Kellye Nakahara has died at the age of 72 after a battle with cancer. Learn more about the iconic ‘M*A*S*H’ star who played Lieutenant Nurse Kellye on the legendary series.
Kellye Nakahara is dead at the age of 72. The former M*A*S*H star passed away on Sunday, Feb. 16 with her family at her side in Pasadena, California after a short battle with cancer, TMZ reports. “Yesterday we lost one of the most beautiful souls on earth. We will miss you so much Kellye!” her official fan page shared, alongside a photo of her and her daughter. Kellye was a fixture on the legendary television series through its entire run — which aired on CBS from 1972 – 1983 — appearing as Lieutenant Nurse Kellye. Learn more about the Hawaiian-born actress who will forever be remembered for her iconic role.
1. She was from Hawaii. Kellye was born on the stunning Hawaiian island of Oahu on January 1, 1950 and later relocated to San Francisco, California to pursue a career in art. Kellye got into acting in the early 70’s, and immediately ended up on M*A*S*H.
2. She starred on M*A*S*H. An acronym short for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, the popular war-comedy series is one of television’s most beloved series. Starring Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, McLean Stevenson and Loretta Swit, the series has lived far beyond its original 1972 – 1983 run in syndication. Kellye played warm-hearted Lieutenant Nurse Kellye — originally a background, non-speaking role — on the show which followed a group of support staff and doctors stationed in Asia during the Korean War. “I just was so thrilled to be on that set. I loved the smell of the tents. I loved the people. So I would have a great time with the writers and talk to them and the crew, who I loved. And really, we became such great friends that I think I was in every scene because I put myself in every scene…,” she shared in a 2016 interview with NPR. Though Kellye was part of M*A*S*H from its inception, she wasn’t officially credited in to the second season when they began to develop her character.
3. She appeared in many films and TV shows. Outside M*A*S*H, Kellye boasted a number of credits on other productions. She appeared alongside Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd in 1985’s Clue — based on the popular board game — as well as in 1995’s Black Day Blue Night. She steadily appeared in guest spots throughout her career, including in Eddie Murphy‘s 1998 film Dr. Doolittle, a 1999 episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. Her final credit was in 2000 as a voice on animated series The Wild Thornberrys alongside Lacey Chabert, and once again, Tim Curry.
4. She was a mom. Kellye married David Wallet in 1968, and the pair share two children together Nalani Wallet and William Wallet. After tying the knot, the couple relocated from San Francisco to Los Angeles for Kellye’s acting career. She was also a proud grandmother to Max Wallet and Grayson Wallet.
5. She was an artist. Before pursuing a career in acting, Kellye was a professional artist who did stunning watercolor paintings. Early in her career, she sold her pieces through San Francisco’s Polk Gallery. She continued to paint throughout her life, with her master paintings on indefinite loan to Pasadena — where she called home. In 2008, she was invited to paint a Christmas Ornament to be displayed at the White House, later attending a dinner in Washington, D.C. with then-First Lady Laura Bush. She was an active member of the art community, serving as the mayor’s appointee on the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission for eight years.