Monday M*A*S*H Discussions offers fans the opportunity to offer their opinions on a wide variety of topics relating to M*A*S*H. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. My hope is these discussion posts will continue to elicit comments in the weeks and months after they’re initially published. Have a suggestion about something you think might be worth discussing? Let me know and maybe it will become my next Monday M*A*S*H Discussion topic.
007 suggested today’s topic: Who is your favorite recurring nurse character?
There Is Nothing Like A Nurse
Two months ago, we discussed our favorite non-nurse minor character. I intentionally left nurses out of that topic because I wanted to have a separate discussion just about the nurses on M*A*S*H. I’m sure every fan and many casual viewers have their favorite nurse. I know I do.
Of course, it can be a little difficult to talk about nurses because not all of the recurring or minor nurses seen on M*A*S*H had a name. Or if they did, it was shared by numerous nurses. Some actresses appeared multiple times as the same nurse. Others guest starred in numerous episodes but always as a different character.
For example, Kellye Nakahara is known for playing Nurse Kellye on M*A*S*H. She’s probably the most famous minor character. Yet Nakahara was credited in several episodes as Nurse Able, Nurse Charlie, or Nurse Baker. Eventually, the writers decided to give her character a name and a limited backstory.
Gwen Farrell was as one of the “running nurses” in the opening credits and stayed with the series for its entire run. She was credited as Nurse Butler, Nurse Wilson, Nurse Able, Anesthetist, or simply Nurse. She did receive a single credit (“The Life You Save”) as Gwen.
Then there’s Jennifer Davis. Despite being credited in nine episodes, her nurse character was never once given a name. In all her appearances, she’s credited simply as simply Nurse.
So, feel free to discuss either your favorite recurring nurse character or your favorite actress who played multiple nurse characters. Here’s a list:
- Kellye (Kellye Nakahara)
- Margie Cutler (Marcia Strassman)
- Ginger Ballis (Odessa Cleveland)
- Leslie Scorch (Linda Meiklejohn)
- Barbara Bannerman (Bonnie Jones)
- Lt. Dish (Karen Philipp)
- Lt. Jones (Barbara Brownell)
- Nurse Able (Judy Farrell)
- Nurse Baker (Jan Jorden)
- Nurse Bigelow (Enid Kent)
- Nurse Shari (Shari Saba)
- Nurse Jo Ann (Jo Ann Thompson)
- Nurse Webster (Deborah Harmon)
- Nurse Lacey (Rita Wilson)
- Unnamed Nurse (Jennifer Davis)
- Various Nurses (Gwen Farrell)
- Various Nurses (Lois Foraker)
- Various Nurses (Phyllis Katz)
- Various Nurses (Sheila Lauritsen)
- Various Nurses (Lynnette Mettey)
- Various Nurses (Bobbie Mitchell)
- Various Nurses (Patricia Stevens)
If I’ve forgotten any nurses or actresses, I apologize.
My favorite recurring nurse has to be Margie Cutler, played by the Marcia Strassman (perhaps better known as Mrs. Kotter on Welcome Back, Kotter). Cutler appears in six episodes during Season 1, beginning with a memorable debut in “Requiem for a Lightweight.” She’s quickly established as a love interest for Hawkeye but she’s more than just another pretty nurse. Margie helps Hawkeye and Trapper with their film in “Yankee Doodle Doctor” and later leads a revolt among the nurses in “Edwina.” She makes her final appearance in “Ceasefire” near the end of Season 1. Margie is never seen nor mentioned again, as is the case with several recurring characters dropped after the first season.
Hit the comments with your thoughts.