MASH was undoubtedly one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. The show ran from 1972-1983, which puts it in elite company – after all, only the most popular shows can run for ten seasons or more. The series finale, which aired in 1983, was watched by 105.97 million viewers according to the Nielson Company. Despite the popularity of the show, however, only four of the main cast members remained on the series for all eleven seasons. Nevertheless, MASH made all of its actors into stars, and seven different actors from MAS*H were nominated for Emmy Awards.
Sadly, in the 38 years since the show went off the air, many of the main cast members have passed away, including William Christopher (Father Mulcahy), Wayne Rogers (“Trapper” John), Larry Linville (Major Frank Burns), Harry Morgan (Colonel Potter) and McLean Stevenson (Lt. Colonel Blake). Here are the actors from the series who are still alive today.
8 Alan Alda (“Hawkeye” Pierce)
Alan Alda played Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce for all eleven seasons of M*A*S*H, and he was the only actor to appear in all 256 episodes. He won five Emmy Awards for his work on the show, and he has remained a well-known and successful actor to this day. Most recently, he had a recurring role on the Emmy Award-nominated TV series Ray Donovan and a supporting role in the Academy Award-nominated film A Marriage Story.
7 Loretta Swit (“Hot Lips” Houlihan)
Loretta Swit played Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan, the only woman in the main cast of M*A*S*H. Swit guest-starred on several popular TV shows in the early 1970s, including Hawaii Five-O, Gunsmoke, and Mission: Impossible, butit wasn’t until she landed the role of Houlihan that she became a household name. Her performance was critically acclaimed, and she won two Emmy Awards out of ten nominations for her performance on M*A*S*H. These days, Swit seems to be mostly retired from acting. According to IMDB, she’s only had one acting role since the 1990s.
6 Jamie Farr (Maxwell Klinger)
Jamie Farr played Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger on M*A*S*H for all eleven seasons, although his character only appeared in a recurring role for the first three seasons before being upped to series regular status for season four. At 87 years old, Farr is the oldest living main cast member from the show. Before Farr acted on M*A*S*H, he actually did serve in Korea with the United States Army, and according to an article Farr wrote for the U.S. Naval Institute, he wore his “real dog-tags on M*A*S*H.”
5 Gary Burghoff (“Radar” O’Reilly)
Gary Burghoff played the popular character Walter “Radar” O’Reilly on MAS*H for the first eight seasons of the show’s run. He was the youngest of the main characters on the show, and he is just 78 years old today. Burghoff is notable for being the only actor from the movie MASH (1970) to reprise his role as a main cast member on the television series. He left the show in 1979, but he returned later that year for a two-part special episode called “Goodbye Radar.”
4 Mike Farrell (Captain Hunnicutt)
Mike Farrell joined the cast of M*A*S*H in season four as Captain B.J. Hunnicutt, a replacement for Wayne Rogers’ character “Trapper” John. Farrell’s wife at the time, Judy Farrell, also acted on M*A*S*H in the recurring role of Nurse Able. In recent years, he has guest-starred on popular TV dramas like NCIS and American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
3 George Morgan (Father Mulcahy – Pilot Episode Only)
George Morgan played the role of Father Mulcahy in the pilot episode of M*A*S*H, but when the character next appeared he was played by a new actor – William Christopher. Unfortunately for Morgan, his career never really took off after being replaced on M*A*S*H. According to IMDB, he’s only had three professional acting roles since.
George Morgan is far from the only sitcom actor to lose his role after the pilot episode. Morgan’s M*A*S*H co-star Loretta Swit was originally cast as Cagney in the hit CBS police drama Cagney & Lacey, but as Swit told the Television Academy, she was forced to give up the role due to her contractual obligations for the final season of M*A*S*H. Other prominent examples include Amanda Walsh, who was originally cast in The Big Bang Theory instead of Kaley Cuoco, and Lee Garlington, who was the original actress cast to play the female character on Seinfeld.
2 Jeff Maxwell (Igor Straminsky)
Jeff Maxwell was never a series regular on M*A*S*H, but he appeared on the show in a recurring role for ten years. Many of his earlier appearances on the show were uncredited, but as time went on his role on the show increased. These days, he hosts a podcast called M*A*S*H Matters, where he discusses M*A*S*H and the film and TV industry alongside his co-host Ryan Patrick.
1 Odessa Cleveland (Ginger Bayliss)
Odessa Cleveland appeared on M*A*S*H from 1972-1975 as Ginger Bayliss, one of the most frequently featured nurses over the first few seasons. She also guest-starred on one episode of the M*A*S*H spin-off series Trapper John, M.D. in 1986. Nurse Bayliss was one of the few black actors to appear as a recurring character on the show, and she was prominently featured in the season two episode “Dear Dad… Three” in which she is forced to treat an angry and racist patient.