Sunday, September 29, 2013

The cast of M*A*S*H and trivia about the show

M*A*S*H cast members circa 1974: (back row) Larry Linville, Wayne Rogers, Gary Burghoff (front row) Loretta Swit, Alan Alda, McLean Stevenson


When M*A*S*H premiered on the CBS network in 1972, the United States was still enmeshed in the Vietnam War.  The controversial war had divided the American people and had torn at the nation's very soul. The agony over this unpopular war created the perfect atmosphere for a prime time anti-war comedy.  It was too soon, however, to use Vietnam as the setting since he conflict was still ongoing and extremely painful.  The locale was changed to Korea in the early 50s but it might just as well have been Vietnam in the 1970s.

The series was based on the 1970 Robert Altman film of the same name.  This satirical black comedy starred Donald Sutherland as Haykeye Pierce, the role played by Alan Alda in the television series.  Elliott Gould portrayed Trapper John in the movie, Wayne Rogers' part in the TV version.

The film and the television series were based on a 1968 novel by Richard Hooker (real name H. Richard Hornberger) titled MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors.  Their stories focussed on the lives of the members of the fictional 4077 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H), stationed in Uijeongbu, South Korea.

The movie version of M*A*S*H, produced by 20th Century Fox, was one of the most successful films of the early 1970s.  The television series also proved to be extremely popular and highly acclaimed.  It ran for 11 seasons, from 1972 to 1983,.and 256 episodes were made.


as Hawkeye Pierce

Alan Alda (real name: Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo) was born in New York City on January 28, 1936,.  Now 77 years old, Alan is the son of actor Robert Alda and his first wife, Joan Browne, a former showgirl and Miss New York beauty pageant winner. As a young child, he contracted polio.  Despite his illness, Alan started early in show business, performing Abbott and Costello routines with his father at the old Hollywood Canteen.

Alan graduated Fordham University in The Bronx, New York in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science degree in English.  After graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Army.  He spent a year at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia and then served a six-month tour of duty in Korea as a gunnery officer.with the Army Reserve.

During the 1950s, Alda was a member of a comedy revue called the Compass Players. In 1966, he had the starring role in the musical The Apple Tree on Broadway.  He was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in the role.  His first guest-starring role on television was in a 1958 episode of The Phil Silvers Show entitled Bilko the Art Lover (Season 3, Episode 23, Air Date: March 5, 1958).  He played Carlyle Thompson III, whom Sgt. Bilko (Phil Silvers) wrongly assumed to be very wealthy.

During the 1960s, Alan appeared in such TV series as Naked City (1962), The Nurses (1963). Route 66 (1963), The Trials of O'Brien (1965), Coronet Blue (1967) and Premiere (1968).  He won acclaim and a Golden Globe Nomination for New Star of the Year (Actor) for his portrayal of writer George Plimpton in the 1968 feature film Paper Lion.

In early 1972, Alda auditioned for the role of Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce in the television version of M*A*S*H.  It was the role that would make him a bona fide star and a household name.  He appeared in every episode of the series for eleven seasons.  He almost turned down the role because he was concerned about the series becoming too lighthearted and comedic.   "I wanted to show that the war was a bad place to be," he stated.

Alan Alda became a successful writer and director.  He directed and co-wrote the final episode of M*A*S*H,  "Goodbye. Farewell and Amen" in 1983.  He wrote the screenplay for the 1979 film The Seduction of Joe Tynan in which he starred with Meryl Streep.  He also wrote and directed the 1981 film The Four Seasons featuring himself and Carol Burnett.

Alda portrayed a pompous and egotistical television producer, Lester, in the 1989 Woody Allen film Crimes and Misdemeanors opposite Allen and Martin Landau  He also worked with Allen in two other films, Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) and Everyone Says I Love You (1996).

