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William Christopher (1932 - 2016)

Getty / CBS Photo Archives

William Christopher (1932 - 2016)

William Christopher, the actor who played the ever-patient Father Mulcahy on the hit television series "M*A*S*H," died Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, at his home in Pasadena, California, according to multiple news sources. He was 84.

Christopher, who also played Private Lester Hummel alongside Jim Nabors on the military TV series "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.", died of cancer.


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The actor, who was born Oct. 20, 1932, in Evanston, Illinois, attended the prestigious New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, before graduating with a bachelor's degree in drama from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

After college, he appeared in regional plays and later had roles in off-Broadway plays. He moved to California and pursued guest-star roles on television series including "The Andy Griffith Show," "Death Valley Days," "The Patty Duke Show," and "Good Times."

Christopher had recurring roles not only on "Gomer Pyle," but also "That Girl" and "Hogan's Heroes." But in 1972, he succeeded another actor in playing the Rev. Francis John Patrick Mulcahy on "M*A*S*H." That became his best-known role.

After "M*A*S*H" went off the air in 1983, Christopher played Father Mulcahy on the two-season "M*A*S*H" spinoff, "AfterMASH." Christopher also had several film credits including "The Fortune Cookie," "The Shakiest Gun in the West," and "With Six You Get Eggroll."

Christopher's wife, Barbara, survives him as do two sons, Ned and John.

The actor appeared in public service announcements on behalf of the National Autistic Society. Ned Christopher has autism. In 1985, William and Barbara Christopher wrote a book, "Mixed Blessings," chronicling their life rearing a child with autism.

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