THE TRUTH why McLean Stevenson left MASH (2023)


Here's the truth about McLean Stevenson's decision to leave the hit CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, on which he played Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake for the show's first three seasons. Was it really a terrible, terrible, no good, very bad decision? Or was it something else? Watch this video and judge for yourself!
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If you're a fan of the TV series Mash, then you might recognize this face from the first three seasons of this TV series. Actor McLean Stevenson played Lieutenant Colonel, Henry and Blake, a role that brought fame and fortune to the actor who knew him.

He was destined to work in the entertainment industry.

Since he was just a little boy.

And that's despite McLean being part of one of the funniest casts on television.

He managed to stand out enough to receive a Golden Globe for his work.

In 1974, in the mid-1970s, Mash was perhaps one of the most popular TV shows, as I said. The cast was great, but more than just the creative team, led by Larry Gelbart, was outstanding.

And the scripts given to the actors allowed them to shine regardless of whether the role in this week's episode was big or small, after a while the madness of acting on a popular television show began to wear off for Stephenson. did an episode have to be cut due to time constraints?

It was usually his stuff, because his stories were often fringe.

While the core of many episodes focused on Hawkeye and Trapper, John McClain was also more than a little irritated by the working conditions he and his co-stars sometimes struggled with on set for whatever reason.

At least to him, it felt like Century Fox was cutting the series' production budget in the 20th century, even though it didn't have to be at NBC at the time.

The network regularly ranked third.

And they were hungry for talent when they heard McLean Stevenson might be ready to make things greener.

Willows Advertising Started McLain was made aware of this when Johnny Carson decided to retire.

It would be considered for the Tonight Show spot.

And in the meantime, he could have his own show where he would be the center of attention, and guess what, it all looked pretty good for McLean.

So he told people he wanted to leave. In hindsight, it's easy to say that it was a terrible, terrible, not good, but very bad decision.

But then it seemed like a risk worth taking.

And then Lt. Col., Henry and Blake went home at the end of Season 3, of course we all know that Stevenson's character didn't go home.

The plane was shot down somewhere over the Sea of ​​Japan.

And when the writers added this last-minute addition to the script, they confirmed with absolute certainty that McLean Stevenson would never return to the mash set. At first, things seemed to be going well for MacLean.

Whether appearing as a guest or filling in for Johnny, Stevenson always seemed completely at home on the set of "The Tonight, Show," and who knew Carson was far from ready to retire.

It would be well over a decade before Johnny announced his plans for a late night out.

And during that time, McLean Stevenson had a string of flop television shows.

The first part of the McLean Stevenson series was definitely the worst ever. I only vaguely remember this one when it originally aired in primetime.

But thanks to the all-knowing great media tool YouTube.

You can see for yourself what a mess this thing was now.


Larry was a different story, at least for me.

It was a spin-off of Diff'rent Strokes and honestly I kind of liked it. I thought the cast was very good, including Kim Richards, and I felt this show could use more time and more trust from the network.

It could have been a success, but it wasn't.

And at some point, yes, we can all guess that's when the quarterback started thinking about Stevenson's decision to leave Mash on Monday morning. One critic joked that McLean Stevenson was routinely the show's annual winner. I finished this show and became a Big Star Award, while other critics were even less nice, saying, "He screwed up in Hollywood and has now exhausted his reception for good talk about crowding crowding but unfortunately lies." to keep kicking. Someone is down.

The reality is that none of the cast that left Mash ever found another show that had the same success, Wayne, Rogers, Not Larry, Linville in Gary Burghoff.

In truth.

These roles on the show itself were so iconic that it became simply impossible for the actors to break free of the characters that made them household names.

So in the end it really was a terrible decision in the event of a claim. I would say that was not the case. Why? Because he wasn't happy, and to quote the Dalai Lama, the real purpose of our life is to be happy. If we're not, we need to change something, and McLean Stevenson has done just that.

And that's despite the fact that he never had a hit TV show again and wasn't even running for The Tonight Show.