From 1993 until 2005, Alda hosted the PBS series Scientific American Frontiers.  In 1999, he had a recurring role as Dr. Gabriel Lawrence in five episodes of the TV medical drama E.R.  He also had a supporting role as Senator Ralph Owen Brewster in the 2004 film Aviator for which he won an Academy Award nomination.  From 2004 to 2006, Alan portrayed Republican Senator Arnold Vinick in the popular political series The West Wing.  It's interesting to note that he was once considered for the role of President Josiah Bartlett, a role that ultimately went to Martin Sheen.  Most recently, the actor has been appearing  in the Showtime series The Big C as Dr. Atticus Sherman, an oncologist.  Since 2011, he has appeared in six episodes of the series.

Alan Alda married Arlene Weiss on March 15, 1957 and the couple have three daughters, Eve (born December 18, 1958), Elizabeth (born August 20, 1960) and Beatrice (born August 10, 1961).  Arlene Alda is a photographer and writer of children's books.  The Aldas have been long-time residents of Leonia, New Jersey.

as Maxwell Q. Klinger

Born Jameel Joseph Farah, in Toledo, Ohio on July 1, 1935, Jamie Farr is the only son of Lebanese-American parents.  His father, Samuel, was a grocer and meat cutter. His mother, Jamelia, was a seamstress and he has and older sister named Yvonne.

Jamie studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse in California where he caught the eye of an MGM talent scout.  He was given a screen-test for a role in Blackboard Jungle, the 1955 film about public school juvenile delinquents. Billed as Jameel Farah, Jamie appeared in the film as Santini, a mentally-challenged student whom Life Magazine described as a "giggling half-wit."  Farr also had an uncredited role as a fruit vendor in the 1955 MGM musical Kismet.

From 1953 to 1961, Jamie appeared in seven episodes of The Red Skelton Show.  In 1957, while working with Skelton, he was drafted into the U.S. Army.  He served in Japan and Korea, returning in 1959.  Prior to his stint in the army, Farr had played a small uncredited role in a military-themed comedy called No Time for Sergeants.  The film, starring Andy Griffith as a Private Will Stockdale, a country bumpkin drafted into the Air Force, was released in 1958.

In 1961, Farr played a delivery boy in four episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show.  During the 1960s, he also had guest roles in a number of other television shows including The Danny Kaye Show (four episodes in 1963), two episodes of Hazel (1962, 1964), My Three Sons (1964), The Donna Reed Show (1965), Ben Casey (1965), Burke's Law (1965), The Lucy Show (1966), I Dream of Jeannie (1966), The Andy Griffith Show (1966), two episodes of My Favorite Martian (1965, 1966), Death Valley Days (1967), Get Smart (1968), two episodes of Gomer Pyle, USMC (1965, 1968), two episodes of The Flying Nun (1968, 1969) and a 1969 episode of Family Affair entitled "Flower Power" in which he played a hippie.

Jamie Farr was originally hired for one day's work in the 1972 episode of M*A*S*H entitled "Chief Surgeon Who?" (Season 1, Episode 4, Air Date: October 8, 1972).  He made such an impact that he eventually became a permanent member of the cast. Jamie's character, Maxwell Klinger, was so desperate to be discharged from the army that he wore dresses in order to prove that he deserved a Section 8 discharge on the basis that he was mentally unfit.  Jamie eventually ended his running gag of wearing women's clothes because he did not want his children to be teased about it.

After reprising his Kinger role in the M*A*S*H spin-off AfterMash, Jamie took on various television and film roles and made frequent appearances on game shoes.  He remained active in theatre and toured in a mid 1990s production of The Odd Couple with ex-M*A*S*H castmate William Christoper.  Along with another former M*A*S*H co-star, Loretta Swit (Margaret "Hot Lips Houlihan), Farr had a guest role in a 1998 episode of Diagnosis Murder entitled "Drill for Death."  It is interesting to note that Sally Kellerman, who portrayed Houlihan role in the movie version of M*A*S*H also had a role in that episode.

In 1999, Jamie appeared as a dry cleaner in an episode of the sitcom Mad About You entitled "Millennium Bug."   He played the role of Adam Johnson in the 2007 television movie A Grandpa for Christmas and he guest-starred in a 2007 episode of the Fox network comedy The War at Home called "No Weddings and a Funeral" (Season 2, Episode 16, Air Date: February 1, 2007).

