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It is secure to name M*A*S*H one of many biggest sitcoms of its time, and of all time, too. That’s, as long as you are snug calling M*A*S*H a sitcom, as a result of it was prepared to have extra hard-hitting moments of drama than most comparably humorous exhibits, progressively changing into extra of a dramedy because the sequence went alongside. And such an method was becoming, given the present was set through the Korean Warfare, and largely revolved round how numerous surgeons and employees at Cell Military Surgical Hospital used humor and one another to outlive the horrors round them.

The primary forged of M*A*S*H was iconic, after all, with 11 credited in the principle forged, owing to sure actors leaving the present at numerous factors and getting changed. Equally spectacular had been a few of M*A*S*H’s visitor stars; characters who solely confirmed up for an episode or two. The next characters sit someplace between fundamental forged and visitor star standing, having sufficient appearances to make an influence however with out being true fundamental characters, with among the finest of those ranked beneath.


Launch Date September 17, 1972

Forged Alan Alda, Mike Farrell, Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr, Harry Morgan, David Ogden Stiers

Genres Comedy, Drama, Warfare

Seasons 11

Score TV-PG

10 Personal Igor Straminsky

Appeared in Seasons 2 to 11
Picture by way of CBS

Although he may not be essentially the most putting or persistently humorous recurring character, Personal Igor Straminsky was one of many M*A*S*H’s most regularly recurring. He tended to work within the mess tent as a cook dinner’s assistant, and given how usually scenes would happen right here all through the present, Straminsky has loads of background appearances from season 2 onwards. Because the present went alongside, he tended to get a number of extra strains and issues to do, and caught round lengthy sufficient to be within the finale.

IMDb has Straminsky’s fundamental actor, Jeff Maxwell, listed as being in 48 episodes, although the character was additionally performed by one other actor – Peter Riegert – in two episodes. He was a welcome presence within the present, whether or not as a background character or somebody who’d conflict with different characters (often over the lackluster high quality of meals he served them), and an total noteworthy member of the 4077th.

9 Lieutenant Ginger Bayliss

Appeared in Seasons 1 to five

There are a lot of facets of M*A*S*H that also maintain up properly to this present day, although it has been off the air for 40 years, and began airing greater than half a century in the past. That being stated, one factor that may have appeared regular again within the Nineteen Seventies and ’80s whereas protruding as we speak is the actual fact essentially the most distinguished characters of M*A*S*H are nearly all white, and in relation to the 11 characters who had been featured in the principle forged all through, just one was a lady: Main Margaret J. Houlihan (Loretta Swit).

As such, one of many recurring nurse characters, Lieutenant Ginger Bayliss – performed by Odessa Cleveland – stands out for being a recurring character that gave the present a bit of variety between seasons 1 and 5. Then once more, segregation was nonetheless one thing that impacted sure elements of the military through the Korean Warfare, which can clarify a few of M*A*S*H’s casting decisions. There was a season 2 episode that had Bayliss confronted by a racist affected person, and at different instances, she was handled as simply one other member of the 4077th, making the character a small – however not unnoticeable – step towards having a bit of extra illustration.

8 The PA Announcer

Appeared in Seasons 1 to 11
Picture by way of CBS

The PA Announcer is a continuing presence in M*A*S*H, and counts as one of many few minor “characters” to seem in each the 1970 Robert Altman movie and the TV sequence. That’s, as long as you depend a disembodied voice as a personality. Certain, viewers do not ever get to see the announcer within the flesh, however their bulletins are heard usually all through the present, and loads of their dry observations concerning the state of the 4077th are fairly humorous.

Two actors had been credited with being the announcer all through the present’s length: Todd Susman and Sal Viscuso. The “character” has sufficient appearances to rival members of the principle forged, however once more, the actual fact the character’s off-screen, unnamed, and performed by multiple individual all through M*A*S*H’s run all serve to disqualify them from being wherever near gaining fundamental character standing.

7 Nurse Margie Cutler

Appeared in Season 1
Picture by way of CBS

Although Nurse Margie Cutler (Marcia Strassman) solely seems in a handful of episodes located solely within the first season, she nonetheless makes an influence, and exhibits up sufficient instances inside a brief period of time to be thought-about a recurring character. The beforehand talked about head nurse, Margaret Houlihan, was characterised in earlier seasons as being one thing of an antagonist for fundamental characters like Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and Trapper (Wayne Rogers), with Cutler due to this fact standing out in season 1 for largely being on their aspect.

She engaged in a few of their pranks and outlandish eventualities, and was maybe the primary feminine character on the present to let off steam equally to how most of the male characters did. And although M*A*S*H was by no means actually too targeted on the romance aspect of issues, as a sitcom, Cutler did additionally function a quick/non permanent love curiosity for Hawkeye, although they half methods in direction of the season’s finish, and she or he by no means exhibits up once more in subsequent seasons.

