Characters Played by More than One Actor

As every M*A*S*H fan knows, Harry Morgan played two different characters on the series. In the Season Three episode “The General Flipped at Dawn” he played the eccentric Maj. Gen. Bartford Hamilton Steele, a role he won an Emmy for. But he is better known as Colonel Potter, who took over as commander of the 4077th in the Season Four premiere. Other actors who played more than one character — not counting the many actresses who were credited as more than one nurse — include Clyde Kusatsu, John Orchard and Jerry Fujikawa.

What about the other way around? Characters who were played by more than one actor or actress? The most famous is probably Father Mulcahy. George Morgan appeared as Father Mulcahy in “M*A*S*H – The Pilot” but beginning with the third episode of the series, “Requiem For A Lightweight,” the role was played by William Christopher.

George Morgan in M*A*S*H -- The Pilot William Christopher in Requiem for a Lightweight
Left: George Morgan in “M*A*S*H — The Pilot”; Right: William Christopher in “Requiem for a Lightweight”

Nurse Meg Cratty, played by Hope Summers, first appeared in “The Trial of Henry Blake,” testifying in defense of Colonel Blake at a hearing to determine his fitness to command. The character’s second appearance came two seasons later in “The Kids” when her orphanage was being shelled and everyone had to evacuate to the 4077th. This time, she was played by Ann Doran.

Hope Summers in The Trial of Henry Blake Ann Doran in The Kids
Left: Hope Summers in “The Trial of Henry Blake”; Right: Ann Doran in “The Kids”

Believe it or not, the beloved character of Igor Straminsky was played by two actors. Although not credited until “Officer of the Day,” Jeff Maxwell first played Igor early on in the second season, and ultimately made more than 75 appearances. During Season Six, however, Peter Riegert appeared in two episodes — “War of Nerves” and “Change Day” — as a character named Igor. Maxwell appeared in the first episode of Season Six — “Fade Out, Fade In” — but wouldn’t make another guest appearance until early through Season Seven.

Jeff Maxwell in Officer of the Day Peter Riegert in Change Day
Left: Jeff Maxwell in “Officer of the Day” Right: Peter Riegert in “Change Day”

Rosie, owner/operator of Rosie’s Bar, was played by three different actresses over the course of the series. Shizuko Hoshi originated the role in “Mad Dogs and Servicemen” during Season Three. Frances Fong played the character in “Bug Out” and “Fallen Idol,” during Season Five and Season Six, respectively. Eileen Saki took over the role beginning with “A Night a Rosie’s” during Season seven, making a total of seven appearances, the last of which in “Snap Judgement” during Season Ten. Interestingly, Saki had earlier appeared in “Bug Out” as Korean Woman, one of the aforementioned episodes in which Frances Fong played Rosie.

Shizuko Hoshi in Mad Dogs and Servicemen Frances Fong in Bug Out
Eileen Saki in A Night at Rosie's
Top Left: “Shizuko Hoshi in “Mad Dogs and Servicemen”; Top Right: Frances Fong in “Bug Out”;
Bottom: Eileen Saki in “A Night at Rosie’s”

Finally, there is Donald Penobscott, Margaret’s fiance and later husband, who was played by Beeson Carroll in “Margaret’s Marriage” during Season Five and Mike Henry in “The M*A*S*H Olympics” during Season Six.

Beeson Carroll in Margaret's Marriage Beeson Carroll in Margaret's Marriage
Left: Beeson Carroll in “Margaret’s Marriage”; Right: Mike Henry in “The M*A*S*H Olympics”

Can anyone think of any other characters that were played by more than one actor or actress?

11 Comments

  • PinkPagoda says:

    Mr. Kwang, the bartender at the officer’s club was played by Clyde Kusatsu in “Henry in Love”, and “Officer’s Only” (the character is “Kwang Duk” in the credits, however Hawkeye refers to him as “Mr. Kwang” when ordering a drink, as Korean names are sirname first, followed by a given name) – and also by Leland Sun in “There is nothing like a nurse” (when the character is only “Mr. Kwang” in the credits).

