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Monster M*A*S*H

M*A*S*H TV series characters

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MASH personnel

A group photo of MASH personnel. Here they are posing for a souvenir photo for General Douglas MacArthur who is scheduled to visit the camp. The scene is from Season 3 "Big Mac".

M*A*S*H was an ensemble show built around its main cast of up to 8 actors playing the roles of the key staff of the 4077th MASH. Over the years, the series endured many changes in its main cast as some members left and were replaced by others.

Supporting the main cast was a large recurring cast who played various doctors, nurses, supporting staff, patients and civilians. Many of these recurring characters became highly recognizable and an important ingredient in the atmosphere of the MASH as a close knit military community. Also notable was the appearance of many guest stars playing one-off roles. Some of these were already established actors while others were young aspirants at the beginning of their careers. Many young actors who had their first break with M*A*S*H would go on to make significant contributions in film and television elsewhere.

Main charactersEdit

Note: Years in parenthesis mark when the character appeared on the show; those without years were on the show for the entire series.

The TV series drew most of its main characters from the 1970 film of the same name however new actors were used except for Gary Burghoff who reprised his role as Radar. Klinger, Potter and Winchester were new characters who did not exist in the 1970 film while the roles of Hawkeye and Trapper were reversed--in the film, Trapper was a chest specialist and Chief Surgeon instead of Hawkeye.

Loretta Swit as Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, and Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce are the only two actors who appear both in the first episode and the last episode. Their two characters, along with Father Mulcahy, all appear in both episodes; however, Mulcahy was played by George Morgan in the pilot only, and William Christopher for the rest of the series. Only Alan Alda was present in every episode of the series. The Season 4 episode Hawkeye consists of Hawkeye doing a monologue while in the home of a Korean family. He speaks almost without stopping in order to avoid falling asleep with a concussion. No other main cast character appears.

Whenever a character left the series, the producers experimented by filling the gap with a character who was wholly dissimilar from his predecessor:

  • Trapper, every bit as much a womanizer and prankster as Hawkeye, was replaced by B.J. Hunnicutt, a devoted family man who tended to take life in stride (though he had a knack for practical jokes).
  • Henry Blake, a buffoonish but likable and friendly draftee, a competent surgeon but inept as a military commander, was replaced by Colonel Potter, a career soldier who understood the rule book better than anyone else but still earned a great deal of respect from the draftee doctors of the 4077th.
  • Frank Burns, an almost incompetent doctor and rather unintelligent person in general, but fiercely loyal to the military, was replaced by draftee Major Winchester, who is as skilled a surgeon than Hawkeye, if not better, but frequently outwits the other doctors as well as showing more humanity than they give him credit for having.
  • Radar began the series as a wise-to-the-ways-of-the-Army-and-the-world teenage boy who was forced to become a man by the war (the way the character was portrayed in the book and feature film), became over time a pure and innocent midwestern youngster with an unflappable ability to keep the M*A*S*H running like a well-oiled machine. This incarnation was replaced (in his job function) with Maxwell Klinger, who was already well known to lie and scheme on a daily basis and who was the epitome of disorder, but learned to handle the day-to-day affairs of the unit tolerably well, though never up to the standard set by Radar.

Unlike many other series where characters that left the show are never referred to again, Henry Blake, Trapper, Frank Burns and Radar are regularly referred to in the rest of the series. Radar would appear again in the spinoff AfterMASH.

Recurring charactersEdit

The M*A*S*H series frequently used recurring characters, as either supporting staff or visitors to the 4077th. While they were not given "star" credit, their familiarity to the viewers is an integral ingredient to the success of the show.