6 Sergeant Zelmo Zale

Appeared in Seasons 2 to eight
Picture by way of CBS

Sergeant Zelmo Zale had a gentle variety of appearances between season 2 and eight of M*A*S*H, displaying up for a complete of 20 episodes. He was performed by Johnny Haymer, and served as a provide sergeant and electrician for the 4077th, additionally being memorable for the best way he regularly clashed with Maxwell Q. Klinger (Jamie Farr), who was all the time attempting to get a Part Eight discharge.

He was gruff, sarcastic, and all the time in a position to trigger a bit of extra chaos, and notably left the present in the identical episode that Walter “Radar” O’Reilly (Gary Burghoff) did: season 8’s “Goodbye, Radar.” Moreover, after Radar left, Klinger took over his function as firm clerk, and Zale kind of obtained changed shortly after his departure from the present by Sergeant Luther Rizzo… however extra on him in a bit.

5 Lieutenant Kellye Yamato

Appeared in Seasons 2 to 11
Picture by way of CBS

Of all of the recurring characters, Lieutenant Kellye Yamato (performed by Kellye Nakahara) is the one who has essentially the most on-screen appearances. She’s in roughly two-thirds of the present’s episodes, rising from being a background character in earlier seasons to typically getting a bit of extra to do in later seasons, ultimately changing into one of many present’s most adorable characters.

Many different nurse characters felt like they got here and went or had been persistently cycled by as extras, however Yamato managed to have sticking energy, and appeared in additional episodes than some fundamental forged members. She additionally will get a highlight episode at first of season 11, with “Hey, Look Me Over” largely being about her calling out Hawkeye’s shallowness in relation to the nurses he tries to woo, and the way she’s the one nurse he hasn’t pursued romantically.

4 Sergeant Luther Rizzo

Appeared in Seasons 8 to 11
Picture by way of CBS

Sergeant Luther Rizzo (G.W. Bailey) was roughly the alternative for Sergeant Zelmo Zale, getting into the present in its eighth season, and a number of other episodes after Zale’s closing look. He did not have the very same function inside the 4077th, as Rizzo was in command of the motor pool, which is a fleet of motor automobiles obtainable to be used by sure personnel at a army set up. He by no means appeared to do that job very properly, however prevented getting discharged one way or the other.

He even caught round till the very finish of the present, showing in its legendary and acclaimed sequence finale, “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.” Rizzo was crass and lazy, total not being the type of individual you’d essentially need to work with in actual life, however a enjoyable addition to a present like M*A*S*H, being a constant supply of levity all through among the present’s later – and oftentimes darker – episodes.

3 Rosie

Appeared in Seasons 3 to 10
Picture by way of CBS

More often than not, characters who weren’t employees on the 4077th or affiliated with the camp indirectly could be one-off characters or visitor stars, making Rosie stand out. She appeared sporadically all through seasons 3 to 10, with a complete of 10 episodes, however she ran an iconic location for the present: Rosie’s Bar. Although she was performed by three completely different actresses (Frances Fong, Shizuko Hoshi, and Eileen Saki), her appearances had been all the time onerous to overlook, given her proximity to the institution she ran.

As talked about earlier than, M*A*S*H tended to deal with white male characters, so having a recurring character of some prominence be feminine and a civilian through the battle is important. Regrettably, Rosie did not make any appearances within the closing season, and was absent from the in any other case jam-packed sequence finale consequently, however her numerous appearances and the bar that her identify was hooked up to are undoubtedly iconic elements of M*A*S*H as a complete.

2 Main Sidney Freedman

Appeared in Seasons 2 to 11
Picture by way of CBS

Although his character did not solely lack a humorousness, every time Main Sidney Freedman confirmed up, it was usually an indication that M*A*S*H was going to swing extra towards drama than comedy. Performed by Allan Arbus throughout a dozen episodes between seasons 2 and 11, Freedman was a psychiatrist who visited the 4077th on occasion, offering a extra conventional outlet (apart from joking and pranks) for folks to grapple with the emotional hardships of being concerned in battle.

Arbus may be very convincing as a military psychiatrist, and brings a specific amount of gravitas to the character whereas additionally making him really feel human and relatable. He is additionally a typically optimistic on-screen depiction of a psychiatrist in a present that aired when there was extra stigma round psychological well being (and that is to say nothing of the possible elevated stigma that might have existed through the early Nineteen Fifties, when the Korean Warfare was being fought).

1 Colonel Sam Flagg

Appeared in Seasons 2 to 7
Picture by way of CBS

Although Colonel Sam Flagg solely appeared in seven episodes throughout six seasons of M*A*S*H, he tended to steal the present in every one in every of them. It is fairly straightforward to label him essentially the most iconic recurring character within the present, with Edward Winter’s deadpan efficiency contrasting expertly together with his character’s wild and eccentric habits. Flagg was an unstoppable power of chaos and calamity, however in a regularly humorous means.

As such, Sam Flagg performed a substantial half in making M*A*S*H the hilarious sitcom it is remembered as to this present day. From his numerous aliases to his ridiculous disguises to his ceaseless potential to destroy issues and make enemies, Flagg was all the time a spotlight every time he confirmed up. And although his appearances had been sparse, even by recurring character requirements, Winter made all of them depend after which some.

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