Wayne Rogers, the actor behind the character Trapper John McIntyre in the immensely successful sitcom MASH, has died at 82 years of age in Los Angeles, according to the Guardian. Rogers’ long acting career also included the portrayal of characters in Murder, She Wrote, City of Angels, House Calls, and many other television shows and films.
The popular and beloved actor was said to be surrounded by family and loved ones when he passed. The cause of Rogers’ death was reported to have been complications with pneumonia, according to the Daily Mail.
— Rachelle☀️ (@RachelBCanada) January 1, 2016
Rogers was married to Amy Hirsh and had two children, Bill and Laura, as well as four grandchildren who survive him. Wayne Rogers was previously married to Mitzi McWhorter.
The character Trapper John was sent home after the third season in MASH’s 11-season run. Wayne Rogers’ depiction of the Korean war-era physician, swapping wisecracks, as well as poignant moments, with Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, portrayed by Alan Alda, as reported by IMDb, has been enthusiastically rewatched by many over its years of syndication. IMDb users give MASH 8.4 out of 10 stars.
Rogers, a Princeton graduate, was said to have been given his “big break” when given the job to star alongside Alda in the television series inspired by the film of the same name, as reported by IMDb. A contract dispute after the MASH’s third season led to the exit of both Wayne Rogers and McLean Stevenson, who played Colonel Henry Blake. McLean Stevenson passed away in 1996.
The actor admitted to becoming “frustrated” with Alan Alda commanding more screen time from producers and writers during the end of his run with MASH. Wayne Rogers had been quoted with regard to an “old-fashioned morals clause” that may have helped his departure from the show.
“It said that, in the eyes of the studio, if you behaved in an immoral fashion, they have the right to suspend you,” Rogers was quoted in 2012. “Well, nobody defined an ‘immoral fashion,’ as it were — so it was at the whim of whoever ran the studio.”
Trapper John was never even given a formal send-off within the MASH script. Colonel Henry Blake was shipped home at the end of Season 3, only to be killed, with his plane being shot down over the Sea of Japan on the way home to the United States. Radar O’Reilly, played by Gary Burghoff, was the one who delivered the news to both the world and the cast, who, other than Alan Alda, only learned of the major plot development as the scene was shot. News of the character Henry Blake’s death was said to have been deliberately held back from the cast for effect.
Henry Blake was replaced by Colonel Sherman T. Potter in the series, portrayed by Harry Morgan. The fourth anniversary of Morgan’s 2011 death recently passed on December 7, according to IMDb.
We loved Harry Morgan. He gave us some of our happiest memories.
— Alan Alda (@alanalda) December 13, 2015
One of the favorite pastimes of characters Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John in the MASH sitcom was tormenting Major Frank Burns, with whom the army physicians shared a tent. The MASH character Frank Burns was played by Larry Linville before he was written-off the show in 1977, according to IMDb. Linville died, sadly, of complications due to pneumonia contracted after cancer surgery in 2000.
After his time working in Hollywood, Wayne Rogers became a successful money manager. The MASH Trapper John actor was said to be a common guest on the Fox News investment show Cashin’ In. In both 1988 and 1990, Wayne Rogers testified before a “House judiciary committee to speak in favour of maintaining the Glass-Steagall banking laws of the 1930s.”
Wayne Rogers received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.
[Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images]