McLean Stevenson was an American actor and comedian best known for his role as Lt. Colonel Henry Blake on the hit television series MASH. Born on November 14, 1927, in Normal, Illinois, Stevenson began his entertainment career as a writer and performer in radio programs during the 1950s.
However, it was his work on television that ultimately made him a household name. After a brief stint as a writer for The Tonight Show in the early 1960s, Stevenson began appearing in small roles on various television shows.
In 1970, he landed his breakthrough role on the series The Doris Day Show, where he played the character of Michael Nicholson. The show ran for five seasons, and Stevenson’s performance was widely praised by both critics and audiences.
However, it was his role as Lt. Colonel Henry Blake on MASH that cemented Stevenson’s place in television history. The show premiered in 1972 and quickly became a cultural phenomenon.
Stevenson’s character was the commanding officer of the medical unit portrayed in the series, and he brought a sense of humor and lightheartedness to the often-grim subject matter. Stevenson’s performance on the show was so well-received that he earned an Emmy nomination in 1974 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
McLean Stevenson left MASH
Despite the success of MASH, Mclean Stevenson left the show after three seasons due to creative differences with the producers. He went on to star in his own short-lived series, The McLean Stevenson Show, as well as guest-star in numerous other television shows. However, none of these projects achieved the same level of success as MASH.
Stevenson’s personal life was also marked by tragedy. He was married three times and had two children, but he struggled with alcoholism throughout his life. In 1990, he passed away at the age of 66 due to a heart attack.
While Stevenson’s career was relatively brief, his impact on television cannot be overstated. His portrayal of Lt. Colonel Henry Blake on MASH remains one of the most beloved characters in the history of television, and his contributions to the medium as a whole will not be forgotten. Despite his personal struggles, Stevenson’s talent and wit continue to be celebrated by fans of MASH and television in general.
McLean Stevenson on leaving MASH
McLean Stevenson played the role of Lt. Colonel Henry Blake on the popular television series MASH from 1972 to 1975. However, in the season 3 finale titled “Abyssinia, Henry,” McLean’s character was killed off in a shocking plot twist.
The decision to write off Henry Blake was a creative one made by the show’s producers and writers, but it was Stevenson’s decision to leave the show. According to various reports and interviews with Stevenson, the actor had grown unhappy with his role on the show and had expressed his desire to leave.
In an interview with TV Guide, Stevenson stated that he wanted to “spread his wings” and pursue other projects, as he felt he was being typecast in the role of Henry Blake. He also reportedly had disagreements with the show’s producers over the direction of the character.
Stevenson’s departure from MASH was a significant loss for the show, as his character had become a fan favorite. However, the decision to kill off Henry Blake in such a dramatic and unexpected way has since become one of the most iconic moments in television history.
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After leaving MASH
After leaving MASH, Stevenson starred in his own sitcom, The McLean Stevenson Show, which aired from 1976 to 1977. The show, however, was not successful, and Stevenson continued to struggle to find work. He later guest-starred on various television shows and made occasional film appearances, but he never achieved the same level of success that he had on MASH.
In the end, McLean Stevenson’s decision to leave MASH was a combination of creative differences and a desire to pursue other opportunities. While it may have been a difficult decision, it ultimately led to one of the most memorable moments in television history and cemented his legacy as a talented actor.
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