Wayne Rogers (1933-2015)


Actor and businessman Wayne Rogers passed away yesterday (December 31st) in Los Angeles from complications relating to pneumonia. He was 82. Rogers played Trapper John McIntyre during the first three seasons of M*A*S*H before leaving the series prior to the start of Season 4, frustrated with the size of his role. His departure led to a lawsuit from 20th Century Fox, claiming breach of contract. By all appearances Rogers remained on good terms with members of the cast and participated in several documentaries and reunion specials over the years.

Wayne Rogers as Trapper John from M*A*S*H--The Pilot (1972)

Wayne Rogers as Trapper John from “M*A*S*H–The Pilot” (1972)

Rogers began his acting career in the early 1950s, primarily on television. He co-starred in a western TV series called Stagecoach West from 1960-1961 and made dozens of guest appearances throughout the 1960s on shows like Have Gun — Will Travel, The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, The Big Valley, and The F.B.I..

After leaving M*A*S*H, Rogers starred in City of Angels on NBC. The short-lived detective drama ran for 13 episodes in 1976. He then starred in House Calls from 1979 to 1982 on CBS. He played a doctor on the sitcom, which ran for 57 episodes, and received a Golden Globe nomination for the role.

Wayne Rogers in the M*A*S*H 30th Anniversary Reunion Special (2002)

Wayne Rogers in the M*A*S*H 30th Anniversary Reunion Special (2002)

Rogers appeared in numerous made-for-TV movies throughout the 1980s, including I Dream of Jeannie…Fifteen Years Later in 1985, but stepped away from acting in the 1990s. He did have a recurring role on Murder She Wrote from 1993 to 1995. According to his Internet Movie Database profile, his last acting role was a 2003 movie called Nobody Knows Anything!.

In December 2005, Rogers received a star a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In January 2007, Rogers hosted The Hallmark Channel’s “M*A*S*H Bash” marathon and introduced twenty episodes (you can see some of his introductions here). He joined members of the M*A*S*H cast and crew on stage in April 2009 to accept the Impact Award at the Seventh Annual TV Land Awards.

Outside of acting, Rogers was a successful businessman, particularly with investments and real estate. He owned his own investment company. For many years he was a panelist on Cashin’ In, an investment show that airs on Fox News Channel.

Obituaries can be found at The New York Times, Variety, Deadline Hollywood, and The Hollywood Reporter.

January 1st, 2016 Update #1 – Ken Levine has posted a tribute to Wayne Rogers at his blog. Although Levine started writing for the series several years after Rogers left M*A*S*H, he met Rogers a few times and has some very nice things to say.

January 1st, 2016 Update #2 – Alan Alda sent the following tweet earlier today:

January 2nd, 2016 Update – Jeff Maxwell, who played Igor, left a comment yesterday at Ken Levine’s blog remembering Rogers:

Very very sad to hear about Wayne Rogers. I have fond memories of him being very funny and having a big, infectious laugh heard anywhere you might be on Stage 9. Between scenes, he would jump on the only phone on the stage making deals (cell phones didn’t exist). I hung close to his conversations hoping to hear any choice tips, but I was a young goofball and had no idea what he was talking about. Probably still wouldn’t.

He later starred as another doctor in a series with Lynn Redgrave based on a Walter Matthau movie, “House Calls.” I auditioned for a part on the show for director Dick Martin (one of my comic heroes) of Rowan & Martin. Dick and I got along very well, and I got the part of a wacko who holds some folks hostage at the hospital. But I think Wayne may have put a in good word for me.

My heart goes out to his family, and to the entire cast for their loss of a great friend.

January 8th, 2016 Update – Alan Alda has written a tribute to Wayne Rogers for The Hollywood Reporter.

21 Replies to “Wayne Rogers (1933-2015)”

  1. Terrible news to usher in the New Year. I am heartbroken at the news. Trapper was my favorite. Not only was he the handsomest of all the cast members, but he had an infectious laugh and a tremendous sense of comic timing. Absolutely gutted at this news.

    RIP Wayne. Thank you for the laughs and the memories.

    1. I feel the same way. Heard this news last night and it was like a final gut punch to end 2015.

      RIP Wayne. You will never be forgotten. M*A*S*H seasons 1-3 are by far my favorites and Trapper is one of the biggest reasons for that.

  2. godspeed trapper. i grew up watching mash and have taken many life lessons from it. the best is no matter how bad things get you have to carry on and be human to those around you. this news has been the capper too a bad year for me. that being said there is always time for tears. now is the time to put in your favorite episode with the venerable mr. rodgers and remember all the good times he has given us and take hope that we can always tune in somewhere and see him again.

    1. I would recommend re-watching “Ceasefire”. I love the way Trapper keeps his head about the ‘peace’ rumors while everyone else jumps the gun to celebrate based on a rumor.

      1. i always go back to “kim” . it’s a great episode. i think it is wayne rodgers defining moment. i do not say this as an expert, just a guy who spent a few decades watching mash.