When Carson finally retired.

Frankly, McClain always found work.

And although he was the first to admit that the work did not reflect the same high level of craftsmanship and creativity that he experienced in making the mash.

He found joy in many things he later did.

And that, my friends, is why McLean Stevenson made the right decision.

Maybe the wrong time, maybe he should have stayed another season or two.

Still, it was the right decision for him.

An interesting little thing when McLean Stevenson passed away in 1996.

It was just one day before actor Roger Bowen died of a similar heart attack.

Well, he's the actor who played Lieutenant, Colonel, Henry and Blake in the 1970 film adaptation of Mash, so there's that.

What do you think McLean made the right decision, or was it, as many say, a really horrible, horrible, no good, really bad decision?

Let me know in the comments section.

And while you're at it, I'd appreciate a thumbs up.

If you enjoyed this video, I would be very happy if you would consider subscribing to my channel. I talked about music, movies and television.

Mostly from the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's, you know the good stuff, but most of all, and as always, thanks for watching.


THE TRUTH why McLean Stevenson left MASH? ›

She said that before Stevenson left the series he told her, "I know I will not be in anything as good as this show, but I have to leave and be number one." Although he had played ensemble parts for several years, he stated that the primary reasons for his departure were systemic problems with 20th Century Fox, ...

What was the controversial episode that ended MASH? ›

"Abyssinia, Henry" is the 72nd episode of the M*A*S*H television series, and the final episode of the series' third season. It was written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, and first aired on March 18, 1975.

Why did so many actors leave MASH? ›

Considering how successful MASH was, it's curious why many original cast members decided to leave the show in the middle of its run. Most of these departures were actually decided by the actors themselves. Henry Blake actor McLean Stevenson wanted to venture out and try other things for his career.

Did Alan Alda and Gary Burghoff get along? ›

He had a particularly heated relationship with Alan Alda. Once, Mike Farrell told him that his problem was that he could dish it out but he couldn't take it, and Gary said, "And I'm getting real sick and tired of dishing it out." The poor guy didn't even realize what he'd said. '"

Who turned down the role of Hawkeye in MASH? ›

Alda almost turned down the role of Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H (1972) because he did not want war to be a "backdrop for lighthearted hijinks... "I wanted to show that the war was a bad place to be.".

What is the saddest MASH episode? ›

Frank's Broken Heart

Major Frank Burns is the resident jerk of the 4077th but his one moment of humanity is also one of M*A*S*H's saddest. Simply put, he didn't take Margaret's engagement to Lt. Col. Donald Penobscott well.

Why did Trapper John leave MASH so suddenly? ›

In 1975, Rogers left M*A*S*H after three years in a contract dispute and because he felt the writers were slighting Trapper John's character development. Essentially, his character had become the straight man to Alan Alda's endearingly wry Hawkeye character. Alda shared his sorrow over Rogers passing on social media.

Who was the highest paid actor on MASH? ›

At the peak of his time on "M*A*S*H" Alan was not only the highest paid actor on the series but the highest paid actor on television.

Why did Dwayne Rogers leave MASH? ›

He succeeded Elliott Gould, who had played the character in the Robert Altman movie MASH, and was himself succeeded by Pernell Roberts on the M*A*S*H spin-off Trapper John, M.D. After three seasons, Rogers left the show after a contract dispute with the producers.

How was trapper written out of MASH? ›

After 74 episodes, Rogers left television's M.A.S.H. over a contract dispute. He was replaced on the show by Mike Farrell, who played B.J. Hunnicut, Hawkeye's new tent mate. The show ran until 1983.

Who is Alan Alda best friend? ›

Five Decades of Friendship: Mike Farrell and Alan Alda's Bromance...

Did Wayne Rogers and Alan Alda get along? ›

“We were strangers, but we both knew we somehow had to find a relationship like the one the characters we played had.” Alda wrote that the two men bonded over their passion for acting. He recalled days in which they would practice acting out a scene, even after it had already been filmed.

