M*A*S*H fans are in mourning again, following the death of Kellye Nakahara on Sunday. The actress, who played Nurse Kellye Yamato on the beloved series, was 72. Her death comes less than two weeks after M*A*S*H co-creator Gene Reynolds died earlier this month at age 96.
This breaks my heart but it looks like we lost Kellye Nakahara yesterday, this was posted on her company Facebook Page. pic.twitter.com/EFhXS4YASG— MASH 4077 Podcast (@MASH4077Podcast) February 17, 2020
Nakahara died at her family home in Pasadena, California following a shot battle with cancer, a family member told TMZ Monday. The family also shared the heartbreaking news on the Kellye Wallett Studio Facebook page, where they published a recent photo of Nakahara with husband David Wallett and their daughter Lani.
"Yesterday we lost one of the most beautiful souls on earth. We will miss you so much Kellye," the family wrote.
Sorry to hear. Kellye was on the show from the 1st year to the last, originally as an extra. Alan Alda even wrote an episode ("Hey, Look Me Over", 1982) in which she took centre stage. RIP.— Latte Larry's (@Dene71) February 17, 2020
'M*A*S*H' Star Kellye Nakahara Dead at 72 https://t.co/gtr7jTNQ3C
Nakahara was born in Oahu, Hawaii and moved to San Francisco to become an artist. In 1973, she was cast in M*A*S*H, a TV adaptation of the 1970 film. She played Lt. Kellye Yamato for more than 160 episodes until 1983, when the show ended. She late took on small guest roles in films and TV shows, even appearing in the 1985 comedy Clue. She made he last appearance in a 1999 episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.
After leaving acting behind, Nakahara focused on he fist love, art. She became an accomplished watercolor artist. However, she still received fan mail, thanking her for playing a role that portrayed Asians in a positive light.
"I still get mail," she told NPR in 2016. "I have people coming up to me that say, as far as being Asian, you're the first role model that I had of an Asian that wasn't portrayed as an Asian, just as a person. And I think that was - it took a long time, I think, for that to come around. I hope that it's starting to change now. But I think it's taken a long time."
M*A*S*H fans flooded Nakahara's Facebook page to share their condolences.
"Condolences to the family. Her compassion for everyone was seen through the TV screen and her paintings," one fan wrote.
"So very sorry for your loss," another added. "Loved her on MASH! Prayers to the family and may she Rest In Peace."
"One of the most memorable actors from MASH!" another wrote. "Thank you for being part of the Arts for so many reasons! E ho'omaha me ka maluhia!"
"Sorry for your loss I loved her on mash she was a sweet loving person on the show," another wrote.0comments
Nakahara is survived by her husband, two children and two grandchildren.
Photo credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images