Kathy Denny Fradella Confirms She’s the Brunette in the Opening Credits

This past January I wrote about the identity of the brunette running in the front of the nurses during the opening credits of M*A*S*H. You can read all about the “running nurses” here (two are still unidentified). Back in 1978 someone wrote to the TV Talkback section of The Los Angeles Times asking about this nurse. The paper couldn’t answer the question but a few weeks later the actress in question wrote in and identified herself as Kathy Denny Fradella.

Kathy Denny Fradella Leading the Running Nurses
Kathy Denny Fradella Leading the “Running Nurses”

A few days ago Kathy e-mailed me to confirm that she was indeed the running nurse at the front of the pack. Here’s what she had to say:

Hello my name is Kathy Fradella (Baker) I am the brunette nurse that runs in the front during the opening credits of mash. I stumbled across your website and thought I would comment,just in case you still thought it was Michele Lee. I worked on the show as an extra the first season. I went on to do stunt work and small bit parts as an actress. I am still living in Southern California. Since Mash I have married and had two children (grown up now). I am no longer working in the film industry. I hope this solves the puzzle. Thank You! Kathy (Mystery Nurse)

So that mystery is finally solved for good. A big thank you to Kathy for taking the time to e-mail me.

33 Comments

  • Richard Gerbasi says:

    I fell in love with you the first time I saw you

  • Paul Barker says:

    I have followed MASH since it was first on TV. I have always loved the show and I am greatful you were finally identified. You were, and apparently still are, a very beautiful woman.

  • Greg Shipe says:

    I thought I was the only one that fell in love with Kathy Denny Fradella from the opening credits of MASH. After all these years now I see I’m not even close to being the only one. lol I wonder if she’s got a fan club web site? I’d love to see pictures of her today. I’m sure anyone that beautiful would still be beautiful today.

  • Mel Holt says:

    Like some many other’s, I’m a fan of your’s and have been ever since the show first air’d. You stuck out and I’ve carried that opening scene/credit in my head all these years. Being one who attempted the stardom route myself, I’m intrigued that you’re still in Southern Cali and have went on with your life; “Me too”, returning to Oklahoma and carrying on in a new direction, but I’m still your fan…. take care. I love watching you run. 😉

  • Jake Roccawopski says:

    I fell in love, too. I had/have the music memorized and know exactly when Kathy appeared/appears. A gorgeous memory I’ll carry the rest of my life.

  • peter price says:

    like many guys i instantly fell in love with you all these years and now i know its nice of you to put us guys out of our misery oh and whoever you are married to well hes just about the luckiest guys in the world. xxxx

  • Roland Alvarez says:

    I finally got the energy to find to put a nameto that beautiful person who has mesmerized me for years. And she IS a great runner! Thank you Ms. Fradella for sharing your story with your fans

  • Lloyd DeRamus says:

    I heard long ago that the first nurse had given up on getting in to TV and had started working as a real estate agent. I always wanted to purchase a house with her as the agent.

  • John Santy says:

    No matter what I’m doing I know exactly where in the theme that Kathy runs toward….my open arms in my fantasy! Geez, so much for being original haha

  • Craig Keefe says:

    I love Kathy Deny Fradella so much that my heart ache

  • john Clifton says:

    I have watch mash for years and have always thought the lead running nurse was absolutely gorgeous. I am glad to learn her name. Would love to see a recent photo.

  • john Clifton says:

    I have watched mash for years and have always thought the lead running nurse was absolutely gorgeous. I am glad to learn her name. Would love to see a recent photo.

    • Jay Johns says:

      I am happy others feel the same. Whenever the theme plays, I know exactly where she appears (after the ambulance drives by). I would also like to see a current pictire.

  • Jerome Sample says:

    40 years of watching this show and I only just noticed this goddess. I didn’t expect to find anything on her when I typed “mash opening running nurses” into Google but here I am. Wow! Thanks for this!!

  • JOHN HUGHEY says:

    Even if I don’t have time to tune-in for a full episode, I watch the opening credits long enough to catch that glimpse of this TRUE AMERICAN BEAUTY

  • William C. Harvell says:

    My name is W

  • Gary the partsman says:

    Kathy has a face book page, you can see what she looks like today…

    https://www.facebook.com/kathybake5?fref=ts

  • Bri says:

    Isn’t the Internet a wonderful thing? Watching every episode of M*A*S*H on DVD it’s been great Googling actors to find out a bit more about them,where are they now etc. …no more so than the lead running nurse who it seems we ALL fell in love with on sight! Thanks, Kathy, for catching up with all your fans. Your beauty will always be an enduring memory for us all

  • Thomas says:

    Liked you the first time I say you. Was wondering look like today.

  • Rick says:

    Wow, I finally decided to google Mash running nurses. I was surprised to find out who the nurse was running in the lead. I always look forward to the beginning of each episode so I can get a glimpse of the beautiful woman out in front. Now to find out I am not the only one that looks forward to seeing her, I just wish she had more exposure on the movie set. She is a beautiful woman. By the way, I never looked at the other running nurses.

    • Kathy Fradella Baker says:

      Thank you Rick, now that I am older your compliment really makes me feel good.
      Best Regards,
      Kathy

      • James Crain says:

        I also am glad I am not alone thinking she is a beautiful person. I was eating lunch one day with several of my high school buddies. (1969) I don’t remember why I brought up the subject of the running nurse. I was shocked to hear 6 of the 7 were also in love with her.

      • Kelly says:

        Too funny, I was in my early teens when I saw you in the 70,s and thought wow, olive drabs, hair pulled back, and you still stood out. Thanks for the memories. Hope life is treating you well.

  • Doug says:

    I’m also a member of your enormous fan club. Those four strides have been etched in my memory for four decades! I just now googled “the running nurse.” because I’m sitting here reading the John D. MacDonald “Travis McGee” novel “Cinnamon Skin” written back in 1981. Towards the beginning you and your scene are discussed (and therefore further immortalized!) The characters speculate how many times by how many persons this scene has been viewed. Best wishes and thanks for the memory.

  • Dan says:

    Finally found out who you are, I was totally attractive to you the way you ran and the way you looked in the pickle uniform curves and all. After all these year once again thank you for letting everyone know.

  • Ray ODell says:

    I think we were all cheated with only a very few minutes of you on screen.

  • Ken says:

    I was really surprised when Google brought me to the site that answered my question but, somehow I feel better knowing the name Kathy Fridella as my long-time heart throb. Hope you are doing well Kathy. You stil look awesome in the reruns.

  • Phyllis C. says:

    My 94-year-old father just asked me if I would find out who that beautiful brunette was in the opening credits of MASH running toward the camera because “he was taken by her.” I immediately knew who he was talking about but I couldn’t imagine how I was going to find her. Thanks so much of clearing up the mystery! I just called him and told him. He was only disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to see her in longer performances elsewhere.

  • Stan Shows says:

    I am a 73 year old veitnam vet. I watch Mash all the time. Have often wonderd who the beauty was leading the group of nurses up the hill. I finally spoke it into my phone wow! Found that i am not alone. Wish you well Kathy.

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