What was the controversial scene on MASH? ›

What controversial scene ended MASH? In the final episode, Hawkeye recalls for Dr. Sidney Freedman how he and some of the other personnel of the 4077th were aboard a bus returning to camp when they realized that North Korean soldiers were patrolling in the area.

Is there really a Crabapple Cove Maine? ›

Crabapple Cove, Maine is the fictional hometown of M*A*S*H surgeon Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce and is referenced frequently in the series. No actual Crabapple Cove exists but it is believed to be based on the town of Bremen in Maine.

Does the cast of MASH get royalties? ›

By the time MASH was on, and certainly by the time it was done, residuals and royalties were common, especially for the cast regulars, and certainly for the leads. MASH's stars went through many renegotiations of their contracts, and it is hard to believe these would never be included.

Did the cast of MASH get along? ›

The surviving cast remain close today. “We lost so many of our family — Wayne, McLean [Stevenson], Larry [Linville], David [Ogden Stiers], Bill [Christopher], Harry [Morgan]. Every one was a body blow, but it's still forever,” says Loretta. “We loved each other, and we still do.”

Did BJ cheat on MASH? ›

Donovan should have been bunking with the rest of the nurses). B.J. does admit he spent the night with Carrie Donovan but doesn't go further about what he did and didn't do with her. However, in their after-the-fact conversations between B.J. and Carrie, it is all but stated outright that they slept together.

What was the most watched TV episode of MASH? ›

In “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” on Feb. 28, 1983, as the Korean War was ending, members of the 4077th MASH folded up their surgical tents, and characters said their bittersweet goodbyes. The episode drew 105.97 million total viewers — by far the largest number of people ever, watching a prime-time television episode.

Did Hawkeye go crazy in MASH? ›

Hawkeye starts sleepwalking and having horrific nightmares. He begins to think that he may be starting to lose his "war against the war."

How did radar leave MASH? ›

However, he exited during M*A*S*H season 8, as Burghoff was burned out by the show's schedule and being away from his family for long periods. In the series itself, Radar's exit was explained as being given a hardship discharge so he could go back to his family farm, and help his mother following his uncle's death.

Was there a MASH spin-off? ›

How many MASH characters have passed away? ›

Sadly, in the nearly four decades since the show went off the air, many of the main cast members have passed away, including William Christopher (Father Mulcahy), Wayne Rogers ("Trapper" John), Larry Linville (Major Frank Burns), Harry Morgan (Colonel Potter) and McLean Stevenson (Lt. Colonel Blake).

Who was the most popular character on MASH? ›

MASH: Every Major Character, Ranked
  • 8 Maj. Frank Burns.
  • 7 Cpl. Max Klinger.
  • 6 Lt. Col. Henry Blake.
  • 5 Maj. Margaret Houlihan.
  • 4 Capt. "Trapper John" McIntyre.
  • 3 Capt. "Hawkeye" Pierce.
  • 2 Cpl. "Radar" O'Reilly.
  • 1 Father Mulcahy.
Sep 23, 2022

Who was the youngest actor on MASH? ›

Actor Gary Burghoff turns 80 today and is the youngest of the original cast.

How long do actors get residuals? ›

Network primetime: 30 days after air date. Non-primetime network: 30 days after air date. Syndication: four months after air date. Foreign free TV: no later than 30 days after producer obtains knowledge of the first foreign telecast and never later than six months after that first telecast.

Did Ron Howard ever appear on MASH? ›

"M*A*S*H" Sometimes You Hear the Bullet (TV Episode 1973) - Ron Howard as Wendell - IMDb.

What happened to Alan Alda AfterMASH? ›

He and his wife Arlene have been married for over 65 years, and he is battling Parkinson's disease after being diagnosed with it in 2015. Alda currently hosts a podcast called Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda where he hopes to share the importance of connecting with others.

How old is Alan Alda today? ›

Who was Hawkeye's best friend on MASH? ›

Wayne Rogers: Actor celebrated as Trapper John McIntyre, Hawkeye Pierce's sunnier sidekick in the hit comedy 'M.A.S.H.

