'MASH' star Kellye Nakahara dies at 72 after short battle with cancer

'MASH' star Kellye Nakahara dies at 72 after short battle with cancer
Kellye Nakahara (MASH/IMDb)

'MASH' star Kellye Nakahara has passed away at 72 after a short battle with cancer. The actor was best known for playing Nurse Kellye on the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series.

Besides 'MASH', Nakahara was also known for playing The Cook in 1985's 'Clue', a live-action adaptation of the board game Cluedo. She also appeared in supporting roles in films like 'Doctor Dolittle'.

According to TMZ, Nakahara died on Sunday, February 16, in her home in Pasadena. A family member reportedly revealed that Nakahara died peacefully with her family by her side. 

Though she was a popular actor, Nakahara's first love was always art. When she first moved to San Francisco from her birthplace on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, Nakahara worked as an artist selling watercolors. She continued her artwork throughout her life, even after establishing herself as an actor. 

Nakahara's artwork has been chosen for display throughout California including a collection she created titled 'The Gardens of Pasadena' which is on indefinite loan to the California city, according to ComicBook. Nakahara had also reportedly contributed a custom made Christmas ornament that was hung on one of the Official White House Christmas Trees in 2008.

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Nakahara appeared on 167 episodes of 'MASH', out of the over 250 episodes that the show aired from 1972 to 1983. In 1968, she married David Wallett and they had two children. She also has two grandchildren.

For those who don't remember, 'MASH' was a very popular show during its time and still continues to touch audiences through reruns and syndication. In a 2016 interview with NPR, Nakahara revealed that she still receives fan mail for having portrayed Nurse Kellye on the show.

"What she was to me was a genuine person who wasn't being looked at in the same way as the glamorous girls that were coming through the compound," Nakahara said. "And when she just stood up to Hawkeye and told him off, she made it clear that there's so much more to me than you think there is. And I got mail. I still get mail. 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." 

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