Nurses of the 4077th:
Nurses with Recurring Roles

Introduction

There are a number of actresses who had recurring roles on M*A*S*H, appearing both credited and uncredited in numerous episodes. Some, like Kellye Nakahara and Gwen Farrell, were with the series for the bulk of its run. Others, like Marcia Strassman, were only in a single season. These actresses help make the 4077th feel like a real place to viewers; seeing familiar faces in supporting capacity season after season was a nice touch.

A note about nurses at the 4077th: many of them were, at one time or another, given the rank of lieutenant. I am not familiar with the way ranks work in the army, but maybe all the nurses at the 4077th — with the exception of Margaret — were lieutenants.

This page is a work in progress; as additional credited and uncredited appearances for actresses are noted, they will be added.

Nurse Kellye (Kellye Nakahara)

NOTE: Because she is clearly identified as Nurse Kellye in the majority of her credited appearances, I am placing Kellye Nakahara on this page rather than the Same Face, Different Name page, even though she was credited as several different nurses.

Kellye Nakahara’s first credited appearance on M*A*S*H was as Nurse Yamato in Season Two’s “Hot Lips and Empty Arms,” although she appeared uncredited in several earlier Season Two episodes. She would not be credited as Nurse Kellye until Season Four’s “The Kids.” She was also credited as Nurse Able, Nurse Charlie, Nurse Baker and simply as Nurse. All in all, Kellye Nakahara was credited in forty-four episodes, with dozens of uncredited appearances as well.

Her most memorable episode is without a doubt “Hey, Look Me Over,” the first episode of the eleventh and final season, in which she erupts at Hawkeye for the way he chases after ever nurse but her. Later, Hawkeye sees her comfort a dying soldier and gains a new found respect for the nurses. Overall, her role became somewhat more substantial during the last few seasons; she was credited in over half the episodes in Season Ten and nine of the final sixteen in Season Eleven.

Some of Nurse Kellye’s appearances: in “Bulletin Board,” she was on her way to winning a race when Frank burst out of the underbrush and, with a gaggle of nurses behind him, crossed the finish line in terror. She helped throw a bridal shower for Margaret in “Margaret’s Marriage.” In “Bottom’s Up” she offered to cover for Nurse Whitfield if she wasn’t up to her shift (Whitfield was an alcoholic). She helped comfort Nurse Gwen after she was shot in “The Life You Save” and in “Who Knew?” she admitted to not knowing Millie at all — along with the rest of the camp. She participated in the frantic race to save a wounded soldier from paralysis in “Life Time.”

In “As Time Goes By” she donated her favorite pair of army boots to the camp’s time capsule, telling everyone they stood for standing. She was also referred to as Nurse Nakahara in that episode, begging the question of what the character’s last name was: Kellye or Nakahara? Finally, in “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen,” she revealed that she was hoping to be assigned to Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu so she could be close to her family.

Nurse Kellye in Hey, Look Me Over Nurse Kellye in Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Left: “Hey, Look Me Over”; Right: “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”

List of Appearances:

Margie Cutler (Marcia Strassman)

Marcia Strassman (perhaps better known to the general public as Mrs. Kotter on Welcome Back, Kotter) appeared in six episodes during the first season as Nurse Margie Cutler, a doe-eyed lieutenant with an feisty streak who always kept Hawkeye guessing. She was memorably introduced in “Requiem For A Lightweight” running out of the shower wearing only a towel — and she soon lost that. Hawkeye and Trapper were both taken by the new nurse but the heated competition between the two was over before it started. Margaret had Margie transferred for being “a bit of a distraction.”

Colonel Blake agreed to bring Margie back to the 4077 if Hawkeye and Trapper could find someone to fight in a boxing tournament. Trapper stepped up and went a few rounds in the ring to keep Margie around. Later, in “Yankee Doodle Doctor,” Margie participated in Hawkeye’s film, appearing alongside Hawkeye, Trapper and Radar and later showcasing her dancing talent a table in the mess tent.