Who did Mike Farrell replace on MASH? ›

Farrell's big break came in 1975 when Wayne Rogers departed M*A*S*H at the end of the third season. Farrell was recruited for the newly created role of B.J. Hunnicutt, along with series lead Harry Morgan, who replaced McLean Stevenson, also at the end of the third season.

Who was the black guy in the first season of MASH? ›

Timothy Brown was born on 24 May 1937 in Knightstown, Indiana, USA. He was an actor, known for M*A*S*H (1970), Nashville (1975) and Frequency (2000). He died on 4 April 2020 in California, USA.

Did Alan Alda and Loretta Swit get along? ›

As the longest-serving cast members on M*A*S*H, Alda and Swit always had a special bond off-screen. And Hawkeye and Houlihan were bonded as well, sharing a mutual admiration for each other as medical professionals... and a mutual attraction that they resisted acting upon for years.

What happened to Gary Burghoff hand? ›

Burghoff was born in Bristol, Connecticut, moved to Clinton, Connecticut, and then later moved to Delavan, Wisconsin. He studied tap dance and became a drummer, despite being born with brachydactyly caused by Poland syndrome, which made three fingers on his left hand significantly smaller than those on his right hand.

Did Gary Burghoff leave MASH? ›

The decision to walk away from M*A*S*H did not come easy for Gary. But he opted to put family before his work. According to director Charles S. Dubin, there were multiple reasons why Gary decided to walk away.

Does Alan Alda have dementia? ›

Beloved actor Alan Alda, age 82, recently revealed that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Alda is probably best known for playing Hawkeye Pierce, a doctor on the comedy M*A*S*H.

What happened to Hawkeye after mash? ›

Hawkeye Became A Doctor In His Hometown After MASH Ended

By the end of MASH, Hawkeye revealed he planned to leave surgery behind entirely and return to his hometown to become a doctor.

How old was Wayne Rogers when he was on MASH? ›

Did they drink alcohol on MASH? ›

Originally Answered: In the hit tv comedy series mash what type of alcohol did the still produce? Well, they called it"gin" and "breakfast of champions." More realistically, it was your typical moonshine, made from any ingredients they could get their hands on.

Why did Altman hate MASH? ›

M*A*S*H was one of the most popular television shows of all time, but it did have its critics. Most notably M*A*S*H movie director Robert Altman, who called the show “racist.” And he also hated the show had eclipsed his film in popularity over the years.

Why is Hawkeye in a mental hospital in MASH? ›

Meanwhile, Hawkeye is a patient in a psychiatric ward, having suffered a mental breakdown after a Fourth of July trip to the beach. In conversations with psychiatrist Sidney Freedman, Hawkeye flashes back to the bus ride back to camp, where the group of revelers picked up some Korean refugees.

Was mash 4077 a real unit? ›

The franchise depicts a group of fictional characters who served at the fictional "4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H)" during the Korean War, loosely based on the historic 8055th MASH unit.

Are our crab apples edible? ›

Yes, you can eat crab apples. Generally, they're too tart to eat raw, but their appliness is intense when cooked. Crab apples have a really high pectin content, great for jams and jellies.

Was Hawkeye Pierce from Maine? ›

Born and raised in Crabapple Cove, Maine, Hawkeye is, according to the TV series, the son of Dr. Daniel Pierce. (According to the novels, his father is “Big Benjy” Pierce, a lobster fisherman.)

Did Gary Burghoff get along with Alan Alda? ›

He had a particularly heated relationship with Alan Alda. Once, Mike Farrell told him that his problem was that he could dish it out but he couldn't take it, and Gary said, "And I'm getting real sick and tired of dishing it out." The poor guy didn't even realize what he'd said. '"

How much money do actors get for residuals? ›

Residual compensation is really where commercial actors make most of their money. If a National SAG Commercial is shown often, actors will earn anywhere from $5,000 to $60,000 for their one day of work in a commercial! Personally, I made $40,000 in a National TV Spot I acted in for “Brown N Serve” sausage.

