Roger Rees, 'Cheers' actor and Broadway veteran, dead at 71

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Actor Roger Rees Dies At 71


Roger Rees, a Tony-winning character actor perhaps best known for playing Kirstie Alley's snooty British suitor on the sitcom "Cheers," died Friday in New York City. He was 71.

The Welsh-born actor was a veteran of the London and New York stage and had been co-starring with Chita Rivera in the Kander and Ebb musical "The Visit" on Broadway until withdrawing in late May due to illness.

Rees won the Tony for Best Actor in a Play in 1982 for the title role in the Royal Shakespeare Company's "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby," a marathon eight-and-a-half-hour, two-part production.

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Roger Rees, 'Cheers' actor and Broadway veteran, dead at 71
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Roger Rees and Chita Rivera attend the 81st Annual Drama League Awards And Luncheon at Marriot Marquis Times Square on May 15, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15: Directors Alex Timbers (L) and Roger Rees attend the Opening Night after party of 'Peter And The Starcatcher' on Broadway at The McKittrick Hotel on April 15, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 07: Brooke Shields and Roger Rees perform during curtain call of 'The Addams Family' at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on July 7, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
British actor Sir Ian McKellen (R) plays the role of Estragon with Roger Rees (L) as Vladimir and Matthew Kelly (C) as Pozzo during the final rehearsal of Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting For Godot' at the Sydney Opera House on June 15, 2010. The ground-breaking play directed by Sean Mathias in which nothing happens runs until June 27. AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD (Photo credit should read TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: Roger Rees attends the opening night of 'The Real Thing' on Broadway at American Airlines Theatre on October 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
British actor Sir Ian McKellen (L) plays the role of Estragon with Roger Rees (R) as Vladimir during the final rehearsal of Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting For Godot' at the Sydney Opera House on June 15, 2010. The ground-breaking play directed by Sean Mathias in which nothing happens runs until June 27. AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD (Photo credit should read TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Roger Rees (L) and Alex Timbers attend the 56th annual Village Voice Obie Awards at Webster Hall on May 16, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
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He also won an Olivier Award for the London production in 1980, and later earned an Emmy nomination for a TV miniseries adaptation of the same Charles Dickens story.

In addition to his role on "Cheers," Rees played such roles as the British ambassador on "The West Wing," the Sheriff of Rottingham in Mel Brooks' "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" and King Pheron in "Scorpion King."

He is survived by his husband, Rick Elice, a playwright whose credits include Jersey Boys andPeter and the Starcatcher, which Rees co-directed on Broadway.

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