M*A*S*H made a huge impact on American culture back in the 70s and 80s. The show centered around the staff of an Army Hospital during the Korean War as they discovered that laughter really was the best way to deal with their dire situation. We’re going to see which Mash cast members who have died and who’s still alive. This is the video that M*A*S*H fans have been waiting for, so stick around.
The show was developed by Larry Gelbert as a spin-off series to the 1970 feature film of the same name, which in turn was based upon the 1968 novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors by Richard Hooker.
Hawkeye, Father Mulcahy, Maxwell Klinger, and Margaret were essentially the main characters of the series throughout its 11 season run. But various other main characters departed and joined the program over the years with numerous guest stars joining the cast on a regular basis.
M*A*S*H was praised for its impeccable writing and direction. But the groundbreaking series’ solid cast of actors and actresses really shouldn’t be overlooked. People tuned in week after week to see what the affable team of doctors. And their supporting staff stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital were up to.
M*A*S*H’s historic series finale aired almost 40 years ago. A lot can happen in that amount of time. Sadly, a majority of the cast members have since passed away.
Wayne Rogers – Trapper John
Wayne rogers played the irreverent and often grouchy Trapper John from 1972 until 1975 when he left the show due to a contractual dispute. He felt as if the writers had failed to develop his character as much as he would have liked so he made his exit.
After he moved on from the series, his absence was explained away by saying that Trapper John had been ‘discharged from service’. He later turned down the opportunity to reprise his role on Trapper John MD because he feared being typecast as a physician. The role instead went to Pernell Roberts.
He went on to star in TV movies like The Lady From Yesterday and One Terrific Guy where he proved that he could embody many different kinds of roles.
Some of his film credits include Cool Hand Luke, Pocket Money, Ghosts of Mississippi, and Chamber of Horrors. He also had an impressive career on Broadway where he co-produced productions like Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues.
Rogers died in December 2015 at the age of 82 from complications of pneumonia.
If you’re enjoying this video so far, make sure you give it a like and subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already. And don’t go anywhere yet. We’ve still got a lot of M*A*S*H stars to pay our respects to. Fortunately, a few cast members are still alive. We’ll reveal who they are in just a moment, so bear with us.
McLean Stevenson – Lt. Colonel Henry Blake
Stevenson got his start in theater but landed the role of Lt. Col. Henry Blake shortly after he guest-starred on ABC’s That Girl. At first, he auditioned for the role of Hawkey but he convinced to play Blake instead.
After joining the cast, he quickly rose to stardom as M*A*S*H became one of the most popular shows on television seemingly overnight. It was the biggest role that Stevenson ever had. He ended up writing a couple of episodes as well and even earned himself an Emmy Award nod for his writing skills.
After three seasons, Stevenson began to grow tired of the role. He felt like he was essentially playing second fiddle to Alan Alda and he couldn’t stand that. He asked to let out of his contract after the third season wrapped up. The writers reluctantly obliged his request and he effectively written out of the series. After Henry Blake discharged duty. He boarded a plane that would be shot down over the sea of Japan, killing everybody on board.
On February 15, 1996, Stevenson was recovering from surgery in an LA hospital when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest and died. He was 67 years old when he passed. Not only he’s the first M*A*S*H cast member to leave the show, but also the first to die.
Harry Morgan – Colonel Sherman Potter
Morgan brought in to replace Henry Blake as commander of the 4077th MASH. He appeared in all but three episodes after he brought on board.
Potter was from Hannibal, Missouri, and is one-quarter Native American from the Cherokee Tribe. His character conceived as a different type of commanding officer compared to his predecessor. He was a career officer and was nearing retirement age.
Despite his many years in the service, Potter was a relatively laid-back commanding officer who occasionally engaged in a little bit of shenanigans and hijinks to boost the morale of his comrades. He well-liked by his subordinates and likewise became a fan favorite.
After MASH, he went on to become one of the central characters in the spin-off series AfterMash.
In addition to starring in MASH and its follow-up series. Harry Morgan starred in more than 100 feature films and television shows.
He died peacefully in his sleep on December 7, 2011, in Los Angeles home at the age of 96.
David Ogden Stiers – Major Charles Emerson Winchester III
Stiers was a cast member of M*A*S*H from 1977 until its finale in 1983.
Winchester joined the other doctors at the mobile army surgical hospital after Frank Burns made his departure. In contrast to his predecessor, Winchester was a Harvard-educated and highly skilled surgeon with a deep love for classical music.