Why did Loretta Swit almost leave MASH? ›

Swit Wanted To Leave MASH For Cagney & Lacey

Focusing a series on two capable female cops hadn't really been attempted before, with Swit originating the role of Cagney while Tyne Daly was cast as Lacey.

Did Alan Alda like Larry Linville? ›

Larry Linville and Alan Alda became close friends while filming MASH. Alda gave the eulogy at Linville's funeral and, at Linville's request, finished by saying, “Worms now eat Frank Burns.”

Why was the TV show MASH controversial? ›

Based on the 1970 movie, itself based on a novel, MASH was designed as a “black comedy” set during the Korean War. It was really a thinly veiled critique of the war in Vietnam raging at the time. The creators of the show knew they wouldn't get away with making a Vietnam war comedy.

What was the finale of MASH in 1983? ›

"Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" is a television film that served as the series finale of the American television series M*A*S*H. Closing out the series' 11th season, the 2-hour episode first aired on CBS on February 28, 1983, ending the series' original run.

What was the spin off show of MASH? ›

Did the cast of MASH all get along? ›

The surviving cast remain close today. “We lost so many of our family — Wayne, McLean [Stevenson], Larry [Linville], David [Ogden Stiers], Bill [Christopher], Harry [Morgan]. Every one was a body blow, but it's still forever,” says Loretta. “We loved each other, and we still do.”

Why did Wayne Rogers leave MASH? ›

He succeeded Elliott Gould, who had played the character in the Robert Altman movie MASH, and was himself succeeded by Pernell Roberts on the M*A*S*H spin-off Trapper John, M.D. After three seasons, Rogers left the show after a contract dispute with the producers.

Who stayed in Korea at the end of MASH? ›

The biggest surprise of all comes from Klinger who, after announcing he and Soon-Lee are getting married, reveals that he is staying in Korea to help her find her family. He then asks Potter to be his best man, which he humbly accepts and then proposes a toast to Klinger and Soon-Lee.

Did anyone appear in every episode of MASH? ›

Hawkeye appeared in all 256 episodes of the series

"Casting Alda as the ensemble's moral center and chaos agent was key," wrote James Poniewozik for the New York Times. This makes Hawkeye the only character to appear in every single episode of MASH (via The News-Herald).

What is the most watched TV episode of all time? ›

Four decades ago in 1983, an estimated 60 percent of American households flicked on their televisions and tuned their sets to CBS for the series finale of M*A*S*H. That final installment got a 60.2 Nielsen rating and is the highest-rated telecast to date, according to the analytics company.

Is MASH still the most watched finale? ›

NEW YORK -- "M*A*S*H" still holds the record as the most watched television show of all time, and it aired its final episode 40 years ago today. More than 100 million people tuned in, many on CBS2, to say "goodbye, farewell and amen."

What were the viewing figures for the last episode of MASH? ›

Broadcast during the period when there were still just three major networks (Fox didn't sign on until 1986) and cable was in its infancy, the “M*A*S*H” finale drew 106 million viewers, still a record for any episodic series.

What happened to Klinger AfterMASH? ›

Klinger gets arrested for punching a crooked real estate agent. Soon-Lee goes into labor. This episode is the last appearance of John Chappell as Mark D'Angelo and Barbara Townsend as Mildred Potter.

How much of MASH was improv? ›

Many episodes of M*A*S*H are so fluid that they seem to be flawlessly improvised by the actors. However, there's only one special episode that comes from pure improvisation. “The Interview” is just that; an interview with the castmates of the show who answer questions and give off-the-cuff responses.

How many spinoffs did MASH have? ›

The sitcom was so popular it received three spin-offs: AfterMASH, Trapper John, M.D., and W*A*L*T*E*R. The latter of those shows focused on Gary Burghoff's popular M*A*S*H character Corporal Walter “Radar” O'Reilly.


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