Jamie Farr has been married to Joy Ann Richards since February 16, 1963.  They have two children, Jonas and Yvonne, and a grandson named Dorian.  He published his autobiography, Just Farr Fun, in 1994.  Jamie is now 79 years old.  In the 1990s, he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

as Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan

Loretta Jane Swit was born in Possaic, New Jersey and is of Polish descent.  Her birthdate is November 4, 1937 and she is now 75 years old.  A trained singer, Loretta studied drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and embarked on a career in theatre.

After arriving in Hollywood, Loretta made appearances in such popular TV series as Hawaii Five-O (four episodes from 1969 to 1972), Gunsmoke (three episodes in 1970), Mission Impossible (1970) and Mannix (1970).  In 1972, she rose to stardom with the debut of M*A*S*H and her portrayal of head nurse Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, the role played by Sally Kellerman in the film.

In a 2006 interview with the nostalgic Australian TV show, Where Are They Now, Loretta declared that Margaret Houlihan was "lonely at the top as much as she wanted to be a major and prove her herself and be, in quotes, the best damn nurse in Korea." She described her character as "vulnerable, sensitive" and "a great nurse" who cared about the "wounded, the boys, and the ones who didn't make it."

As for Houlihan's romance with Frank Burns (Larry Linville), Swit stated that although the characters were cosy for three seasons, she felt that Margaret hat outgrown Frank and that they should break up.  She said she "put a lot of herself" into her role and that she and Houlihan are both "passionate."

Loretta remained with M*A*S*H  from start to finish.  After the series ended, she played guest-starred in several TV series and had roles in television movies.  She appeared on Broadway in The Mystery of Edwon Drood from 1985 to 1987.  Although Loretta remains active in theatre, she has not had a television credit since she appeared as Maggie Dennings in a 1998 episode of the crime drama Diagnosis Murder entitled "Drill for Death" (Season 5, Episode 15, Air Date: January 22, 1998).

Loretta Switt married actor Dennis Holahan in 1983.  Holahan, best know for his portrayal of Jerry the Banker in the 1983 crime film Scarface, appeared in an episode of M*A*S*H entitled "U.N., the NIght and the Music" (Season 11, Episode 10, Air Date: January 3, 1983).   In the episode, Holahan played Swedish diplomat Per Johannsen, Margaret Houlihan's love interest.
The marriage Loretta and Dennis ended in divorce in 1995.  Loretta has not remarried and has no children.  She is an artist and an animal rights activist.

as B.J. Hunnicutt

Michael Joseph "Mike" Farrell was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on February 6, 1939. He joined the cast of M*A*S*H in 1975 as the motorcycle-riding surgeon B.J. Hunnicutt. Hunnicutt arrived after Trapper John (Wayne Rogers) was discharged from the army.

From 2007 to 2008, Mike appeared on Desperate Housewives as Milton Lang, the father of Victor Lang (John Slattery) and father-in-law of Eva Longoria's character, Gabrielle Solis.  In 2012, Mike had a guest role as Fred Jones in an episode of the fantasy drama series Supernatural entitled "Hunteri Heroici" (Season 8, Episode 8, Air Date: November 28, 2012).

Mike Farrell has been married to Shelley Fabares of Donna Reed Show fame since 1984.  He has two children, daughter Erin and a son Michael , from his first marriage to actress and writer Judy Farrell, whom he wed in 1963 and divorced in 1983.  Judy appeared in nine episodes of M*A*S*H as Nurse Able between 1976 and 1983.  On M*A*S*H,  B.J. and his wife, Peg, had a daughter named Erin.

as "Trapper John" McIntyre

William Wayne McMillan Rogers III was born in Birmingham, Alabama on April 7, 1933. A graduate of Princeton University in 1954, he served in the U.S. Navy before embarking on an acting career.  For several years, he appeared in off-Broadway and regional plays.  After a short stint on the daytime drama The Edge of Night in 1956, he began appearing in small roles in films such as Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), The Glory Guys (1965) and Cool Hand Luke (1967).  In Odds Against Tomorrow, he played a soldier in a bar.  In The Glory Guys, he played Lt. Mike Moran and in Cool Hand Luke, he played a gambler.

