Wayne Rogers, Trap­per John on TV’s MASH, dies

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OBITUARIES -

Wayne Rogers, whose Trap­per John McIn­tyre along­side Alan Alda’s Hawk­eye Pierce brought mis­chief, mar­ti­nis and meat­ball surgery to the masses in the 1970s ev­ery week on “M.A.S.H.,” has died.

The ac­tor was sur­rounded by fam­ily when he died last Thurs­day in Los An­ge­les of com­pli­ca­tions from pneu­mo­nia at age 82, his pub­li­cist and long­time friend Rona Me­nashe told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

Rogers’ army sur­geon Trap­per John was one of the most beloved char­ac­ters - and half of one of the most beloved duos - in TV history, de­spite the ac­tor’s ap­pear­ing in only the first three of the show’s 11 sea­sons on CBS.

“I loved Wayne. He was smart and funny and curious and ded­i­cated,” Alda said Fri­day. “On the day we met we promised each other to give MASH ev­ery­thing we had, and that prom­ise bonded us. We were close friends and I’ll miss him very much.”

The two skilled doc­tors, Hawk­eye and Trap­per, blew off steam be­tween surg­eries pulling pranks, ro­manc­ing nurses and tor­ment­ing their tent-mate Frank Burns, with a seem­ingly end­less sup­ply of booze and one­lin­ers at the ready.

In one clas­sic mo­ment, Trap­per reaches out as though he’s check­ing for rain and says, “Hmm, feels like it’s go­ing to mar­tini,” as Hawk­eye promptly passes him a drink.

And in an­other line that typ­i­fied the show’s ethos, Trap­per an­swers a ques­tion with “How should I know? I dropped out of school to be­come a doc­tor.”

McIn­tyre was on “M.A.S.H.” from 1972 to 1975, be­com­ing one of many orig­i­nal cast mem­bers to leave the wildly pop­u­lar show that went on un­til 1983. He was ini­tially con­sid­ered for Alda’s char­ac­ter, but he pre­ferred Trap­per’s sun­nier dis­po­si­tion to Hawk­eye’s darkly acer­bic per­son­al­ity. The char­ac­ters were es­sen­tially equals when the show be­gan, but it in­creas­ingly fo­cused on Alda, which was a fac­tor in Rogers’ de­par­ture.


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