  • Chester A. Bum says:

    I didn’t like Rosie when Eileen Saki took over the role… her portrayal of Rosie made the character seem like she was trying to act like those stereotypical sharp-tongued, smartassy waitresses you see on TV all the time.

  • RJ says:

    I also just remembered that two different actors played Boone: Bruno Kirby, Jr. in “M*A*S*H – The Pilot” and Bob Gooden in three other Season One episodes.

  • Chester A. Bum says:

    Did anybody notice that in Jeff Maxwell’s only appearance as Igor in Season Six, his dialogue was re-dubbed by Johnny Haymer for some reason?

    • Fizbin says:

      Haymer also dubbed in the voice of the mustached soldier at the aid station in “Mulcahy’s War”. This always baffled me.

  • PinkPagoda says:

    OK, and we all know about the recurring nurses, who have different names but the same faces. But with regards to Nurse Able, and Nurse Baker – I think I have them all identified by episode. There was only ONE occurrence of a Nurse Charlie that I could find – played by Kellye Nakahara in Bulletin Board.

    Nurse Able

    • Gwen Farrell – “Dear Ma”
    • Kelly Nakahara – “A full rich day”
    • Sherry Steffans – “The Late Captain Pierce”, “Dear Mildred”
    • Bobbie Mitchell – “Iron Guts Kelly” and “O.R.”
    • Lois Foraker – “Of Moose and Men” and “Deluge”
    • Judy Farrell – “Out of Sight out of Mind”, “Movie Tonight”, “Post Op”, “Margaret’s Marriage”, “Images”, “Ain’t Love Grand”, “Taking the Fifth”, “Goodbye, Farewell, Amen”
    • Lynette Meddey – “Some 38th Parallels”
    • Phyllis Katz – “Hawkeye get your Gun”
    • Susan Bredhoff – “The Abduction of Margaret Houlihan”

    Nurse Baker

    • Bobbi Mitchell – “PayDay”, “House Arrest”, “Mad Dogs and Servicemen”, “There is nothing like a nurse”
    • Patricia Stevens – “Major Ego”, “Your Hit Parade”, “Patent 4077”, “Fallen Idol”, “Margaret’s Marriage”, “Hawks Nightmare”
    • Jan Jorden – “GFA”, “None like it hot”, “Commander Pierce”, “Baby It’s cold outside”, “Point of View”, “Period of Adjustment”, “Taking the Fifth”, “the Moon is not Blue”, “Hot Lips is back in town”.
    • Linda Kelsey – “The Nurses”
    • Lynette Meddey – “The General flipped at Dawn”
    • Jean Powell – “Cowboy”, “As you were”
    • Lynn Marie Stewart – “The Abduction of Margaret Houlihan” “Lt. Radar O’Reilly”

    Did I miss any?

    (Linda Kelsey is also “uncredited” as Baker in “Our Finest Hour” on IMDB, but I think this is misinformation. If anyone can find here in that episode, I would love to know for sure – Thanks!)

    • Casey says:

      Fun fact: Judy Farrell, who played one nurse or another over several episodes, was the then-wife of Mike Farrell, who played B.J. Hunnicut. Their first child, a girl, Erin Farrell, was the inspiration for the name of Hunnicut’s infant daughter of the same name.

  • RJ says:

    The uncredited appearance in “Our Finest Hour” may refer to footage from “The Nurses.”

  • Rob Wilkinson says:

    Harry Morgan played General Steele and Colonel Harry Potter

    • Brian of Nazareth says:

      Sorry, but did you read the first part of the article? The theme was “CHARACTERS played by more than one ACTOR”. Got it now? Hope this helps clear things up for you. BTW, the pic of Jeff Maxwell with the cannon… I can almost hear him say, “But sir, the angle!” LOL

    • Casey says:

      Col. Harry Potter?! Haha I think you mean HARRY Morgan as Col. SHERMAN Potter. Thanks for the laugh though.

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