William Christopher at TVLand Awards in 2009
|Born:||October 20, 1932|
|Birthplace||Evanston, Illinois, U.S.|
|Died:||December 31, 2016(aged 84)|
|Deathplace||Pasadena, California, U.S.|
|Appeared on/in:||M*A*S*H / AfterMASH|
|Episodes appeared in:||211 episodes of M*A*S*H Seasons 1-11 |
29 episodes of AfterMASH
|Character(s) played:||Father Mulcahy|
William Christopher (October 20, 1932 – December 31, 2016) was a veteran actor who was best known for playing Father Mulcahy on the television series M*A*S*H and Private Lester Hummel on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Christopher attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, and graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, with a B.A. in drama. He also participated in fencing, soccer, and the glee club. He was initiated as a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity while in college. He met his future wife, Barbara, on a blind date. They would eventually have two sons, John and Ned. Christopher is a descendant of Paul Revere.
Career[edit | edit source]
Christopher appeared in a variety of regional productions, and eventually a number of Off-Broadway productions, such as The Hostage at One Sheridan Square. His Broadway debut came in Beyond the Fringe, a British revue.
William left the New York stage for Hollywood to attempt to gain work in television, where he guest-starred in several well-known series, including: The Andy Griffith Show (he portrayed a new, young doctor scheduling Opie Taylor for a tonsillectomy) and also as an IRS agent who came to collect taxes due from Aunt Bee (who had won some prizes on a TV show), Death Valley Days, The Patty Duke Show, The Men from Shiloh and Good Times opposite comedian Jimmie Walker (he portrayed the military doctor examining J. J. Evans). Christopher had recurring roles on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., That Girl and Hogan's Heroes. He also made a guest appearance on The Love Boat. In 1972, Christopher landed the role of Father Mulcahy n the television series M*A*S*H, when the actor who originated the role, George Morgan, was replaced after just one appearance in the pilot episode.
His favorite episodes are "Dear Sis" and "Mulcahy's War".
Immediately following M*A*S*H, Christopher continued the role for the two seasons of the short-lived spin-off series, AfterMASH.
In feature films, Christopher performed in 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. He won parts in such telefilms as The Movie Maker, The Perils of Pauline (1967), and For the Love of It. The Doris Day film With Six You Get Eggroll is notable for fans of M*A*S*H as Jamie Farr appears along with Christopher five years before the show, both playing hippies. The film also features Herb Voland, who played General Clayton in seven episodes of the first two seasons of M*A*S*H. Farr and Christopher also had bit parts (co-pilot and radio operator respectively) in the 1958 Andy Griffith movie, No Time For Sergeants.
William had appeared on various series, including Murder, She Wrote. In 1998, Christopher guest-starred in an episode of Mad About You. Christopher had also remained active in the theater, including a tour of the United States in the mid-90s with Jamie Farr doing Neil Simon's The Odd Couple on stage. He appeared with Jamie Farr and Loretta Swit in an episode of Diagnosis: Murder and Lois & Clark.
Charity work[edit | edit source]
Christopher, whose son, Ned, is autistic, devotes much of his spare time to the National Autistic Society, doing public service announcements to bring attention to autism. In 1985, he and his wife Barbara wrote Mixed Blessings, a book about their experiences raising Ned.
References[edit | edit source]
- William Christopher biography at Best Care Anywhere fan site, Bestcareanywhere.net, accessed 2011-05-17.
- Best Care Anywhere M*A*S*H fan page
- M*A*S*H: The Martinis & Medicine Collection - Special Features: Disc 1 - "My Favorite MASH"
- TROUPE AMERICA,INC.| theatrical promotions - road shows - convention entertainment, Troupeamerica.com, November 3, 1999, accessed 2011-05-17.
- Church Basement Ladies Tour 2008, Troupeamerica.com, accessed 2011-05-17.
- Best Care Anywhere.net M*A*S*H fansite