M*A*S*H has remained one of the most popular sitcoms in television history. Centered around the exploits of Army surgeons in the fictional Mobile Army Surgical Hospital 4077 during the Korean War, despite being 50 years old, it’s still loved by many today, with a reunion confirmed for January.
Running from 1972 to 1983, M*A*S*H lasted three times longer than the war itself, and the series finale, the two-and-a-half hour “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” remains the highest-rated episode in American television history with over 120 million viewers tuning in. It’s been an inspiration for many modern filmmakers, even people from the younger generations are familiar with this show and it’s received numerous accolades.
The characters were so beloved that the show inspired two spinoffs, After M*A*S*H, which ran for two seasons and won a Peabody award, and Trapper John MD, which ran for seven and was nominated for three Emmys.
After 11 seasons sharing life, loss, and laughter, we’re finally being treated with a two hour special reunion on January 1st. So fans want to know: Who will be returning? Are there any cast members that are sadly no longer with us? And what have the M*A*S*H gang been up to all these years?
Alan Alda: Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce
THEN: Serving as star, director, writer, and guiding creative force behind the long-running sitcom over his ten year tenure, Alan Alda became not only the face of M*A*S*H, but of a generation of thoughtful feminist men throughout the 1970s and into the ‘80s.
NOW: Alda continues to act in occasional projects, including playing Jack Donaghy’s soft-hearted liberal father on the sitcom 30 Rock. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2004 for his role in The Aviator. His interest in science has led to work as a visiting professor at Stony Brook, where he founded the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. Of course, being the star of the show you can expect to see him again when the reunion airs.
Loretta Swit: Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan
THEN: Alongside Alda, Loretta Swit was one of the longest-serving members of the 4077, playing head nurse and stickler for the rules Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan for all 11 seasons.
NOW: The 85-year old Swit has mostly stepped back from acting, although she it has been confirmed that she will make an appearance in the two hour special.
Jamie Farr: Maxwell Q. Klinger
THEN: Maxwell Q. Klinger was only supposed to appear in one episode as a Colonel who dresses in women’s clothing in an attempt to get kicked out of the Army (the 1970s were a different time). The ruse didn’t work, as the character was so popular he stayed for the entire run of the series.
NOW: Jamie Farr has most recently appeared in MeTV promos for M*A*S*H reruns as well as the Fox sitcom The Cool Kids, so it’s no surprise to hear that we’ll be seeing him reprise his role once more.
William Christopher: Father John Patrick Francis Mulcahy
THEN: William Christopher replaced George Morgan, who portrayed the kind-hearted priest in the series’ pilot episode. Christopher continued the role of Father Mulcahy through all 11 seasons of M*A*S*H and into the spinoff AfterMASH.
NOW: Christopher passed away from lung cancer in 2016.
Wayne Rogers: “Trapper” John McIntyre
THEN: Wayne Rogers played surgeon Captain John “Trapper” McIntyre, Hawkeye’s partner-in-crime in the show’s first three seasons, before leaving to pursue other work.
NOW: Roger passed away Dec. 31, 2015, due to complications from pneumonia.
McLean Stevenson: Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake
THEN: Standup comedian McLean Stevenson played the commanding officer of the 4077, Henry Blake, for three years before leaving to find starring roles in other shows and movies.
NOW: Stevenson passed January 15, 2016, from a heart attack.
Larry Linville: Frank Burns
THEN: Larry Linville played Hawkeye’s primary antagonist, Major Frank Burns, for the first five seasons of M*A*S*H. Feeling he had taken the Burns role as far as it could go, Linville declined a contract renewal.
NOW: Linville passed from pneumonia in 2000.
Gary Burghoff: Walter Eugene “Radar” O’Reilly
THEN: The only star of the original M*A*S*H film to make the jump to the series, Gary Burghoff played the loveable camp mascot “Radar” O’Reilly for eight seasons before retiring the role. Burghoff returned for a pair of guest appearances in the spinoff AfterM*A*S*H, and attempted to revive the character in a pilot, W*A*L*T*E*R.
NOW: Burghoff was retired, but will be returning along with the remaining M*A*S*H cast in January, although once he’s done he’ll likely return to California, where he collects stamps.
Mike Farrell: B.J. Hunnicutt
THEN: Coming in to replace “Trapper” John as Hawkeye’s best friend/partner-in-crime, B.J. Hunnicutt’s character evolved to provide heart and warmth as the series progressed.
NOW: Farrell continues to act and produce, and yes, we’ll be seeing him in the reunion. Despite keeping busy with his career he still takes plenty of time out for his work as an activist.
Harry Morgan: Colonel Sherman Potter
THEN: TV veteran Harry Morgan stepped into McLean Stevenson’s army boots, playing the gruff-but-loveable camp commander Colonel Potter through the end of the series and into the spinoff AfterM*A*S*H.
NOW: Morgan passed in his sleep in 2011 at the age of 96.
David Ogden Stiers: Major Charles Emerson Winchester III
THEN: David Ogden Stiers’ character Winchester replaced Frank Burns as Hawkeye’s foe, although Charles Emerson Winchester III was a little more rounded, being less antagonistic and more stuffy and pompous, if kindhearted.
NOW: Stiers passed away in Oregon due to complications resulting from bladder cancer in 2018.