In “Bananas, Crackers, and Nuts” she bore the brunt of Hawkeye’s crazed rejection when she finally agreed to go out with him. She rallied the nurses in “Edwina,” convincing them not to go out with any men in camp until somebody went out with Nurse Eddie. When Hawkeye drew the short straw, a bemused Margie was happy to see him take his dating duty seriously.

While helping to take x-rays of Radar in “Love Story,” she told Hawkeye that he acted like a child. And in “Ceasefire,” her last appearance, Margie was overjoyed that the war would be ending soon, meaning she and Hawkeye could start making post-war plans together. She was shocked when he told her he was married (he was lying). Perhaps that led to her requesting a transfer from the 4077th once the cease-fire failed to materialize.

Margie Cutler in  Margie Cutler in Cease-Fire
Left: “Requiem for a Lightweight”; Right: “Cease-Fire”

List of Appearances:

Nurse Ginger Ballis (Odessa Cleveland)

NOTE: I am unsure of the spelling of Ginger’s last name. Hawkeye said it at the end of “Dear Dad” and the closed captioning on the DVD gave the spelling as Ballis while other sources use Bayliss.

During the first two seasons, Ginger was one of the most recognizable faces in the background scenes of M*A*S*H. Odessa Cleveland is credited in eleven episodes of Season One and eight episodes of Season Two, plus one additional episode in Season Three. At the end of “M*A*S*H – The Pilot,” when the P.A. announces that “the following personnel are assigned to the 4077th surgical hospital,” Odessa Cleveland’s name is listed. And at the end of “Dear Dad,” Hawkeye wishes his father a Merry Christmas from everyone at the camp, including Ginger. However, her role was never as significant as other supporting characters of the early years.

She was seen dancing with Spearchucker at the raffle party in “M*A*S*H – The Pilot” and a game of strip dominoes between her and Spearchucker in “Chief Surgeon Who?” is interrupted by General Barker, who asks her if everybody at the 4077th is crazy. Her response? “Everybody who’s sane is, sir.” Hawkeye asked her to check on a patient in “Bananas, Crackers, and Nuts” because he is worried about the patient’s breathing. She is shocked to discover that the patient is a dog.

In “Major Fred C. Dobbs,” Frank erupts at Ginger, calling her useless and an incompetent bungler. His harsh words reduce her to tears. After surgery, Hawkeye and Trapper comfort her and then proceed to prank Frank without mercy. She assists Henry during surgery in “5 O’Clock Charlie” and he asks what number of yards she has down for 5 O’Clock Charlie that day. When she replies thirty-two and a half, he laughs, and refuses to disclose his own number. It is a very nice scene between the two.

Donnie has written in to explain that in “5 O’Clock Charlie,” Henry does not refer to Ginger as Richardson, he is asking her for a Richardson retractor, a surgical instrument that comes in two different sizes. Because Henry doesn’t specify the size he wants, Ginger asks “Big or little?”

Perhaps her finest moment came in “Dear Dad… Three.” Early in the episode, after Hawkeye sends her for more plasma, a soldier asks Hawkeye to make sure he doesn’t get “darkie” blood. Later, Hawkeye and Trapper paint the soldier’s face and hands with tincture of iodine. When Ginger goes to check on him, she compliments him on passing for white, which prompts him to start yelling at her. She yells right back, declaring that she is a lieutenant and he had better watch his mouth. After Hawkeye and Trapper tell the soldier about the man who discovered plasma dying because a whites only hospital wouldn’t let him in (the story is false) the remorseful soldier thanks Hawkeye for giving him a lot to think about, and then salutes Ginger.

She was yelled at by Margaret in “Hot Lips and Empty Arms,” but by that time her role was reduced to a scene or two in the O.R. and after the Season Three episode “O.R.” the character was never seen again.

Ginger Ballis in M*A*S*H -- The Pilot Ginger Ballis in Dear Dad... Three
Left: “M*A*S*H — The Pilot”; Right: “Dear Dad… Three”

List of Appearances:

Lt. Barbara Bannerman (Bonnie Jones)

In “I Hate A Mystery,” Hawkeye lavished her with praise, telling her he admired her for her analytical mind. However, she still thought he was guilty of stealing a variety of items. Earlier in the episode, Trapper hit on her in the supply tent while she was taking inventory. She was also seen rooming with Leslie Scorch. Later, in “Dear Dad,” she was one of at least two nurses who had a date with Hawkeye in the same night. Despite a rather large, speaking role in “Sticky Wicket,” in which she again had a date with Hawkeye (he broke it), Bonnie Jones was not named in the closing credits. And, in “Cease-Fire,” she was one of three nurses to learn that Hawkeye was married (he was lying). She also bought one of Klinger’s dresses at his end-of-the-war sale.