His character mirrored who he was in real life and his character brought a certain sense of dignity to M*A*S*H. In truth, he was arguably the most distinguished and cultured addition to the cast. He could be serious and stern or tender and compassionate depending on the circumstance. And likewise navigated through various situations with either a great deal of thoughtfulness or humor whenever called for.
Like many of his cohorts, he got his start in theater before making the jump to television in 1976 when he played Kojak on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. After MASH, he went on to have various roles in films such as Woody Allen’s Another Woman, Shadows and Fog, and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. He also did quite a bit of work for Disney as a very proficient voice artist.
At the age of 75, David died at his home in Newport, Oregon on March 3, 2018, from complications related to bladder cancer.
William Christopher – Father Mulcahy
Christopher was 84 when he died of Lung Cancer in December of 2016. He passed away in his bed at his Pasadena residence with his wife by his side.
On M*A*S*H, he was essentially television’s quintessential priest. The role perfectly crafted for him. In fact, he likely brought more people back to the church than almost anyone else.
Before landing his iconic role, he made several guest appearances on shows like The Patty Duke Show and Good Times. And one of his most notable roles outside of MASH was that of Private Lester Hummel on Gomer Pyle USMC.
Christopher played Father Francis Mulcahy from 1972 to 1983. He reprised that role on the spin-off series AfterMASH from 1983 to 1985.
Allen Arbus – Sidney Freedman
Before he decided to try his hand out as an actor, Arbus was a successful fashion photographer. As the Army psychiatrist on MASH, Arbus embodied his role to such a degree that Alan Alda convinced for the longest time that he had real-world experience in the field.
Arbus’s first major role as an actor was in Robert Downey Sr.’s 1972 cult classic Greaser’s Palace as the messianic figure Jesse. He rose to stardom out of obscurity however in 1973 when he joined the cast of MASH for the show’s second season.
Besides MASH, Arbus also enjoyed numerous guest and recurring roles on shows like Law & Order, LA Law, Matlock, and Judging Amy.
Arbus died of congestive heart failure on April 19, 2013, at the age of 95.
Surviving Cast Members
Alan Alda played perhaps one of the most memorable M*A*S*H characters, Hawkeye Pierce. Besides his MASH-related roles. He has had recurring roles in shows like The West Wing and 30 Rock in addition to starring in films like 1978s Same Time, Next Year, and 1981s The Fours Seasons.
In the summer of 2018, Alda announced that he had diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Alda lives in Leonia, New Jersey with his wife Arlene Weiss with whom he has had three children.
Loretta Swit, who played Margaret ‘Hot Lips’ Houlihan was with the cast of M*A*S*H from its inception to its finale. And was one of the series most beloved showrunners. Throughout the course of the show. Her character evolved from being a promiscuous and shrill persona to being a strong empowered female role model. By the end of the series, they even stopped referring to her as her diminutive nickname Hot Lips.
After MASH she continued to work in TV movies and guest-starred in various shows throughout the 80s and 90s. She retired from acting in 1998 after starring in Beach Movie but returned to the screen once again in 2019 in the obscure Christian film Play the Flute as the character Mrs. Kinkaid.
Jamie Farr played Sergeant Maxwell Q. Klinger on MASH. Towards the beginning of the series, his character frequently wore dresses in an attempt to convince the army that he was crazy and deserving of discharge. What started off as a guest role evolved into a regular position after he was asked back for a dozen or so episodes in the second season.
Farr enjoyed a thriving television career post-MASH hosting The Gong Show and serving as a panelist on Super Password. The $25,000 pyramid, and several other popular game shows. He also appeared in films like Cannonball Run, its sequel, and Speed Zone. Farr is still active as an actor as of 2019. Most recently he has had a recurring role on Fox’s The Cool Kids.
Gary Burghoff played Walter Eugene O’Reilly but you probably remember him by his nickname, Radar. He stuck with the series for its first 7 years with his signature blend of humor and sarcasm. His character looked at the world with a sense of innocence but in no way could he be called dumb. He just wanted to always see the good in things. He was an optimist by nature.
Burghoff chose to leave the show’s cast after its 7th season following the tragic death of wife and daughter in a California brush fire. He later reprised his role in AfterMash for the show’s pilot. Although he’s been in retirement for quite some time, he briefly came out of retirement in 2010 to star in the faith-based film Daniel’s Lot.
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And we’d love to hear from you! Who was your favorite character on M*A*S*H, Hawkeye, Radar, maybe someone else? Let us know in the comments section