Christopher Evan Welch

Christopher Evan Welch in 2007 in New York. He won an Obie Award in 2000 for his performance in "A Streetcar Named Desire" at the New York Theatre Workshop. (Bryan Bedder, Getty Images / June 19, 2007)

Christopher Evan Welch, a versatile actor whose work ranged from New York stage productions of Shakespeare to the role of the narrator in Woody Allen's 2008 film "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," died Dec. 2 in Santa Monica, his publicist said. He was 48 and had been diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago.

Known especially for his comic skills, Welch often played characters who were "weak, foolish, conniving or otherwise beset by moral turpitude," Playbill magazine once wrote.

One such character was the comically anxious Sylvestre in Bill Irwin's 1997 adaptation of Moliere's "Scapin" at New York's Laura Pels Theatre. The New York Times called his appearance "a sensational New York debut," while Newsday praised him for imbuing his character with "a recessive, sweetly out-of-it nature."

In Los Angeles he impressed critics in the role of a newspaper obituary writer in a 2000 Mark Taper Forum production of Patrick Marber's "Closer." A Los Angeles Times review credited Welch with infusing his character with "a weird, inspired jolt of comedy."

In a more serious vein, Welch played Stanley Kowalski's friend Mitch in experimental Dutch director Ivo van Hove's New York Theatre Workshop production of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire." His performance earned an Obie Award in 2000.

Also adept at Shakespeare, Welch played Roderigo in a Public Theater production of "Othello" and Pompey in a Central Park production of "Measure for Measure," both in 2001.

On television, he had roles in "The Sopranos," "Nurse Jackie" and "The Good Wife" and was a regular on AMC's conspiracy-themed drama "Rubicon." His last regular part was in the upcoming HBO comedy "Silicon Valley.

His movie appearances included playing a clerk in the House of Representatives, announcing a critical roll call vote, in last year's "Lincoln" by director Steven Spielberg.

Born on Sept. 28, 1965, in Fort Belvoir, Va., and raised in Dallas, Welch first gained attention for his comedic talent in high school, when he won top honors in a local acting contest for "humorous interpretation." He studied theater at the University of Dallas and the University of Washington before beginning his career at the ACT Theatre in Seattle.

Welch is survived by his wife, Emma; a daughter, June Harper; his mother, Katherine Welch Burke; his father, William Welch; a brother and a sister.

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