Notable guest starsEdit

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  • Philip Ahn as "Father" In "Hawkeye" (episode 418) ; "Grandfather" in "Exorcism" (episode518) and "Mr Kim" In "Change Day" (episode 608)
  • Anthony Alda, brother of Alan Alda in "Lend a Hand" (episode 820)
  • Robert Alda, father of Alan Alda, as "Dr. Anthony Borelli" in "The Consultant" (episode 317) and "Lend a Hand" (episode 820)
  • Joan Van Ark as "Lt. Erika Johnson" in "Radar's Report" (episode 203)
  • Ned Beatty as "Col. Hollister" in "Dear Peggy" (episode 410)
  • Ed Begley, Jr. as "Pvt. Paul Conway" in "Too Many Cooks" (episode 801)
  • Jason Bernard as Captain Quentin Rockingham in "The Tooth Shall Set You Free" (episode 412)
  • Andrew Dice Clay as "Cpl. Hrabosky" in "Trick or Treatment" (episode 1102)
  • Barry Corbin as "Sgt. Joe Vickers" in "Your Retention Please" (episode 907)
  • James Cromwell as "Bardonaro" in "Last Laugh" (episode 603)
  • Blythe Danner as "Carlye Breslin Walton" in "The More I See You" (episode 422)
  • Brian Dennehy as "M.P. Ernie Connors" in "Souvenirs" (episode 522)
  • Laurence Fishburne as "Corporal Dorsey" in "The Tooth Shall Set You Free" (episode 1014)
  • Ed Flanders as "Lt. Bricker" in "Yankee Doodle Doctor" (episode 106)
  • Teri Garr as "Lieutenant Suzanne Marquette" in "The Sniper" (episode 210)
  • Charles Hallahan as "Colin Turnbull" in "Taking the Fifth" (episode 909)
  • Gregory Harrison as "Lt. Tony Baker" in "The Nurses" (episode 505)
  • Mariette Hartley as "Dr. Inga Halverson" in "Inga" (episode 716)
  • Edward Herrmann as "Capt. Steven J. Newsome" in "Heal Thyself (episode 181)
  • Ron Howard as "Private Wendell Peterson" in "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet" (episode 117)
  • Robert Ito as "Lin" in "To Market to Market" (episode 102)
  • Makoto Iwamatsu (aka Mako) as "Dr. Lin Tam" in episode: "Rainbow Bridge" (episode 303), as "Major Choi" in episode: "Hawkeye Get Your Gun" (episode 510), as "Lt. Hung Lee Park" in episode: "Guerilla My Dreams" (episode 803) and as "Li Chan" in episode: "The Best of Enemies" (episode 901)
  • Alex Karras as "Lyle Wesson" in "Springtime" (episode 306)
  • Bruno Kirby as "Pvt. Lorenzo Boone" in "Pilot" (episode 101)
  • Mary Kay Place as "Louise" in "Springtime" (episode 306)
  • Clyde Kusatsu as "Kwang Duk" in "Officers Only" (episode 215) and in "Henry in Love" (episode 216), as "Sgt. Michael Yee" in "Goodbye, Cruel World" (episode 821) and as "Capt. Yamato" in "The Joker Is Wild" (episode 1104)
  • George Lindsey as "Capt. Roy Dupree" in "Temporary Duty" (episode 621)
  • Shelley Long as "Lt. Mendenhall" in "Bottle Fatigue" (episode 816)
  • Richard Masur as "Lt 'Digger' Detweiler" in "The Late Captain Pierce" (episode 404)
  • Noriyuki "Pat" Morita as "Capt. Sam Pak" in "Deal Me Out" (episode 213) and "The Chosen People" (episode 219)
  • Leslie Nielsen as "Col. Buzz Brighton" in "The Ringbanger" (episode 116)
  • Soon-Tek Oh as "Mr. Kwang" in "Love and Marriage" (episode 320), as "Korean Soldier" in "The Bus" (episode 406), as "Dr. Syn Paik" in "The Korean Surgeon" (episode 509), as "Ralph" in "The Yalu Brick Road" (episode 810) and as "Joon-Sung" in "Foreign Affairs" (episode 1103) {Besides Phillip Ahn, Soon-Tek Oh is one of the few ethnic Koreans to play a Korean on MASH}
  • John Ritter as "Pvt. Carter" in "Deal Me Out" (episode 213)
  • Jack Soo as "Charlie Lee" in "To Market to Market" (episode 102)
  • Susan Saint James as "Aggie O'Shea" in "War Co-Respondent" (episode 823)
  • Richard Lee-Sung as "Cho Man Chin" (episodes 407 and 501), "Sang Nu" (episode 615), "Ham Kim" (episode 723), and other characters (episodes 303, 608, 804, 1007, 1021)
  • Patrick Swayze as "Pvt. Gary Sturgis" in "Blood Brothers" (episode 918)
  • Jeffrey Tambor as "Maj. Reddish" in "Foreign Affairs" (episode 1103)
  • George Wendt as "Pvt. La Roche" in "Trick or Treatment" (episode 1102)
  • Larry Wilcox as "Mulligan" in "The General's Practitioner" (episode 520)

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