LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — “MASH” star Wayne Rogers has died.
Rogers was 82.
He played the wise-cracking Trapper John “T.J.” McIntyre on the first three seasons of the long-running CBS sitcom (1972-1983). The character (originated in the movie by Elliot Gould) was so popular, however, the role was later spun off into a drama series called “Trapper John” that ran on CBS from 1979-86. (Pernell Roberts played the title role after Rogers reportedly turned it down worrying he would be typecast forever as wiseguy doctor types.)
Rogers’ family released a statement Thursday evening. “Wayne Rogers, actor and businessman, passed away today in Los Angeles from complications from pneumonia. He was surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife, Amy, his children Laura and Bill, and four grandchildren, Alexander, Daniel, William and Anais.”
The Birmingham, Alabama-born Rogers graduated from Princeton with a history degree in 1954. After a sting in the navy, he tried his hand at acting and quickly landed a role on the now defunct soap “Search for Tomorrow.”
He soon also got bit parts in movies like “Cool Hand Luke” and “The Glory Guys” in the mid 60s.
It was the role of Trapper John in 1972 that made him a bona-fide TV star playing opposite Alan Alda’s Hawkeye Pierce.
Rogers other credits include “Murder, She Wrote,” “Gunsmoke,” “The FBI” and the sitcom “House Calls” (1979-82) in which he played a wiseguy doctor.
In a 1985 TV movie, Rogers played Major Nelson on “I Dream Of Jeannie — Fifteen Years Later,” a role made famous by Larry Hagman.
In his later years, Rogers became a respected businessman and investor and was credited with raising the portfolios of several stars, James Caan and Peter Falk among them. He also served on half a dozen boards. Rogers was a frequent guest on financial TV shows including “Cashin’ In” on the Fox News Channel.
He was also credited with being a big backer of Broadway shows; most notably several Neil Simon comedies.
Rogers received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.