During the 1960s, Wayne had guest roles in series such as Alfred Hichcock Presents (1962), Have Gun - Will Travel (1963), Gomer Pyle, USMC (1964), Death Valley Days (1965), Honey West (1965) and The Big Valley (1968).  He also appeared in seven episodes of The F.B.I. from 1966 to 1971.  Then came his big breakthrough with the role of surgeon Trapper John in the television version of M*A*S*H, a role played by Elliott Gould in the film.

Wayne Rogers originally intended to audition for the part of Hawkeye Pierce.  He ended up playing the role of the less cynical Trapper John.  Although his role on M*A*S*H brought him great recognition, Rogers became tired of playing second banana to Alan Alda's popular Hawkeye character.  He left the series in 1975 and was sued for breach of contract.  His character was discharged from the army. Rogers later remarked that if he had known M*A*S*H was going to last so long (11 seasons), he "probably would have kept my mouth shut and stayed put."

After leaving M*A*S*H, Wayne Rogers starred in the short-lived but critically acclaimed 1976 detective series City of Angels and the 1979-1982 CBS series House Calls as Dr. Charley Michaels.  House Calls was a comedy that took place in a hospital setting.  Wayne's co-star, British-born Lynn Redgrave, who played hospital administrator Ann Atkinson, was dismissed from the show after the birth of her new baby.  Redgrave insisted on bringing her infant daughter to work so that the child could be breast-fed. on schedule.  Although she sued Universal  for breaking her contract, she never returned to her role and was replaced by Sharon Gless of Cagney and Lacey fame.

From 1993 to 1995, Wayne Rogers portrayed Charlie Garrett in five episodes of Murder, She Wrote.  In 1994, he appeared in an episode of The Larry Sanders Show and in 1997, he had a guest role on Diagnosis Murder.  In more recent years, Rogers has become involved in money management and investment.  He appears as a financial expert on the Fox News Channel and on its stock investment program Cashin' In.

Wayne Rogers has been married twice.  In the late 1950s he met actress Mitzi McWhorter in New York and they wed in 1960.  The couple had two children, Laura Rogers and William (Bill) Rogers, before divorcing in 1983.  Rogers also has a son named Luigi Calabrese with former girlfriend Melinda Naud.  He has been married to his second wife, Amy Hirsh, since 1988.

as Henry Blake

McLean Stevenson died of a heart attack on February 15, 1996 in Los Angeles.  He was 68 years the time of his passing.

Born Edgar McLean Stevenson, Jr. in Normal, Illinois, the actor was the great-grandson of William Stevenson, brother of 19th century U.S. Vice President Adlai E. Stevenson, and a cousin of 1950s presidential candidate Adlai Stephenson II.  He was also the brother of actress Ann Whitney.  His father, Edgar Stevenson, was a cardiologist.

After a guest appearance on That Girl, McLean Stevenson was cast in the role of magazine editor Michael Nicholson on The Doris Day Show.  He appeared on the sitcom from 1969 until 1971.  In 1970, he was a regular on the Tim Conway Comedy Hour, a CBS variety show.

McLean Stevenson with Doris Day on The Doris Day Show

Stevenson also appeared in television commercials for products such as Winston cigarettes, Kellogg's, Ford Motor Co., Black Flag, Dolly Madison and Libby's.  To watch Stevenson in a commercial for Libby's canned fruit, click on the link below.

In 1972, with the debut of M*A*S*H, McLean Stevenson achieved television stardom for his role as Henry Braymore Blake, the likeable but bumbling surgeon and commanding officer.  Stevenson left the show in 1975 and his character was written out.  In the third season finale, Henry Blake is discharged from the army in an episode called "Abyssinia, Henry" (Season 3, Episode 24, Air Date: March 18, 1975). Blake is sent home and his plane is shot down over the Sea of Japan.

