Eileen Saki, who played bar owner Rosie on M*A*S*H, died Monday, her husband Bob Borgen confirmed. She was 79.
Saki, whose real name was Minako Borgen, gave life to Rosie in the Korean War dramedy series. Rosie was the owner and proprietor of Rosie’s Bar, the local off-base watering hole for GIs, particularly the personnel assigned to the 4077th.
Co-star Jeff Maxwell shared a message on social media after learning about Saki’s loss.
“Our sweet Eileen. Our sassy Rosie. On behalf of her husband Bob, we extend sincere appreciation for the hundreds of M*A*S*H fans who filled Eileen’s final days with peace, encouragement, and love. She read every email and responded to as many as she could,” Maxwell shared on Facebook. “We will share more remembrances of Eileen Saki throughout the day. You are invited to do the same. Our sweet, sweet Eileen. How we love you. How we will miss you.”
Starring Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swit and McLean Stevenson, the CBS dramedy based on Robert Altman’s 1970 feature was not an immediate hit, failing to make the top 25 among primetime programs that season. But its fortunes soon changed, and M*A*S*H would go on to be a top 10 program for each of its final 10 seasons.
The Japan-born Saki appeared in nine episodes of M*A*S*H as Rosie, the third actor to take on the role and the one to have played the character the longest.
Other film and TV credits for Saki throughout her career include Splash (1984), History of the World, Part I (1981), Meteor (1979), Policewoman (1974), Good Times (1979), CHiPs (1981), Gimme a Break! (1984), Without a Trace (2004) and Man Rots from the Head (2016), among many more.