McLean Stevenson

  • Born: November 14, 1927
  • Died: February 15, 1996
  • Location: Studio City, California

Tribute


"M-A-S-H" star, dead at 68

McLean Stevenson, who played the womanizing, goof-off Lt. Col. Henry Blake on TV's "M-A-S-H," has died at age 68.

Stevenson died of a heart attack late Thursday at a hospital, his agent, Robert Malcolm, said.

Stevenson played the commanding officer of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, for the first three seasons of "M-A-S-H." The role won him a 1973 Golden Globe Award and a 1974 Emmy nomination.

In the series, Blake died when his plane was lost at sea as he returned to the United States.

"McLean Stevenson was one of the kindest, most sensitive people I've worked with or known," said Gary Burghoff, who played Blake's clerk, Radar O'Reilly. "My personal sense of loss is magnified a thousand times by what this kind, funny gentleman has meant to all those who knew him."

Jamie Farr, who played Cpl. Maxwell Klinger on "M-A-S-H," praised Stevenson's comic sense.

"Mac had a tickle inside of him. Everything he said was funny _ on and off the set," Farr said Friday. "He always had a smile, always had good things to say."

Stevenson quit the series "to see what I can do on my own," he told The Associated Press in 1975.

"For five years I've been playing second banana in filmed comedy series, first on `The Doris Day Show' and then `M-A-S-H," he said.

"Sure, I'll be losing a lot of money," he said. "But so what? How many Jaguars can I drive? My needs are very small."

Stevenson later said leaving the series was the mistake of his career.

After "M-A-S-H," he appeared in a handful of short-lived series, even his own, "The McLean Stevenson Show." He also appeared in "Hello, Larry" and "Condo."

Born in Bloomington, Ill., Stevenson was the son of a cardiologist. He worked on the losing presidential campaign of his cousin and next-door neighbor, Adlai Stevenson.

He was 31 before he broke into acting after careers as a medical supplies salesman, insurance clerk, seaman and assistant director of athletics at Northwestern University, where he earned a theater arts degree.

"I had nine jobs in eight years and I didn't like any of them," he told the AP. He was walking across a football field when he decided to go into show business.

"I watched those poor slobs practicing like crazy, knowing that if they didn't block they wouldn't get paid," he recalled. "It was crazy to stay in college athletics unless you were a coach. I decided to go to New York and become an actor."

During the 1960s he worked in night clubs and comedy cabarets, did summer stock theater and some television before moving to Hollywood, where he worked as a comedy writer for Tommy Smothers. He eventually began acting in sketches on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour."

He played Doris Day's boss from 1969-71 on "The Doris Day Show" and was a regular on "The Tim Conway Comedy Hour" in 1970.

Stevenson is survived by his wife, Ginny; daughter Lindsey; son Jeffrey MacGregor; and sister, Ann Whitney.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.


Condolence & Memory Journal

So sorry for your loss. Enjoyed watching him on mash. Even though it been over 24 years you never get over the loss of our loved one. Jer.29:11

Posted by A friend   February 28, 2020

Posted by Grady Youngblood - Fort Lauderdale, FL   February 20, 2020

Youre still making the world that missed you laugh

Posted by Jeff Kwit - Chicago, IL - Friend   February 14, 2019

Just watchedva Carson appearance and remembered how witty and entertaining you were. RIP

Posted by jeff kwit - Chicago, IL   August 14, 2016

you will be miss Henry

Posted by Jerod Schober - fargo, ND - friend   April 30, 2015

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Posted by Krishna - PrdR1MCH6bI, TX - k7RWJ1VV   February 20, 2015

Candle

To Mclean Stevenson,
You were a very talented actor. I really enjoyed watching you on the sitcom Mash, etc. My prayers are with you MR. Stevenson. Lisa Weiner

Posted by Lisa Weiner - Brooklyn, NY - fan   October 22, 2013

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Posted by Shweta - XQdZOsJDp, DE - ofJcyJjOHUn   February 28, 2012

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Posted by Rosa - cQEIczmUSzMYBKrQZ, NM - tbJozXEmKX   February 23, 2012

I LOVE the MASH series, especially with McLean Stevenson. He is a great actor and from Bloomington, Illinois where I have family. I am from Eureka, Illinois which is about 20 miles from Bloomington. I am so glad that the series go on and on and on, which is a great tribute to him as a wonderful human being.

Posted by Betty Rocke    May 27, 2008


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