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-11 18:51:06-04

By Greg Botelho and Haimy Assefa

(CNN) — Roger Rees — a Tony-winning theater star also widely known for his TV roles, including in “The West Wing” and as Robin Colcord on “Cheers” — has died, his representative Rick Miramontez said Saturday.

He was 71.

The Wales native spent most of his career on stage, including his Tony Award-winning best actor role in 1982 for “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.” He also earned Tony nominations for acting parts in “Shadowlands,” “Six Degrees of Separation,” “Indiscretions” and — most recently, in 2012 — as a director of “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

Still, you didn’t have to go to Broadway to appreciate Rees’ skills — both as a dramatic and a comedic actor.

After scoring several TV roles in the late 1970s, and later a 1982 TV mini-series as Nicholas Nickleby, Rees broke through in 1989 as Robin Colcord, the love interest of the character played by Kirstie Alley in “Cheers.”

Rees later had a standout role as British Ambassador Lord John Marbury on the critically acclaimed “The West Wing,” as well as recurring parts on “M.A.N.T.I.S.” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

He made a splash in movies as well, including playing the Sheriff of Rottingham in the 1993 comedy “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.”

According to the Internet Movie Database, Rees remained busy into 2015, including parts of the ABC series “Forever” and the movie “Survivor.”

Rees’ former colleagues remembered him Saturday as a great person and immense talent. Patrick Stewart — himself a star of stage, film and TV, including “Star Trek: The Next Generation” — said “a space … cannot be filled” following the loss of what he called a “brilliant actor, dear friend and colleague, witty, kind, private man.”

Carey Elwes described his Robin Hood co-star as “a beautiful human being an incredible talent.” And Jesse Tyler Ferguson, best known for his role on the hit ABC sitcom “Modern Family,” called him a “a true gentlemen, … class act (and) a genuine man & brilliant actor.”

“One of the greatest actors and humans I’ve ever known,” tweeted Broadway performer Sierra Boggess about Rees. “You are missed and loved forever.”

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