After his departure from M*A*S*H, McLean Stevenson's acting career went into decline.

as Sherman T. Potter

Harry Morgan died in his sleep at his Los Angeles home on December 7, 2011.  He was 96 years of age. The Detroit-born actor had a long and distinguished television career.  He starred as Pete Porter in both December Bride (1954-1959) and its spin-off Pete and Gladys (1960-1962).  From 1967 to 1970, he portrayed Officer Bill Gannon opposite Jack Webb as Joe Friday on the classic police detective show Dragnet.  He also played Amos Coogan on the TV Western Hec Ramsey from 1972 to 1974.

Morgan and Cara Williams in Pete and Gladys (1960)
Jack Webb and Morgan in Dragnet

Harry didn't join the cast of M*A*S*H until 1975 when the show was in its fourth season.  He was a replacement for McLean Stevenson who had left the show at the end of the previous season.  Morgan's character, Col. Sherman T. Potter, a career officer, assumed command of the 4077th.  After M*A*S*H ended its run in 1983, Harry Morgan reprised his role of Col. Potter in the short-lived series AfterMASH.

Henry Morgan was married twice.  He had four sons by his first wife, Eileen Detchon, whom he wed in 1940 - Christopher, Charles, Paul, and Daniel (who died in 1989). Eileen died in 1985 and Harry married Barbara Bushman, granddaughter of silent film star Francis X. Bushman, on December 17, 1986.  He was 71 years old at the time of his second marriage.

as Walter Eugene "Radar" O'Reilly

Gary Rich Burghoff was born in Bristol, Connecticut on May 24, 1943.  He celebrated his 70th birthday this year.  Aside from his role on M*A*S*H, Burghoff is known for his portrayal of Charlie Brown in the 1967 Off-Broadway musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Gary was the only actor from the M*A*S*H film cast as a regular in the television series.  In 2012, he told comedy writer and director Ken Levine that in the original movie version he "created Radar as a lone, darker and somewhat sardonic character; kind of a shadowy figure."  In the show's first season, he played Radar that way before realizing that the M*A*S*H characters had taken a different direction on television.  He then portrayed Radar as a more mellow character, gentler and less worldly.

Gary Burghoff has been married and divorced twice.  His first wife was Janet Gayle whom he wed in 1971.  The couple had a daughter named Gena Gayle and divorced in 1979.  Gary's second marriage was to Elisabeth Bostrom in 1985.  They had two sons, Miles and Jordan, and divorced in 2005.

Burghoff left M*A*S*H  after the seventh season because he was exhausted and going through a difficult divorce from his first wife.  He returned to film a special two-part farewell episode called "Goodbye, Radar." (Season 8, Episodes 4 and 5, Air Dates: October 8, 1979 and October 15, 1979).  Of this period in his life, Gary wrote in his 2009 book To M*A*S*H and Back, "My frequent snits and outbursts on the set were inevitably (and instantly) followed by guilt feelings over what I’d just said or done."

In the 1970s, Gary made frequent appearance on the game show Match Game.  He also appeared on other game shows such as Tattletales and Hollywood Squares.  From 1978 to 1981, he had guest roles on two episodes of both The Love Boat (1977) (1981) and Fantasy Island (1978) (1980).  Gary also portrayed a character named Bob Willis in the TV movie The Man in the Santa Claus Suit.  The movie aired on December 23, 1979 and it told the story about the mysterious owner of a costume shop (played by Fred Astaire) who rents a Sant Claus suit to three different men.

Gary Burghoff appeared in another television movie, Casino (1980), opposite Mike Connors, the star of Mannix.  He also reprised his role as Radar O'Reilly in two 1984 episodes of AfterMASH, the M*A*S*H spin-off.  His last TV guest appearance was in a 2005 episode of the crime drama Burke's Law entitled "Who Killed the Hollywood Headshrinker?" (Season 2, Episode 13, Air Date: July 20, 1995).

as Father Mulcahy

In the pilot episode of the television series, the role of Father Francis John Patrick Mulcahy, the camp's chaplain, was played by George Morgan.  The producers, however, decided to recast the role and replaced Morgan with William "Bill" Christopher.

