Identity of Brunette in Opening Credits Revealed

It’s something that has puzzled M*A*S*H fans for decades. Who is that brunette nurse running towards the chopper pad in the opening credits? I thought I had discovered the identity of this brunette actress last year when a fan of the series e-mailed me suggesting it was Michele Lee. But a pair of articles in The Los Angeles Times from 1978 point in another direction.

In the May 26th, 1978 edition of the “TV Talkback” section of The Los Angeles Times, the following question and answer appeared:

Q. On the opening sequence of MASH there is a brunette nurse out front and running fast toward the chopper pad. Can you tell us who she is? My husband is quite taken with her.
F.R., San Diego

A. Will you believe this? Even 20th Century-Fox, where the series is filmed, doesn’t know. That opening sequence was filmed seven years ago when the series began. The studio had an “extra call,” with the union supplying several extras for nonspeaking roles in backgrounds scenes. Several girls were picked for that opening scene and instructed to run toward the cameras. After they were paid, that’s all they did that day. So if that brunette is out there in the Hollywoods somewhere, please identify yourself so that F.R.’s hubby will be happy.

About a month later, in the April 16th, 1978 edition of “TV Talkback,” the following exchange was printed:

Q. I was delighted that someone out there wondered who I was? (TV Talkback, March 26). Yes, I’m the brunette on the opening title shot of “MASH” seen running towards the camera. It was seven years ago that I ran out of that tent toward the helicopter pad at 20th Century-Fox ranch. The producer was Gene Reynolds. He lined up about 20 girls and we literally raced for the job. I had run in high school, so I was more than eager to compete. I’ve since acted in various series, “Kojak,” “Starsky & Hutch” and others. Thanks again, and thanks to F.R., of San Diego, for asking.
Kathy Denny Fradella,
Van Nuys.

A. Another mystery solved.

Here’s a head shot of Ms. Fradella from the April 16th, 1978 edition The Los Angeles Times:

Kathy Denny Fradella

Be sure to check out my feature Nurses of the 4077th: The “Running Nurses” from the Opening Credits for information on two of the other actresses in the opening credits.

References

  • “TV Talkback.” Los Angeles Times. 26 Mar. 1978: N27.
  • “TV Talkback.” Los Angeles Times. 16 Apr. 1978: P4.

15 Comments

  • tim mowery says:

    This is the question that has been boggling my mind for YEARS. I fell in love with her the first time I saw M*A*S*H. I look forward to watching the opening credits on every episode. Thank You !

    • Les Richer says:

      You and probably one million other guys (maybe a few women, too).
      I stand in that line right in FRONT of you (smiles)

    • Ronald Swinsinski says:

      Her name Gine (Jenny) Callahan…I grew up with the family.. The picture is hers.. Im 50yrs old and her father was involved with MGM THRU THE 50_60_70s..shes a Gough!!! She’s on facebook

  • gary fino says:

    I too have always looked at and wondered the names of the nurses in the opening. I think they did a fantastic job showing the “reality” of what that time was, and the urgency they all had on their faces. I am glad to know who kathy was, but, really would like to know the names of the others, especially the blonde in the second row.
    Thanks, Gary

  • Johnny says:

    I can’t believe this’ Me Too! that chick is super hot!
    It’s the only reason I watched MASH trying to get a glimpse of her!.
    So beautiful!

  • budy says:

    on netflix, during the opening credits of mash, episode ‘strange bedfellows’ there is a flash on the screen when the word M*A*S*H comes on the screen. What is the picture of?

  • Del says:

    It’s 2016 in the UK and we (me) am catching up on the MASH series…seems relevant even today
    I agree with you guys (chaps) She is a buty.
    If still around be delighted to say “Thanks”
    el Del xxx

  • Alex says:

    In “Cinnamon Skin,” one of John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee novels, one of the characters talk about this nurse, wondering about how many times she must have been seen due to all the reruns.

  • tom felmey says:

    I was shocked to think there was anyone else wanting to know who thatq girl was!! for years ive been wanting to find out, as I too, was very taken by her great looks!!! now I know!!

  • Steve says:

    I’ve always wondered, she reminded me of my high school girlfriend.

  • John Scally says:

    Miss Denny stole my heart the first time i saw her running up that hill to the helicopter. Her exceptional good looks and her intense expression as she flew up that hill made me feel like I was one of the wounded men on the helicopter she was coming to help…….

  • Bobby Seacrist says:

    That WOMAN whatever her name is, is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. She was the main reason I watch the opening to each MASH episode. Though I don’t know who you are or your name, know that you have been a fantasy of mine for many years. Undoubtedly, you are as beautiful today, June 30, 2017 as you were back at the time you first ran to that helo pad. Most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Thanks for all the memories. Bob Seacrist, Virginia Beach, VA.

  • Bobby Seacrist says:

    How is it she never became a super star????? She puts 99.9% of those “so-called” super stars to shame. Simply one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.

  • ED says:

    IT IS OCTOBER 15 2017 AND FINALLY I FIND OUT HER NAME!!!! SHE REMINDED ME OF NURSES I WAS WORKING WITH WHEN I WAS IN THE AIR FORCE!!!!

  • Gary Friend says:

    Have wondered for 30 yrs, finally Googled today and shocked to find so many others had similar feelings

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