Barbara Bannerman in I Hate a Mystery Barbara Bannerman in Cease-Fire
Left: “I Hate a Mystery”; Right: “Cease-Fire”

List of Appearances:

Nurse Able (Judy Farrell)

Note: Judy Farrell was married to Mike Farrell (B.J. Hunnicutt) until 1983.

Judy Farrell first appeared in “Out of Sight, Out of Mind,” begging Hawkeye to come fix the furnace in the nurses’ quarters. Later, she lead a blind Hawkeye out of post-op after he nearly came to blows with Frank. She took him to the nurses’ quarters. Along with several of her fellow nurses, she had prepared for a trip to Tokyo in “Movie Tonight” but after seeing the fun that the rest of the camp was having, decided to stay.

She helped give Margaret a bridal shower in “Margaret’s Marriage” and in “Images” she helped convince Hawkeye and B.J. to talk to Margaret about giving Nurse Cooper a break. In “Ain’t Love Grand,” she tried to talk Hawkeye into going back to the Swamp during his fued with B.J. to no avail. She was one of the (many) nurses to enjoy Hawkeye’s vintage wine in “Taking the Fifth” after he tried to use it to get a date. And during the farewell dinner in “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen,” she announced that she was going to be “the best darn nurse Oklahoma’s ever seen.”

Nurse Able in Images Nurse Able in Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Left: “Images”; Right: “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”

List of Appearances:

Nurse Baker (Jan Jorden)

Although many actresses were credited as Nurse Baker over the years, Jan Jorden was always credited as Baker, never anyone else. Her first appearance was in the Season Seven episode “Commander Pierce,” in which she argues with Bigelow and Kellye about switching shifts. In “Hot Lips Is Back In Town,” she was one of the nurses who welcomed Lieutenant Linda Nugent to the 4077th. Hawkeye flirted with her in “Taking the Fifth” and she later joined the rest of the nurses in the supply tent to sample his vintage wine.

In “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen,” she announced that she was going to stay in nursing and try to get into maternity or pediatrics. After everything she went through during the war, it “would be nice to help bring people into the world.”

Nurse Baker in Taking the Fifth Nurse Baker in Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Left: “Taking the Fifth”; Right: “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”

List of Appearances:

Nurse Peggy Bigelow (Enid Kent)

Note: It just might be possible to determine which season an episode appeared in if you look carefully at the length and style of Enid Kent’s hair.

She felt just awful about Hawkeye being blinded in “Out of Sight, Out of Mind,” especially since she was one of the nurses who woke him up early in the morning to fix the furnace in the nurses’ quarters. She often flirted with Hawkeye; the two seemed to have a solid relationship founded on witty retorts. In “Movie Tonight” she participated in the nurses’ verse of “Gee Ma, I Wanna Go Home.” When the camp was obsessed with The Rooster Crowed at Midnight in “The Light That Failed,” Bigelow helped deduce who wasn’t the murderer.

Her first name was given as Peggy during “In Love and War” when she was introduced to another nurse. In “Images,” she revealed that she used to work emergency in Chicago and it still took her a while to get used to the “meatball” surgery at the 4077th. She went with Hawkeye to the 8063rd during the week-long switcheroo in “Temporary Duty” and was referred to as a lieutenant. While attempting to secure the water tower in “They Call the Wind Korea” she suffered a ruptured spleen. And in “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen,” she somberly announced that she was quitting nursing, after having dealt with so much carnage — first at the tail end of World War II and, of course, the Korean War.

