Lori Noel Brokamp (1940-2014)


I doubt very many M*A*S*H fans will recognize the name Lori Noel Brokamp but if you’ve watched just one episode of the series you’ve no doubt seen her work. She was one of the “running nurses” from the opening credits and, with the exception of a few episodes from Season 11, was seen at the start of every single episode of M*A*S*H. She’s the nurse on the far right holding her hat. Lori sadly passed away on December 15th, 2014 just a few days shy of her 74th birthday.

Lori Noel Brokamp in the Opening Credits

I started trying to identify all of the running nurses from the opening credits back in September 2007 and by January 2010 thought I had figured out who they all were. Back in July 2013 I was contacted by someone who said I had misidentified one of the nurses and he put me in touch with Lori, who had this to say about her experience:

The piece of film in the credits was shot before the first program aired. The director picked several of us to run up the hill towards the fictional helicopter. I ran as hard as I could and was still nearly last. We had to shot [sic] this scene five or six times. None of us received residuals, who knew it would still be aired after all these years.

The MASH show brought in a surgeon as technical adviser that trained us to handle surgical instruments. For some reason, I was really skilled at doing that and I passed instruments to all the television doctors; Marcus Welby, Bold Ones, Emergency, and Medical Center. Thank you MASH!

Years later, I ran into Gary Burgoff in Seattle, Washington at an art show and talked with him about the MASH Show and about his artwork (since I am an artist myself); and never knew he painted. He paints birds.

I told her I would update my page about the running nurses to correctly identify her. Unfortunately, it was around this time that my other website was hacked and I had to spend many months trying to put it back together. I also somehow lost all of Lori’s e-mails. I always meant to get around to contacting her again and revising the page but time just got away from me.

I didn’t know Lori well at all. We only corresponded two or three times by e-mail. I’m told that she enjoyed sharing a laugh about her “celebrity appearance” in the opening credits and recall how her hat was nearly blown off. To her friends and family, however, Lori was so much more than a background actor with a connection to M*A*S*H. She was a wife, a mother, a musician, and an artist.

I hope this brief tribute to Lori reminds us all that everyone involved in making M*A*S*H — no matter how small their role — has a story. It took all of them, from the main cast to the writers and directors all the way down the line to the camera operators, prop makers, drivers, and background actors, to create the television show we know and love.

(I have finally updated my feature on the Nurses from the Opening Credits to include Lori. I plan to heavily revise it again in the near future.)

13 Replies to “Lori Noel Brokamp (1940-2014)”

  1. Thank you for updating Lori’s information. I know her husband Ken Brokamp appreciated tis as he did the 1st memorial in Colorado on the 14th of this month. There will be 2 more memorials, one in San Luis Obispo and in LA area in February. I hope all her friends and cast-mates will come to say goodbye as she was one of nicest human beings I had the pleasure of calling a friend.

    1. Lori was my favorite “running nurse and I even loved the way she held her hat on as she ran. A very beautiful woman and I’m sorry she’s gone. I think that M*A*S*H represented the best of America and they knew they were portraying real medical people in a real war. The show holds up wonderfully and it’s a clinic on great writing, acting and direction for the medium of television.

  2. Lori was my step-mother since I was about 15 years old. She always had a loving spirit about her. She always went out of her way to make sure you were comfortable. She was strongly connected to the universe and had very strong spiritual believes that always radiated outward. You could always feel her positive energy and cared about all life as she expressed often and her artwork. I will miss her deeply but look forward to seeing her on the other side when my time comes. M~

  3. I was blessed to attend Lori’s memorial service in Ft. Collins. It was so marvelous, that, although I had never met her or maybe once briefly at a picnic, with the presentation that Ken made and also the chaplain from hospice, that I felt that I had known her. There were marvelous pictures from her full life as well as examples of her art, crocheting and music. In addition to a nice reception after the service, Ken graciously gave me and others pictures, crochet and cd. The spiritual presence at the service in the Masonic Hall was very strong, and I am looking forward to seeing Lori in the next step of the eternal life that we have in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  4. I met Lori in Portland, Ore in 1992 while she was an instructor. We hit it off immediately not only in art but our love of animals and the human spirit. It is because of Lori that I have become a professional artist with modest success. Her husband ,Ken and my husband, Lori and I used to enjoy singing and entertaining together. She was a friend and a confident , we traveled a few times together and enjoyed silliness. I can’t express how much I miss her already. Knowing she was an actress too is a special little surprise, sweet and enduring. Now I will watch Mash with more pleasure than before . Sleep with the angels sweet one.

  5. Lori…what can one say about this wonderful women. I first meant her over the phone, it was like talking to a ol friend. Then I was lucky enough to meet her in person when she & Ken came to Ohio to visit his mother. In a very short amount time you knew you were with a very special person that knew you better then you knew yourself. It is so hard to believe that one person could be so talented. I don’t think they was anything she couldn’t do. Everything seem to come so easy for her and she was always willing to pass on her God given talents to other…what a remarkable, caring and loving women. I know my life was much richer having known Lori.

  6. I first met Lori through her husband Ken when he and I served on the board of the Atascadero Charles Paddock Zoo here in Atascadero, CA. Our friendship continued when Ken also joined our Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival Committee. What a sweet woman! I appreciated her art; talked to her about her acting career; and learned that she loved to crochet. I was deeply touched when Lori presented me with a beautiful shawl in a deep rose color, for my birthday one year. I often throw it over my shoulders when I read in bed at night. It is a reminder of a beautiful, loving woman, who will be remembered in many ways by many people.

  7. Several of Lori’s paintings remind my wife and me of Lori’s vibrant life and her friendship. Her spark and joy of life lives on in all who knew her as an actress, painter, musician, and friend.

  8. I met Lori as our husbands were friends. We clicked immediately as we both painted and I always wanted to be actress!!!! She was a loving and generous
    lady. I am honored to have know her and have several of her paintings.

  9. Oh Lori I will miss you & I have been missing you for a long while since you left California. You are a beautiful & loving soul & will always be with us. Lori taught me to watercolor & to paint with abandon & to be free. We’d laugh & after painting for awhile & be so relaxed I’d say I just went to the moon & back & we’ d giggle cuz we knew it was such a meditation. Meeting Lori was just as if I had known her all my life. I always felt completely comfortable , relaxed & cared for with her. Ken I hope to hear where you are having her memorial here. My Sincere Sympathys to you & all you have loved her. Loni

  10. Lori was my art teacher. I learned so much from her. She was a lovely lady. I remember her always. I have several pictures she helped me with and one she painted and gave me as a gift.
    You will be missed.
    God be with you.
    My deepest sympathies to the family and friends.

  11. Lori taught art to my son and to me for 2 years, then she taught for my little charter school. What a wonderful woman! She brought wisdom, insight and fun to our classes. She played piano duets with us and shared her own work. She is sorely missed.

  12. Lori was my 2nd cousin but really more like my sister that I never had. We grew up together–especially during the summer months when our grandmothers would have a family reunion. I could hardly wait to see her; we would sit on the swing in the backyard & talk & laugh for hours. Then we’d walk downtown & look at shoes & usually buy a pair of matching sandals.

    We both twirled batons in HS & loved ice skating. She also taught me how to paint with watercolors & we loved playing music together–her on the piano & me on violin. She also taught me how to put makeup on.

    She was my favorite cousin; actually her mother was my godmother & was also a very accomplished pianist. Our entire family has been involved in the Arts–either with music or visual arts. I will & do miss her very much–I miss our talks & laughs & reminiscing. Love you to the stars cuz!!❤️❤️❤️

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