William Christopher, the actor best known for playing the wise, witty Father Francis Mulcahy on the hit series “MASH,” has died at 84 in his Pasadena home.
One of his sons told a TV station his father died after a battle with lung cancer.
Christopher’s Catholic priest character Father Mulcahy was often puzzled by the antics of the surgeons in the fictional MASH unit during the Korean war, especially by Alan Alda’s Captain Hawkeye Pierce. But his kindly, thoughtful advice and musings often brought insight and even helped resolve difficult situations.
Christopher began his acting career on stage in New York City in a number of off-Broadway productions that eventually led to Broadway shows.
But it was “MASH” that made Christopher famous as he appeared in more than 200 episodes of the smash series. A Methodist off-camera, Christopher played the kindly Catholic priest from 1972 to 1983.
Christopher also appeared in a short-lived MASH spinoff, “After MASH.” His other notable credits included guest shots on “Hogan’s Heroes,” “Gomer Pyle,” “That Girl,” “Columbo,” and he played Fr. Tobias on the soap, “Days of Our Lives,” in 2012.
Christopher, who died Saturday morning without making it into the new year, also had roles in a number of movies, including, “The Fortune Cookie,” “The Private Navy of Sgt. O’Farrell,” “The Shakiest Gun in the West,” “With Six You Get Eggroll,” and “Hearts of the West.”
Christopher was also well-known for his charity work, particularly in the fight against autism, which affects one of his sons.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and two sons, John and Ned.
— City News Service
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