Skip to main content

M*A*S*H star Wayne Rogers has died

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Stewart Cook/REX/Shutterstock (565670o) Loretta Swit, Wayne Rogers and Jamie Farr WAYNE ROGERS RECEIVING A STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME, LOS ANGELES, AMERICA - 13 DEC 2005

Wayne Rogers, the star of the hit US TV series M*A*S*H, has died at the age of 82.

 

The Alabama-born actor played army surgeon ‘Trapper’ John McIntyre in the comedy series, adapted from the 1970 film MASH, which followed a team of doctors and support staff stationed at a mobile army hospital during the Korean War (1950-1953). 

 

A Princeton graduate and a Navy veteran before finding fame as an actor, Rogers became a household name after playing Trapper in the first three series of the show which ran for 11 seasons between 1972 and 1983.

 

In the early days of his acting career, Rogers appeared in numerous TV westerns, as well as small roles in movies such as Cool Hand Luke and The Glory Guys.

 

But it was his on-screen partnership in M*A*S*H with fellow surgeon Hawkeye Pierce, played by Alan Alda, which propelled him into the limelight, as one half of one of TV's most beloved duos. In the film, Trapper was played by Elliot Gould while Donald Sutherland played Hawkeye.

 

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Stewart Cook/REX/Shutterstock (565670o) Loretta Swit, Wayne Rogers and Jamie Farr WAYNE ROGERS RECEIVING A STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME, LOS ANGELES, AMERICA - 13 DEC 2005

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Stewart Cook/REX/Shutterstock (565670o) Loretta Swit, Wayne Rogers and Jamie Farr WAYNE ROGERS RECEIVING A STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME, LOS ANGELES, AMERICA - 13 DEC 2005

 

Rogers had initially intended to audition for the role of Hawkeye, but eventually opted to play Trapper. To begin with, the surgeons were equals, but Rogers soon began to feel that the scripts championed Alda's character over his own. He left the show after three years after a dispute over his contract. 

 

He said the producers wanted to give him a contract that included, among other things, "an old-fashioned morals clause".

"It said that, in the eyes of the studio, if you behaved in an immoral fashion, they have the right to suspend you,” said Rogers. “Well, nobody defined an 'immoral fashion,' as it were - so it was at the whim of whoever ran the studio.”

 

The series went on to run for a further 8 seasons, with Mike Farrell replacing Rogers as Hawkeye's new cohort, Captain BJ Hunnicut.

 

Rogers later said that had he known the show would last so long he might have "kept my mouth shut and stayed put".

 

After his departure in 1975, he continued to act for another 30 years, earning a Golden Globe nomination for his role as another surgeon, Dr Charley Michaels, in TV comedy House Calls in 1981. He also had a recurring role in the Angela Lansbury drama Murder She Wrote and was awarded a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in 2005.

 

Wayne Rogers died of complications from pneumonia in Los Angeles. He is survived by his wife Amy, children Bill and Laura, and four grandchildren.