The following is a list of the most surprising and famous actors who appeared on M*A*S*H the TV show that ran from 1972 to 1983. Unless you are an absolute M*A*S*H fanatic, some of the names on this list are sure to surprise you.
When I was a kid in the 1970s, M*A*S*H was a very popular show in our house because both of my older sisters loved the show. I loved the show too, especially the earlier episodes, and have always felt the show lost a lot when Mike Farrell joined the cast. Not because Farrell’s character on the show, B.J. Hunnicutt, was too preachy, but because the character was about as funny as a lead balloon.
The earlier episodes were much more like M*A*S*H the movie, which is a riot to watch. Hope you enjoy the list of the most surprising and famous actors who appeared on M*A*S*H.
I’ve also included a few actors who appeared in the movie. I have gone back to many of the episodes mentioned below to watch these most surprising and famous actors who appeared on M*A*S*H.
Most Surprising and Famous Actors Who Appeared on M*A*S*H
Tom Hanks’ wife, Rita Wilson, played Nurse Lacey in episodes “Blood and Guts” and “Hey, Look Me Over” in seasons 10 and 11 respectively.
Before he became incredibly famous as Norm on Cheers, George Wendt played Pvt. La Roche in “Trick or Treatment”, which was episode two on season 11 in 1982.
Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze was Pvt. Gary Sturgis in “Blood Brothers”, which aired in 1981.
Before he became a sitcom star on Three’s Company, John Ritter was on M*A*S*H in episode 13 in season two in 1983 called “Deal Me Out”.
A few years before he famously played Danny Noonan in Caddyshack, Michael O’Keefe made two guest appearances on M*A*S*H in “Mad Dogs and Servicemen” in 1974, and “War of Nerves” in 1977.
Former NFL player John Matuszak played Cpl. Elmo Hitalski in one of the dumbest M*A*S*H episodes of all time, “Promotion Commotion” in 1982.
Former NFL player Fred Williamson was Spearchucker Jones in *M*A*S*H the movie.
Former NFL player Alex Karras played Lance Cpl. Lyle Wesson in “Springtime”, which aired in 1974.
Before she was Diane Chambers on Cheers, Shelley Long played Lt. Mendenhall in “Bottle Fatigue” in 1980.
Ron Howard was already well known when he played Private Walter/Wendell Peterson in “Sometimes You Hear the Bullet” in 1973.
Gregory Harrison is notable because after he played Lt. Tony Baker in “The Nurses” in 1973, he went on to star as Trapper John in the TV show of the same name from 1979 to 1986.
Long before The Matrix, Laurence Fishburne played Corporal Dorsey in “The Tooth Shall Set You Free” in 1982.
Long before Lonesome Dove, many people forget that Robert Duvall played Frank Burns in M*A*S*H the movie.
Long before he starred in Babe, James Cromwell played Leo Bardonaro on M*A*S*H in the episode titled “Last Laugh” in 1977.
Leslie Nielson played Col. Buzz Brighton in “The Ringbanger” in 1973.
Rene Auberjonois portrayed Father Mulcahy in M*A*S*H the movie. He went on to star in many movies and TV shows, and is probably best known for playing Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Rosalind Chao, who appeared in the last few episodes of the show and married Corporal Max Klinger in the M*A*S*H two-hour series finale, went on to star in both Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Keiko O’Brien, the wife of Miles O’Brien.
Andrew Dice Clay
Believe it or not, but comedian Andrew Dice Clay appeared on M*A*S*H in episode “Trick or Treatment” in 1982 playing wounded drunk soldier Corp. Hrabosky.
Blythe Danner, who is the mother of Gweneth Paltrow, appeared in M*A*S*H episode “The More I See You” playing a love interest for Alan Alda’s Hawkeye as Carlye Breslin Walton. Danner had previously been in a movie, To Kill a Clown, with Alda.
Family Members on M*A*S*H
Alan Alda’s father, Robert Alda, appeared in two different M*A*S*H episodes.
Alan Alda’s half-brother, Antony Alda, appeared in one M*A*S*H episode, along with his father.
Bizarre M*A*S*H Trivia
In a weird coincidence, the actors who portrayed Colonel Henry Blake, Roger Bowen in the movie, and McLean Stevenson in the TV show, both died of a heart attack one day apart in February of 1996. Bowen was 63 years old, while Stevenson was 68 at the time of their deaths.