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Old 04-28-2011, 05:55 PM   #1
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Confused Was It True That McLean Stevenson Was Jealous Of Alan Alda on M*A*S*H?!?

Stevenson originally auditioned to become Franklin Hawkeye Pierce, the eventual breakout star on M*A*S*H, but that role went to Alan Alda. Stevenson, instead, played Lt. Colonel Henry Blake, but soon grew jealous at the popularity of Hawkeye. So, after only three seasons, when the show was ranked #5 in the Nielsen ratings, he asked to leave, and the writers obliged by killing his character off (the plane he was on was attacked over the Sea of Japan), making sure he could never return.

Was any of this true or just another sitcom folklore???

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Old 04-28-2011, 08:50 PM   #2
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It's true that McLean Stevenson asked to leave the show. It's also true that producers were so upset with this request they decided to kill his character off so he couldn't come back at a later date if he changed his mind. (It also gave them the opportunity to depict one of the realities of war, not everyone makes it home)
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Old 04-29-2011, 04:02 PM   #3
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I liked MASH during the McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers years. As the years went Alan Alda was using the show for his personal platform. It got too preachy in your face. I cannot stand Alan Alda.
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Old 04-29-2011, 05:22 PM   #4
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I think if anyone was jealous of Alan Alda becoming the star of the show it was Wayne Rogers!
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvo301
I think if anyone was jealous of Alan Alda becoming the star of the show it was Wayne Rogers!
Lol, that maybe true, but he sure did a heck of a lot better than McLean did. I'm not sure if he left show business all together, but I do know that he went into investing and all that stuff and now is on Fox news.

McLean went on to do a few sitcoms, but none of them lasted very long. A shame really, he is actually a decent actor.
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Old 04-29-2011, 07:03 PM   #6
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I liked MASH during the McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers years. As the years went Alan Alda was using the show for his personal platform. It got too preachy in your face. I cannot stand Alan Alda.
i can stand him on mash but not much else i think he is an egotisical a;;s hwo got a lucky break on a well written show
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:52 PM   #7
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i can stand him on mash but not much else i think he is an egotisical a;;s hwo got a lucky break on a well written show
What's this opinion based on?

To answer Brian's question, I never heard that rumor. If it's true, it's too bad. Both Stevenson and Alda are/were talented actors and I always felt badly that Stevenson never got another hit show. He deserved one (though Hello, Larry wasn't nearly as bad as everyone says).
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:49 AM   #8
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I never heard that about McLean and AA, either.

But, from everything I've read about his leaving, they didn't do it to make sure he couldn't come back; they wanted to depict one of the sad realities of war-that anyone can be killed; even a nice guy like Henry Blake. And not everyone makes it home.
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:27 AM   #9
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I never heard that about McLean and AA, either.

But, from everything I've read about his leaving, they didn't do it to make sure he couldn't come back; they wanted to depict one of the sad realities of war-that anyone can be killed; even a nice guy like Henry Blake. And not everyone makes it home.
I read an interview with Larry Gelbart once and he said that they killed off Henry Blake to prevent McLean from changing his mind and coming back. He said at the same time it gave them the opportunity to depict one of the realities of war. Not everyone makes it home.
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:45 PM   #10
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I have never read or heard anything about Stevenson being up for the role of Hawkeye. The way I've always understood it is that the producers liked him and hired him to play Col. Blake.

Stevenson was too old to play Hawkeye, anyway, so I doubt he was ever considered for Alan Alda's part.
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Old 05-31-2019, 08:00 PM   #11
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I read an interview with Larry Gelbart once and he said that they killed off Henry Blake to prevent McLean from changing his mind and coming back. He said at the same time it gave them the opportunity to depict one of the realities of war. Not everyone makes it home.
This is the story I've always heard as well. I will add that Stevenson did not have any problems with Alan Alda. He left the show over the miserable conditions during filming. The long hot days and the lack of toilet paper were two of his legit complaints. He later publicly regretted his desicion to leave the show.
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:02 PM   #12
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This is the story I've always heard as well. I will add that Stevenson did not have any problems with Alan Alda. He left the show over the miserable conditions during filming. The long hot days and the lack of toilet paper were two of his legit complaints. He later publicly regretted his desicion to leave the show.
So did Wayne Rogers. He had said that if he'd known the show would do episodes focused on the other charactrs, he would have stayed. I wish he had.
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:34 PM   #13
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Wayne also did several interviews where he voiced his frustration over his character. Wayne liked Alan Alda, they were legit friends. Wayne was not jealous of him, but he was frustrated that the Trapper character was not given equal billing with the Hawkeye character. According to Wayne, the two characters were supposed to be more equal. Eventually, it was very clear Hawkeye was the top character.
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