When M*A*S*H went off the air, Christopher went on to star in a short-lived spin-off of the series called AfterMASH.  Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, he made guest appearance on series such as Murder, She Wrote (1985), Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1997) and Mad About You (1998).  In the Mad About You episode, "A Pain in the Neck" (Season 7, Episode 2, Air Date:
September 29, 1998), he played another chaplain, Chaplain Olsen.

Born in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois on October 20, 1932, William Christopher is now 80 years.  He continues to perform and appeared in 11 episodes of Days of our Lives as Father Tabias between November 6, 2012 and December 21, 2012.

The actor has been married to his wife, Barbara, an artist, since 1957.  The couple adopted two sons as infants, John in 1966 and Ned two years later.  The younger son, Ned, was diagnosed with autism and when his condition deteriorated, was sent to live at the Devereux Foundation near Santa Barbara, California.  Bill and Barbara wrote a book titled Mixed Blessings (published in 1989) about their life with Ned.

as Frank Burns

Larry Linville passed away on April 10, 2000 in New York City.  He died at the age of 60 due to complications from cancer surgery.

Lawrence Lavon "Larry" Linville was born in Ojai, California and raised in Sacramento. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England.  Upon returning to the United States, he launched his acting career at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia.

Prior to his role as Frank Burns on M*A*S*H, Larry guest-starred on The Outsider (1969), Bonanza (1969), two episodes of Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969), Room 222 (1969), Here Come the Brides (1970), The Young Rebels (1970) and three episodes of Mission Impossible (1969-1970).  From 1968 to 1970, he had a recurring role on Mannix as detective George Kramer.  

Larry Linville chose not to renew his M*A*S*H contract after the fifth season.  He felt that had done everything possible with his Frank Burns character.  After leaving M*A*S*H in 1977, Larry appeared in guest roles on numerous TV shows including the Rockford Files (1977), Barnaby Jones (1978) and a two-part episode of CHiPs (1979). From 1978 to 1979, he was part of the cast of the short-lived comedy/drama Grandpa Goes to Washington starring Jack Albertson as a retired professor who is elected to the U.S. Senate.  Larry portrayed Major-General Kevin Kelley but the series was cancelled after only seven episodes.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Larry continued to make guest appearances on a number of series such as Lou Grant (1980), a two-part episode of The Jeffersons (1981) in which he played the Jeffersons' maid Florence Johnston's boss when she obtained a job as head of housekeeping at a hotel.  This lead to a short-lived spin-off series called Checking In.  Checking In, starring Marla Gibbs as Florence and Larry as her nemesis Lyle Block, only lasted for four episodes.

Larry also appeared in Airwolf (1985) Misfits of Science (1985), Night Court (1991), three episodes of Murder, She Wrote (1985-1995) and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993).  His final television role was in the PBS series Great Performances in a 1999 episode entitled "Crazy for You" (Season 28, Episode 2, Air Date: October 29, 1999).

Larry Linville was married five times.  His first wife was Kate Geer, sister of actress Ellen Geer and daughter of Will Geer (Grandpa Walton on The Waltons).   They wed on April 25, 1962 and had a daughter, Kelly (born 1970).  After divorcing Kate in 1975, Larry married (and divorced) Vana Tribbey, Melissa Gallant, and Susan Haganand.  His fifth wife, Deborah Guydon, whom he married in 1993, remained with him until his death.  Kelly Linville was his only child.


* Alan Alda's father, Robert, was a guest star in two episodes of M*A*S*H.  He appeared in an episode entitled "The Consultant" (Season 3, Episode 17, Air Date: January 21, 1975) and another episode entitled  "Lend a Hand." (Season 8, Episode 20, Air Date: February 4, 1980).  The elder Alda portrayed Dr. Anthony Borelli, a medical advisor, in both episodes.