  3. While I’ve never been shy about being among the minority of MASHers who prefered B.J. over Trapper, I certainly recognize what a talent Wayne Rogers was, and one things for sure is that he and Alan Alda had absolutely remarkable chemistry with each other that always shone through the screen. Sue mentioning his laugh makes me think of all the times that Hawkeye and Trapper were playing some kind of prank on Frank, and Trapper absolutely could not keep a straight face half the time: you could tell they were having fun in and out of character.

    It’s a shame that the writers often gave Trapper the shaft – I really feel he was the least expanded-on character of the cast: even Henry started to show some growth as a commander during his last season, but Trapper seemed to continually be reduced more and more to Hawkeye’s sidekick. Episodes like “Kim” and “Check-up” are certainly his shining moments, and I know a lot of people are watching these episodes in his honor, I think I will too.

    While I’m sad that another part of the M*A*S*H family has left us, I’m still amazed that to this day a number of them are still alive and well – especially considering it seems like so many others from shows of the 60s and 70s have long passed on.

    I know he and Alan were particularly close in real life, so I hope Alan’s coping with this well enough.

  4. A MASH lover for 38 years… It was such a huge part of my live. From the age of 13-24 it was a must TV for the entire family. There will always be the debate on the best MASH characters, but for me, Hawkeye, Trapper and Col. Blake are the Mount Rushmore of characters. It’s a sad day to see of one my favorites pass on. RIP Wayne Rogers!! Binge watching the first 3 seasons on Netflix for the next 2 weeks is a must.

  5. Rest in peace we will miss you Trapper! always more fun times when your on mash!To me you were an equal to Hawkeye nobodys better than the other like brothers!Im watching your episodes tonight.

  6. Genuinely sad to hear heaven has taken another cast member from my favorite show. The charismatic Wayne Rogers who was a wonderful actor, had great comic timing and a great big smile. Rest easy up there with McLean, Larry and Harry you will be missed that’s for sure.
    Don’t get drunk and run naked through the mess tent without any clothes on though!!!

  7. RJ, I just thought of something that might be worth mentioning for this post: Wayne hosted the first of two M*A*S*H Bashes on Hallmark Channel in 2007.

    1. Thanks. I forgot all about that. I have added it to the post. I wish I had better quality videos of his introductions. And I really wish I had recorded all of them.

      Also, everyone, I’ve swapped this month’s poll for one about the best Trapper episodes of M*A*S*H.

  8. I am a great MASH fan and must have watched every episode over and over again. Trapper Makentire was indeed a special caractor and great fun to watch, especially alongside Alan Alders Hawkeye. Like most of the actors who have past away over the years Wayne Rogers will always be remembered as one of best.
    Rest in Peace
    Yours truly a massive MASH fan.

  9. This truly is a very sad and heartbreaking bit of news. Trapper was an excellent sidekick for Hawkeye. I’m sure everyone is in agreement with me when I say that he will be missed very much. RIP, Wayne. Hope you realize what you meant to everyone on the show and those who are devoted fans.

  10. There was a week, sometime back in the 1990s, I think, where Wayne Rogers was guest co-hosting “Good Morning, America” for the full week. I found out about it, quickly mailed off to ABC TV in New York a M*A*S*H photo or two I had with Trapper that I’d been wanting to get signed, and — miraculously — it made its way to the other end of the country in time for Wayne to get it and to mail back my photo(s) with his signature added. That’s how I now have a 3-shot fully signed by Alan, Wayne, and McLean.

    I’ve had a tradition of getting at least one M*A*S*H TV autograph every year since 1984. Just this past November, my token acquisition for the year happened to be a $9 Buy-It-Now purchase (notched down a couple of dollars via the “Make An Offer” option) of a signed 3×5 index card … of Wayne Rogers.

  11. Wow…that makes three actors who left M*A*S*H during its original run who left this world (folowing McLean Stevenson [1972-5] in 1997 and Larry Linville [1972-7] in 2000). Alan Alda, Jamie Farr, Loretta Swit, Gary Burghoff and William Christopher are now the only surviving cast members left from Season 1.

  12. I feel almost worse than knowing of his passing, but the fact that I’ve found out this late is almost more unbearable. Of all the characters, he was my favorite, as can be seen in other posts before this one. The shock that hit you guys a month ago is now hitting me. If anything this has reinvigorated me to keep up to date with RJ’s postings and getting autographs of the remaining cast.

  13. Trapper John was my favorite character on M*A*S*H. Why the writer did not write more for him I will never understand. One thing that upset me to this day Aug. 23, 2018 is that they never brought him back to have a proper goodbye with Hawkeye. Why? His name is mention a couple of time in season four and then again after Radar goes home and BJ is jealous of Trapper because he went home state side even though he had never met him. I don’t understand the politics of what goes on behind the scenes of a TV show but they could have surely brought him back to at least give closure to these two character. After Wayne Rodgers left the show, for me was it was not the same. Alan Alda may have been the star of the show but Wayne Rodgers deserve better from the writers.

  14. rest in peace! wayne rogers! along with mclean stevenson larry linville william christopher david ogden stiers and other rest actors!

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