Nurse Bigelow in Temporary Duty Nurse Bigelow in Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Left: “Temporary Duty”; Right: “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”

List of Appearances:

Nurse Shari (Shari Saba)

Shari Saba’s first credited appearance was in the Season Eight episode “Bottle Fatigue,” in which she had one line (“Si, si doctor.”). In “Lend a Hand,” during a cold snap, she turned down Hawkeye’s suggestion they go somwhere cold and get warm, opting instead for some “stimulating conversation.” She was also in on the conspiracy to throw Hawkeye a surprise birthday party. In “Bottom’s Up,” Hawkeye and Charles moved B.J.’s cot into the nurses quarters, she was one of the grinning nurses awaiting him when he woke up.

She held a light over Gwen during a blackout after Gwen had been shot in “The Life You Save” and lost to B.J. in pinball in “Wheelers and Dealers.” In one of my personal favorite scenes that shows the dedication of the background players on M*A*S*H, she can be seen trying to glue together a mug in “Who Knew?” in the nurses quarters. And according to “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen,” she wanted to get into radiology. She also saved Father Mulcahy from being hit by a jeep in that episode.

Overall, Shari Saba was credited in only eleven episodes — both as simply Nurse and as Shari — but appeared uncredited in countless others, often in the background or in crowd scenes.

Nurse Shari in Lend a Hand Nurse Shari in As Time Goes By
Left: “Lend a Hand”; Right: “As Time Goes By”

List of Appearances:

Nurse Leslie Scorch (Linda Meiklejohn)

Leslie was Henry Blake’s main squeeze during the first season (and one episode of the second). Forgetting for a moment the moral repurcussions of the married Henry fooling around with another woman, it seems likely that army regulations frowned upon an officer of Henry’s stature fraternizing with a subordinate like Leslie (on the other hand, army regulations never stopped anyone at the 4077th from doing anything). She was seen in the original opening sequence to “M*A*S*H – The Pilot” enjoying champagne with Henry and was later off to Seoul in a chopper (Henry came back at the end of the episode; Leslie was not in the chopper with him, so how did she get back?).

She was at the party for Hawkeye in “Chief Surgeon Who?” and was introduced to Young Hi in “The Moose” during breakfast in the mess tent. In “Henry, Please Come Home” she joined with Hawkeye, Trapper and Radar to trick Henry into returning to the 4077th under false pretenses. During Henry’s search of the camp in “I Hate A Mystery,” Radar nearly ran off with a pile of Leslie’s delicates. When the nursing staff went on “strike” in “Edwina” until one of the men went on a date with Edwina, even Colonel Blake couldn’t get any affection from Leslie, his favorite nurse.

After seven appearances in Season One, she returned for the first episode of the second season but quickly disappeared, never to be seen again.

Nurse Scorch in M*A*S*H -- The Pilot Nurse Scroch in I Hate a Mystery
Left: “M*A*S*H — The Pilot”; Right: “I Hate a Mystery”

List of Appearances:

Nurse Jo Ann (Jo Ann Thompson)

NOTE: This actress is credited as both Jo Ann Thompson and Joann Thompson.

In eleven credited appearances, Jo Ann Thompson was given a name only twice, both times Jo Ann. In her other appearances, she was credited as simply Nurse (or Nurse #1 in “As Time Goes By“). Her first appearance was in the Season Seven episode “Dear Sis,” when she recieved socks for Christmas and was very impressed with the gift Klinger recieved. She helped B.J. harvest an arterial graft from a dead soldier in order to save another patient in “Life Time” and assisted Hawkeye in surgery in “The Red/White Blues.” She alerted the rest of the camp to the newspaper stash Charles was keeping in “Communication Breakdown.”

Was “bribed” by Reddish with a pair of silk stockings to let him speak with a patient before visiting hours in “Foreign Affairs.” She took the stockings and then went to alert Hawkeye and B.J., finally returning the stockings when they confronted Reddish. She was one of the enraged patrons of the Officer’s Club in “Friends and Enemies” when Charles put his classical music in the jukebox. In “As Time Goes By” she was present at the time capsule ceremony, along with most of the camp. And in “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen,” she announced she was sticking with the army.

