M*A*S*H (TV Series) - Characters - Notable Actors and Actor Information

Notable Actors and Actor Information

  • Antony Alda, Alan Alda's half-brother, appeared in one episode ("Lend a Hand") as Corporal Jarvis alongside both his brother and father (Robert).
  • Robert Alda, Alan Alda's father, had guest appearances in two episodes, "The Consultant" and "Lend a Hand", the latter written by Alda himself. According to Alda, "Lend a Hand" was his way of reconciling with his father. He was always giving suggestions to Robert for their vaudeville act, and in "Lend a Hand", Robert's character was always giving Hawkeye suggestions. It was Robert's idea for the doctors to cooperate as "Dr. Right" and "Dr. Left" at the end of that episode, signifying both a reconciliation of their characters, and in real life as well.
  • While most of the characters from the movie carried over to the series, only four actors appeared in both: Gary Burghoff (Radar O'Reilly) and G. Wood (General Hammond) reprised their movie roles in the series, though Wood appeared in only three episodes. Timothy Brown (credited as "Tim Brown") played "Cpl. Judson" in the movie and "Spearchucker Jones" in the series. Corey Fischer played Capt. Bandini in the film and was the guitar-playing dentist "Cardozo" in the episode "Five O'Clock Charlie".
  • Two of the cast members, Jamie Farr (Klinger) and Alan Alda (Hawkeye Pierce), served in the U.S. Army in Korea in the 1950s after the Korean War. The dog tags Farr wears on the show are his actual dog tags. Farr served as part of a USO tour with Red Skelton. Furthermore, Mike Farrell (B.J. Hunnicut) served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a younger man.
  • Gary Burghoff's left hand is slightly deformed, with three smaller than normal fingers and slight syndactyly between the fourth and fifth digits, and he took great pains to hide or de-emphasize it during filming. He did this by always holding something (like a clipboard) or keeping that hand in his pocket. Burghoff later commented that his (Radar's) deformity would have made it impossible for him to be involved in active service. The deformity can be clearly seen at the very beginning of the pilot episode, when he is holding the football just before announcing the arrival of choppers. It is also visible at the end of "The Most Unforgettable Characters" (Season 5, Episode 14) when he is trying to lift weights.
  • Most of the M*A*S*H main cast guest-starred on Murder She Wrote (with the exceptions of Alan Alda, McLean Stevenson, and Gary Burghoff). Wayne Rogers made five appearances as roguish private investigator Charlie Garrat. David Ogden Stiers appeared three times as a Civil War-infused college lecturer and once as a classical music radio host. G.W. Bailey appeared twice as a New York City police officer. Larry Linville made two appearances as a police officer who was sure that Jessica was in the CIA. Harry Morgan appeared once in a cleverly cut episode that mixed with the 1949 film Strange Bargain that Morgan had starred in. William Christopher made an appearance as a murderous bird watcher. Jamie Farr appeared in two episodes, once as a hopeful new publisher for Jessica Fletcher, and again with Loretta Swit (she played a modern artist framed for murder). Mike Farrell appeared as a Senate hopeful.
  • Through the series, several actresses play characters named Nurse Able or Nurse Baker, with widely varying personalities/roles. The characters' names were based on the old military phonetic alphabet. Able and Baker have since been changed to Alpha and Bravo.
  • Sorrell Booke guest-starred as General Barker in the episodes "Requiem for a Lightweight" and "Chief Surgeon Who?". Booke was a Korean War veteran who achieved greater fame as Boss Hogg in the Dukes of Hazzard television series.
  • Ron Howard guest-starred as Marine Private Walter/Wendell Peterson in the episode "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet". He is discovered to be underage and using his brother Walter's identification, having come to Korea to impress his girlfriend. Hawkeye first gives the young soldier some sage advice about women, and then essentially lets him decide for himself whether he wants to go back to the States or stay in Korea. After losing his best friend Tommy Gillis, Hawkeye immediately reports the young soldier to the MPs, sending him back to America and to safety - with the Purple Heart Frank Burns put in for after his back pain.
  • Leslie Nielsen guest-starred as Col. Buzz Brighton in the episode "The Ringbanger". Because of his high casualty record, Hawkeye and Trapper try to get him sent back to America by convincing him that he is insane.
  • Sal Viscuso is often credited as the sole PA announcer for the television series and even the film. Though he did serve as the voice of the PA announcer for a time, Todd Susman had the longest tenure. Neither actor's voice was heard in the film. Both actors appeared as other characters in various episodes.
  • Art LaFleur appeared in one episode in season 9 ("Father’s Day") as an MP looking for the person(s) responsible for a stolen side of beef.
  • Patrick Swayze appeared in one episode ("Blood Brothers") as Gary Sturgis, an injured soldier with a broken arm who is diagnosed with leukemia.
  • John Ritter was in one episode ("Deal Me Out") early in his career, as a "shellshocked" soldier.
  • Football player Alex Karras was in one episode ("Springtime") serving as Hawkeye's bodyguard after the doctor saves his life.
  • Bruno Kirby (When Harry Met Sally, City Slickers) played Boone in the first episode. He can be seen tossing a football with Radar, and later helping to carry a drugged-out Major Frank Burns to a bed in post-op.
  • Richard Herd appears in the Season 9 episode called "Back Pay".
  • Laurence Fishburne (CSI, The Matrix) appeared in the season-ten episode "The Tooth Shall Set You Free", in which Hawkeye and B.J. encounter a racist commander who is sending his African-American soldiers into dangerous duty. He also appeared in an episode of Trapper John, M.D. (the year before appearing on M*A*S*H). His Matrix costar, Joe Pantoliano, also appeared both on M*A*S*H and Trapper John, M.D. He appeared in the M*A*S*H episode "Identity Crisis" (also season ten), about a soldier (Pantoliano) who had stolen a fallen friend's identity, as well as his discharge papers, to get out of the fighting.
  • Pat Morita, who was famous for his role as Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi on Happy Days and as Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid franchise, played Captain Sam Pak in season two's episode "Deal Me Out" (also with John Ritter), and again in season two's "The Chosen People".
  • Shelley Long played in the 1980 episode "Bottle Fatigue", as one of Hawkeye's would-be lady friends. She later played alongside Ted Danson in the hit television comedy "Cheers", as Diane Chambers.
  • George Wendt played in the 1982 episode "Trick or Treatment" as Private La Roche, a Marine treated by Charles Winchester because he had a pool ball stuck in his mouth. He later played alongside Ted Danson and Shelley Long in the hit television comedy Cheers.
  • Ed Begley, Jr. played in the 1979 episode "Too Many Cooks" as Private Paul Conway, a clumsy infantry soldier who turns out to be a gifted chef.

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M*A*S*H (TV series) - Characters - Notable Actors and Actor Information
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