Wayne Rogers dies at 82; actor played Army surgeon Trapper John on TV’s ‘MASH’

Wayne Rogers, center, with fellow "MASH" stars Alan Alda and Loretta Swit in 1972.

Wayne Rogers, center, with fellow “MASH” stars Alan Alda and Loretta Swit in 1972.

(CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images)
Associated Press

Wayne Rogers, whose Trapper John McIntyre on “MASH” was among the most beloved characters on one of the most popular TV shows of all time, died Thursday. He was 82.

The actor was surrounded by family when he died in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia, his publicist and longtime friend, Rona Menashe, said.

As Army surgeon Trapper John on “MASH,” Rogers swapped wisecracks with his partner in martinis and mischief, Hawkeye Pierce, played by Alan Alda.


The two doctors blew off steam between surgeries pulling pranks, romancing nurses and tormenting their tent mate Frank Burns, always with an endless supply of booze and one-liners.

In one typical crack, Trapper answered a question with “How should I know? I dropped out of school to become a doctor.”

Rogers was on “MASH” for just the first three of its 11 seasons on CBS, but his run, and his character, are especially revered by the show’s devotees.

An Alabama native and Princeton graduate, Rogers had parts on many short-lived shows before “MASH,” specializing in westerns such as “Law of the Plainsman” and “Stagecoach West.”

In the years after “MASH” he returned to TV regularly, with a recurring role in the early 1990s on “Murder, She Wrote.”

He moved beyond acting to see success later in life as a money manager and investor. In 1988 and 1990 he appeared as an expert witness before the House Judiciary Committee to speak in favor of maintaining the Glass-Steagall banking laws of the 1930s.

In recent years he was a regular panelist on the Fox News stock investment show “Cashin’ In.”

Rogers is survived by his wife, Amy; two children, Bill and Laura; and four grandchildren.