Nurse Jo Ann in Life Time Nurse Jo Ann in Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Left: “Life Time”; Right: “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”

List of Appearances:

Unnamed Nurse (Jennifer Davis)

With Jennifer Davis, the writers and/or producers bypassed the issue of naming characters by never once crediting Jennifer Davis as anything but Nurse. She is credited in nine episodes, starting with Season Five’s “Dear Sigmund” and ending with “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.” In “C*A*V*E,” she was working on the patient Hawkeye was trying to help while battling his claustraphobia. Hawkeye hit on her in “A Night a Rosie’s” and again in “Are You Now, Margaret?” but both times she shrugged him off.

In “April Fools,” Colonel Tucker began asking her about an I.V. before Hawkeye interceded. And in “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen” she watched in horror as Hawkeye drove a tank through the newly rebuilt latrine.

Unnamed Nurse in A Night at Rosie's Unnamed Nurse in Friends and Enemies
Left: “A Night At Rosie’s”; Right: “Friends and Enemies”

List of Appearances:

Lt. Dish (Karen Philipp)

Lieutenant Dish, in the words of Hawkeye, is “a girl with a face that doesn’t quit. A girl with so much body she should be continued on the next girl.” She’s engaged and, according to Hawkeye, is inaccesible to everyone but him. But she always seem to turn him down as well, even going as far as to suggest that Hawkeye might thrive on rejection. She does agree to take part in the raffle to raise money for Ho-Jon but apparently only because she knows she won’t actually have to go away with the winner (she does assume it’ll be Hawkeye). The winner, of course, turns out to be Father Mulcahy and Dish is off the hook.

In “Germ Warfare” she’s seen first in the Pre-Op Ward assisting Trapper John, then in the Mess Tent where she talks with Hawkeye and teases him about how his fantasies and finally back in the Pre-Op Ward where she dresses a wound and talks with Margaret. Despite being featured heavily in the CBS fall preview for M*A*S*H as well as promotional material leading up to the series premiere, Dish only appeared in these two episodes.

Lt. Dish in M*A*S*H -- The Pilot Lt. Dish in Germ Warfare
Left: “M*A*S*H — The Pilot”; Right: “Germ Warfare”

List of Appearances:

Lt. Jones (Barbara Brownell)

During a date with Hawkeye at the minefield in “The Moose” she told him his kisses were driving her crazy; she then pushed him away for biting her throat. The two were soon interrupted by Trapper. Was introduced to Young Hi (the “moose”) at breakfast the following morning. Hawkeye tried to talk her into going out with Radar in “Love Story” but instead he talked her into his own, very capable, arms.

Lt. Jones in The Moose Lt. Jones in Love Story
Left: “The Moose”; Right: “Love Story”

List of Appearances:

Nurse Webster (Deborah Harmon)

Went on a date with Hawkeye in “Promotion Commotion” but only after deciding to give him a second chance following Rizzo’s attempt to gain favor with Hawkeye by telling her how much of a stud. The date ended badly due to interference from Igor and Klinger. Was one of the nurses to bug out with patients in “Hey, Look Me Over” and then return to a joyous reception from the doctors. Helped prepare for an inspection by Colonel Bucholtz and was later unexpectedly given the night off by Margaret.

Nurse Webster in Promotion Commotion Nurse Webster in Hey, Look Me Over
Left: “Promotion Commotion”; Right: “Hey, Look Me Over”

List of Appearances:

Nurse Lacey (Rita Wilson)

Was supposed to go out on a date with Hawkeye in “Blood and Guts” but had to back out when war correspondent Clayton Kibbee asked her to have a drink with him. Jokinly asked Hawkeye if he was jealous and was later seen at the Officer’s Club with Kibbee. Was one of the nurses to bug out with patients in “Hey, Look Me Over” and later returned to the 4077th to find a joyous reception from the doctors. Hawkeye later flirted with her while she was “cooking” hemostats (she ignored him). Complained about Margaret loudly, saying she was worse than Colonel Bucholtz. Worried about a dying patient with Hawkeye.

Nurse Lacey in Blood and Guts Nurse Lacey in Hey, Look Me Over
Left: “Blood and Guts;” Right: “Hey, Look Me Over”

List of Appearances:

Last updated November 10th, 2013

41 Comments

Leave a Reply