"You haven't the faintest idea how terrific I am! For your information, I happen to have a fantastic sense of humor, a bubbly personality, and I am warm and sensitive like you wouldn't believe! I also sing and play the guitar, and I'm learning to tap dance! And on top of all that, I happen to be CUTE AS HELL!!"
[Kellye, to Hawkeye, in Hey Look Me Over]
1st Lieutenant Kellye Yamato, sometimes referred to as Nurse Kellye or just Kellye, is a recurring minor character in the M*A*S*H TV series portrayed by Kellye Nakahara. She appeared in at least 167 episodes of the series (full accounting has never been completed).
The character grew steadily from a background (often non-speaking) character beginning in Season 2, culminating in the final season episode Hey, Look Me Over, in which she was a central character.
Kellye made her debut as an uncredited extra in Divided We Stand. After several detours, including being billed as Nurse Able in A Full Rich Day, then later Nurse Baker and at one point Nurse Charlie, she was permanently identified as Nurse Kellye or often simply Kellye. In fact, the full name "Kellye Yamato" never appeared on the credits so it is a compound made up from her first credited billing and the first name which her character finally settled down to. Though she remained an extra, she became an established recurring character. Hawkeye first addresses her as "Kellye" in Carry On, Hawkeye. In her first credited appearance in Season 2's Hot Lips and Empty Arms she was billed as Nurse Yamato, though the name was used only in the credits of this one episode, and never mentioned in dialogue. Her first name "Kealani" was never spoken on screen either, but according to interviews with the actress, it was the first name used on set when referring to the character. As late as Season 10 in The Birthday Girls, she was credited as Lieutenant Nakahara (Kellye's actual last name), which raises the interesting question whether the character's last name should be Yamato or Nakahara.
Kellye is part-Chinese and part-Hawaiian (Life Time), she is Honolulu-born and raised and speaks fluent Japanese. She takes great pride in her Asian-American heritage and frequently took offense at any racial slurs and cultural slights leveled by either Frank or Charles. In the series finale, she reveals that she is planning to transfer to Tripler Army Hospital back in Honolulu, where her family still lives. Physically speaking, Kellye is shorter than the other nurses and somewhat stocky. She has brown eyes and black, wavy, shoulder-length hair that she often wears up in pig tails when she is on duty.
The most we ever learn about Kellye is in Hey, Look Me Over, the debut episode of the final season, during which for the first and only time she is a central character. Emotionally hurt by Hawkeye's frequently overlooking her, Kellye angrily points out to him that he ignores her merely because she is not as physically attractive as the other nurses, and then tells him things about her that he doesn't notice (see quote at top of page).
Later, after Hawkeye watches Kellye's bedside manner as she quietly talks to and comforts a soldier just moments before he dies, he finally realizes that Kellye is everything she claimed to be and more. Later still, wearing his tuxedo, Hawkeye goes to the nurses tent and offers Kellye a bouquet of flowers, though he soon finds out that she is in the middle of a date with a visiting lieutenant. On a subsequent night in the Officers Club he asks her to dance cheek-to-cheek, which she accepts.