M*A*S*H on Murder, She Wrote

A major trend in the Murder, She Wrote guest star roster which has been remarked on by many fans is the fact that M*A*S*H stars have a tendency to pop up in episodes of the show.

It’s not surprising that this was the case. M*A*S*H ended its long TV run in 1983, leaving its stars free to pursue other acting jobs. So when Murder, She Wrote premiered in 1984, many M*A*S*H stars were available to guest star on it.

(Interestingly, the novel that formed the basis for the M*A*S*H movie and TV series had a sequel titled M*A*S*H Goes to Maine, in which the main characters move to Crabapple Cove, Maine after the war.)

Main M*A*S*H cast

All but a handful of M*A*S*H stars made at least one appearance on Murder, She Wrote. Those who made one appearance include:

  • William Christopher (Father Mulcahy) in S2E7 “A Lady in the Lake”
  • Harry Morgan (Colonel Potter) in S3E21 “The Days Dwindle Down
  • Jamie Farr (Klinger) in S5E2 “A Little Night Work
  • Mike Farrell (B.J. Honeycutt) in S7E5 “The Family Jewels”
  • Loretta Swit (Major Houlihan) in S10E13 “Portrait of Death”

A further three actors made multiple appearances on MSW:

  • David Ogden Stiers (Charles Winchester III) in three episodes and one TV movie:
    • S3E5 “Corned Beef and Carnage”;
    • S11E11 “An Egg to Die for”;
    • S12E24 “Death by Demographics”
    • and “The Last Free Man”
  • Larry Linville (Major Burns) in three episodes:
    • S1E18 “Murder Takes the Bus”;
    • S4E14 “Curse of the Daanav“;
    • S12E11 “Unwilling Witness”
  • Wayne Rogers (“Trapper John” McIntyre) in a five-episode recurring role as “Charlie Garrett”:
    • S9E13 “Dead Eye”;
    • S10E14 “Deadly Assets”;
    • S11E7 “Fatal Paradise”;
    • S12E2 “A Quaking in Aspen”;
    • S12E9 “Deadly Bidding”

Notably absent in the lists above are Alan Alda (“Hawkeye” Pierce), Gary Burghoff (Radar O’Reilly), and McLean Stevenson (Col. Blake), neither of whom ever appeared on Murder, She Wrote. Additionally, the more astute M*A*S*H fans will also notice that supporting cast members Kellye Nakahara (Nurse Kellye) and Jeff Maxwell (Straminsky, who served food in the mess hall) are also absent from the MSW guest star roster.

Supporting cast

Nonetheless, while most viewers are likely to have recognized a main M*A*S*H cast member when they appeared on MSW, there were also plenty of supporting cast members who appeared in both shows. Notably:

  • Todd Susman (who voiced the P.A. announcements in over 40 episodes) appeared in one episode of MSW
  • G.W. Bailey (who played Rizzo in 14 episodes) appeared in two episodes of MSW, one of which was “Murder, She Spoke
  • Edward Winter (who played Col. Flagg in 6 episodes) appeared in three episodes of MSW, one of which was “Smooth Operators
  • Marcia Strassman (who played Margie Cutler in 6 episodes) appeared in one episode of MSW

Many more actors had minor roles in both shows and appeared in only a handful of episodes of each. However, I wanted to draw special attention to the Asian actors who played local Koreans on M*A*S*H and who each also made one appearance on Murder, She Wrote:

  • Soon-Tek Oh (who played various characters in 5 episodes of M*A*S*H)
  • Clyde Kusatsu (who played various characters in 4 episodes of M*A*S*H) appeared in “Good-Bye Charlie
  • Pat Morita (who played Capt. Sam Pak in 2 episodes of M*A*S*H)
  • Rosalind Chao (who played Soon-Lee Klinger in 2 episodes of M*A*S*H)
  • George Cheung (who played various characters in 2 episodes of M*A*S*H )

The movie

Cast members of the TV series weren’t the only MASH-related actors to have appeared on Murder, She Wrote. Several actors who portrayed characters in the 1970 movie that originated the TV series can also be seen in episodes of MSW.

  • Rene Auberjonois (Father Mulcahy) appeared in 2 episodes of MSW: “Murder in a Minor Key” and “Mourning among the Wisterias
  • Sally Kellerman (Hot Lips O’Houlihan) appeared in 1 episode of MSW
  • Elliott Gould (Trapper John) appeared in 1 episode of MSW: “The Error of Her Ways
  • John Schuck (Capt “Painless” Waldowski) appeared in 2 episodes of MSW

Honourable mention

Michael Horton (a.k.a. Grady Fletcher) made an appearance as Lt. Curt Collins in season 11 episode 12 of M*A*S*H titled “Say No More”.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: