Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #97 -- Kudos to a TV Classic


Through most of the 1970s and even into the 1980s, I was half in love with Benjamin Franklin Pierce, aka Hawkeye from M*A*S*H. Perhaps because he was my most loyal Saturday night date during those years, and the only one who didn’t break my heart.

While he was the show’s major draw, the whole cast was impressive, as well. So this week, I am paying tribute to them with a “where are they now” TT.

1) Hawkeye Pierce – Alan Alda is now in his 70s. Since M*A*S*H he has written a pair of memoirs, starred on Broadway, appeared on ER and The West Wing and even been nominated for an Oscar (The Aviator).

2) Trapper John – Wayne Rogers is now 75. He left the show after three seasons, and pretty much walked away from acting. Don’t worry about him, though, since he went on to become a successful investment strategist.

3) BJ Hunnicut – Mike Farrell is a crusader for the environment and civil liberties. At 72, he still appears on TV now and again. He was a regular on Providence and had a recurring episode on Desperate Housewives.

4) Margaret Houlihan – Hot Lips is 70! I just can't believe it. Loretta Swit has become an animal rights activist and hosted Those Amazing Animals on the Discovery Channel.

5) Major Frank Burns – Larry Linville suffered from cancer and passed away in 2000 at age 59.

6) Col. Sherman Potter – After acting and directing for 57 years, today at the age of 97, Harry Morgan is deservedly retired.

7) “Radar” O’Reilly – Gary Burghoff still appears on TV occasionally, but at 68 he concentrates on his second career as an artist.

8) Corporal Klinger – 74-year-old Jamie Farr may have left his women’s wardrobe behind, but he’s still acting on TV and stage.

9) Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III – David Ogden Stiers has been working regularly since M*A*S*H went off the air. At 65, he is hired most often for his distinctive voice. His voice-over credits include Lilo and Stitch.

10) Father Francis Mulcahy – William Christopher is still acting at 75. He recently appeared in a touring company of The Odd Couple.

11) Col. Henry Blake – Chicago’s own McLean Stevenson, who left the show in 1975, died of a heart attack in 1996 at age 68.

12) Major Sidney Freedman – Alan Arbus appeared as the army shrink in approximately 12 episodes, including the famous M*A*S*H finale. At age 90, he doesn’t act very much anymore but he did have a recurring role on Judging Amy in the 1990s. Researching this TT I discovered that he was once married to photographer Diane Arbus. (How cool is that?)

13) Larry Gelbart – He wasn’t a character on M*A*S*H, but he was a driving force behind the scenes, writing and directing many episodes in seasons 1 through 4. At 80, he’s still writing – most often as a blogger at The Huffington Post – and has been known to use the pen name “Francis Burns.”

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