Kellye Nakahara (1948-2020)

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Actress and painter Kellye Nakahara passed away yesterday (February 16th) at the age of 72. She played Nurse Kellye in more than 150 episodes of M*A*S*H. Many of her appearances were uncredited. In fact, she’s only credited in 43 episodes, starting with “Hot Lips and Empty Arms” during Season 2 and ending with the series finale “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” during Season 11.

In recognition of her connection to M*A*S*H, the Season 11 episode “Hey, Look Me Over” saw Nurse Kellye take center stage. (The episode was filmed during Season 10 but held over until the final season.)

After M*A*S*H ended, Nakahara continued acting sporadically with guest appearances on TV shows like Otherworld, Hunter, and Growing Pains. According to the Internet Movie Database, her last credited acting role was a May 1999 episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch; she later voiced a character in a December 2000 episode of The Wild Thornberrys.

Kellye Nakahara in the M*A*S*H episode Hot Lips and Empty Arms
Kellye Nakahara in “Hot Lips and Empty Arms” (Season 2)
Kellye Nakahara in the M*A*S*H episode Hey, Look Me Over
Kellye Nakahara in “Hey, Look Me Over” (Season 11)
Kellye Nakahara in the M*A*S*H episode Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Kellye Nakahara in “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” (Season 11)

In addition to acting, Nakahara was an accomplished painter. Learn more about her artwork at the Wow! Productions website or the Facebook page for the Kellye Wallett Studio.

Nakahara appeared in the 1991 documentary “Memories of M*A*S*H” on CBS. In April 2009, she joined Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Larry Gelbart, Loretta Swit, Mike Farrell, and others to help accept the Impact Award for M*A*S*H at the Seventh Annual TV Land Awards.

In April 2016, Nakahara was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. In April 2019, she was a guest on the M*A*S*H Matters podcast.

Obituaries can be found at Deadline Hollywood, CNN, and USA Today.

NOTE: According to obituaries, Kellye Nakahara was 72 when she died, although multiple sources state she was born in 1950. Her Wikipedia page says she was born in 1948 but there is no source referenced.

9 Replies to “Kellye Nakahara (1948-2020)”

  1. Sad news. These are definitely happening more often as time goes by. Makes me feel very sad and depressed every time, not just because of the loss of these great actors and actresses, but because it’s a stark reminder of how much time has passed since this beloved show ended and since these great people were all together as a family.

    Kellye played a sweet lovable character on the show. I am sure she will be greatly missed by many family and friends.

    RIP Nurse Kellye

  2. There was a later episode where they actually gave her a love interest and she put Hawkeye in his place for never noticing her charms, because she wasn’t 5 2 blonde with a nose that would fit in a bottle cap. 🙂 The episode was a surprise to the actress and she didn’t learn about it until the table read. She cried tears of joy for the script

  3. Dang it. She brought a sense of continuity and depth to the series, helping convey that there were also the lives of other people happening and mattering at the 4077th besides those characters whose performers happened to be named during the opening credits. I remember thinking how GREAT it was that she was given a spotlight episode at the start of the 11th season — and I wondered then if she was going to become a more regular presence during the final season’s shows. For the past several years, I’ve been wanting to mail her a 3×5 card in care of her art website to get her autograph … and never did so. (Kellye is probably an even more rare autograph than McLean Stevenson or Larry Linville — perhaps even Stiers, who at least did some signing on some “Star Trek:TNG” cards.) Kellye was also one of the few performers who was involved in both the original series and the sequel series — that’s her voice over many of the P.A. announcements heard in “AfterMASH” — and I’m surprised to see that IMDB doesn’t include her name in connection with that later show.

  4. You can’t help but unsuccessfully fight back the tears when hearing about the passing of another actor that gave life to the characters of MASH. The show has always been a favorite with no others even being a close 2nd. To this day (owning the series on DVD) I still watch a couple episodes before bed and is my “goto” whenever I’m feeling down.

    Goodbye Kellye, you will never be forgotten.

  5. I saw yesterday that TMZ was the first to report about this, and given their penchant for jumping all over unsubstantiated gossip and running with it without necessarily having all of the facts, I wanted to wait until I saw other sources confirm that this had, indeed, happened . . . and, unfortunately, it has.

    007 is right, this is happening with more frequency, especially when you consider whom all we have sadly lost just this past decade.

    Even if Kellye didn’t have just a whole lot to do, and was often just relegated to the background, her presence on the show was really strong, and she really added a little something special. She will definitely be missed.

  6. I had the GREAT PLEASURE and HONOR to do the extra casting for MASH for 7 years, working for Central Casting. Every time I would visit the set, Kellye was so friendly and had a beautiful smile on her face. She was a part of such a fantastic group of extras (acting once in a while) who, I know, LOVED working on this very special show. A main reason was they were treated so well by the company, especially Cathy Kinsock, the 2nd AD. I remember a few names, each one THE BEST of all the 5,000 union extras who worked during this era: Bill Snider, Roy Goldman, Gwen Farrell, Si and Mike Paciorek, Shari Saba, Natasha Bauman, and many more. Thank you, Kellye and everyone for being so warm and genuine. I have the script from the last show, signed by all the cast and those above. I remember Alan Alda being the ONLY ACTOR to thank the extras at the Emmys. He had good reason to do so. If you were part of this great group, please contact me using Google: Andy Krieger Vancouver Canada. My genuine condolences to Kellye’s family.

  7. Kellye, you weren’t a conventional beauty but you were an unforgettable part of the MASH family.
    Prayers for those you left behind.

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