Alan Alda and his father, Robert,on the set of  M*A*S*H in 1975.

Alan Alda's younger half-brother, Antony Alda, appeared in "Lend a Hand." as Cpl. Jarvis.  Antony, Robert's son from his second marriage to Italian actress Flora Martino, died in France on July 3, 2009 at the age of 52.  The cause of  his death was cirrhosis of the liver.  Daytime soap fans will remember Antony's portrayal of Johnny Corelli on Days of Our Lives from 1990 to 1991.  It's interesting to note that Robert Alda also had a role on Days of Our Lives as Stuart Wyland.  His last appearance on Days was aired in early 1982.

*  What do the initials B.J. in B.J, Hunnicutt stand for?  In one episode of M*A*S*H, a curious Hawkeye tries to find out and contacts relatives.  B.J. finally tells him that the initials are meant to relate to his mother Bea and his father Jay.

* Gary Burghoff is a professional jazz drummer even though he has a congenital deformity of three fingers on his left hand.   Back in 1968, he was the drummer for a band called the Relatives.  Lynda Carter of Wonder Woman fame, was the lead singer for the band.  She later helped cast him in the role of Alan on a 1978 episode of her popular series The New Adventures of Wonder Woman.  The episode was entitled "The Man Who Wouldn't Tell" (Season 2, Episode 20, Air Date: March 31, 1978).

* M*A*S*H's final episode aired on February 28, 1983.  The 2 1/2 hour special, entitled "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," exceeded the single-episode ratings record set by the 1980 "Who Shot J.R.?" episode of Dallas, attracting an impressive 121.6 million American viewers.  M*A*S*H's record was eventually surpassed in total viewershp (but not ratings) by the 2010 Super Bowl.

The last episode of M*A*S*H closed off the 11th season of the series.  It dealt with the final days of the Korean War and the cease-fire that went into effect.

*  Thee members of the M*A*S*H cast - Jamie Farr (Klinger), Harry Morgan (Col. Sherman Potter) and William Christopher (Father Mulcahy) - went on to star in AfterMASH, a a spin-off set immediately after the Korean War.  AfterMASH premiered in the fall of 1983 in its predecessor's Monday night time slot.  For its second season, however, CBS moved the show to a time slot opposite NBC's smash hit The A-Team starring Mr. T.  AfterMASH failed to match the  popularity of  The A-Team and was cancelled in 1984, only nine episodes into its second season.

- Joanne

Friday, September 6, 2013

Michael J. Fox is back with a new show

If you are a fan of Michael J. Fox, there is some great news for you.  Michael is back with a new television series this fall.  It's called The Michael J. Fox Show and it premieres on the NBC network on Thursday, September 26 at 9:00 p.m. with a special one-hour episode.  After that, it will be seen in its regular Thursday night at 9:30 time slot.

In his new show, Michael stars as Mike Henry, a news anchor with Parkinson's Disease who decides to return to work after taking some time off.   Breaking Bad's Betsy Brandt portrays his wife Annie Henry.  The couple have three children.  Conor Romero plays their elder son, Ian Henry, a college drop-out.  Juliette Goglia (Joan of Arcadia, Easy A) has the role of daughter Eve Henry, the middle child.  Jack Goor plays the younger son, 7-year-old Graham Henry.  Two-time Tony Award winner Katie Finneran portrays Mike's unemployed single sister Leigh. Finneran starred in FOX's I Hate My Teenage Daughter and 

Juliette Goglia

The cast also includes The Wire's Wendell Pierce as Harris Green, Mike's ex-boss, Kay Costa as Ann Nogueira and Anne Heche as fellow anchor and arch-rival Susan Rodriguez-Jones.  The series is set in New York City and it is loosely based on Michael J. Fox's own life.  It is an attempt to look at Parkinson's with grace and humour.  Michael told People magazine (August 13, 2013, "Michael J. Fox Mines His Parkinson's Disease for Laughs on New NBC Show") that "I have challenges that come with Parkinson's but my experience is to deal with things through humour."

