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