Below is a photo of the cast of the Michael J. Fox Show - Clockwise:from top left: Betsy Brandt. Conor Romero, Katie Finneran, Juliette Goglia, Jack Goor and Michael J. Fox seated in chair.

NBC previews "The Michael J. Fox Show."

Michael J. Fox was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on June 9. 1961 and raised in the Vancouver suburb of  Burnaby, British Columbia.  He now holds dual Canadian and American citizenship.  The actor rocketed to television stardom back in 1982 with his portrayal of a conservative Republican teen named Alex P.Keaton on the hit series Family Ties.

On July 16, 1988, Michael married actress Tracy Pollan who played his girlfriend Ellen on Family Ties. The couple recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and are the parents of four children: Sam Michael Fox (born May 30, 1989), twins Aquinnah Kathleen and Schuyler Frances (born February 15, 1995), and Esmé Annabelle (born November 3, 2001).

                              Attribution: photo by Alan Light

Above is a photo of Michael and Tracy at the Emmy Awards in August 1998, not long after their marriage.

Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1991 (when he was about 30 years old) but did not reveal his illness to the public until November of 1998.  In 2000, while starring in the ABC sitcom Spin City, Michael's symptoms became more pronounced and he announced his plans to semi-retire.  At the end of show's fourth season, he left his role as New York City's Deputy Mayor, Mike Flaherty.  His character departed from City Hall and moved to Washington, D.C.

After Michael left Spin City, Flahery was succeeded as Deputy Mayor by Charlie Sheen's character, Charlie Crawford.  Spin City remained on the air until 2002 and Michael made three guest appearances on the first three episodes of the show's sixth and final season.  The episodes were broadcast in September and October of 2001.  Since then he has appeared in limited roles and guest appearances.

In 2004, Fox played a guest role in two episodes of the comedy/drama Scrubs as a surgeon, Dr. Kevin Casey, with a serious obsessive-compulsive disorder.  In 2006, he appeared in six episodes of Boston Legal as a David Post, a lung-cancer patient.  In 2009, he guest-starred as Dwight in five episodes of  Rescue Me, an FX network comedy/drama about firefighters, for which he earned an Emmy nomination for best guest appearance.  Since 2010, Michael has also had a recurring role as lawyer Louis Canning on The Good Wife.

Michael used his career break to focus on his health and to spend time with his family.  He also became an outspoken activist in support of Parkinson's research and started the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  In a recent interview on Entertainment Tonight, Fox declared that he was ready to appear in a new series. He stated, "It was all building up to where I asked myself 'why can't I do this?  I couldn't come up with a good reason."


* Michael J. Fox was born Michael Andrew Fox.  He uses Michael J. as his professional name to honour veteran Hollywood character actor Michael J. Pollard, best known for his portrayal of C.W. Moss in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.

* When he was 15 years old, Michael starred in the Canadian television series Leo and Me on the CBC network.  In 2002, it emerged that in addition to Michael, three members of the Leo and Me crew had been diagnosed with Parkinson's.  It was revealed that director Don Williams, along with a writer and a cameraman, had been stricken with the disease.  An investigation was launched to determine why such an unusually high number of former cast and crew of the production had developed Parkinson's.

* Matthew Broderick was actually the producers' first choice to portray Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties.  Michael J. Fox was given the role because Broderick was not available at the time.  He turned down the part role because his father, James Broderick (Doug Lawrence in the television series Family which ran from 1976 to 1980) was gravely ill with cancer in New York City.  Fox and Broderick both shared the same boyish looks and were able to play younger roles.  Michael was in his early 20s when Family Ties debuted and Broderick (born March 21, 1962) later starred as a high school student in the 1986 coming-of-age film Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

* Michael has written an autobiography called Lucky Man: A Memoir (2002) in which he chronicles his battle with Parkinson's and his success in overcoming the drinking problem he developed after discovering he had the disease.  He is also the author of two other books: Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (2009) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned (2010).

Readers, if you want to do something truly worthwhile today, I urge you to make a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. It's only a click away.

-  Joanne