MASH Spin-Off “Trapper John, M.D.” Actor Dead At 84

NY Post

I don’t know how many of you out there can relate, but I know that in my household, the hit TV series MASH was a really big deal. Every Friday night we would order pizza and either rent a movie from Blockbuster (yes, I’m THAT old) or we would watch old MASH re-runs.

Even though this show about army doctors in the Korean war actually ran longer than the Korean war itself, viewers still wanted more. So they made a spin-off show, based around my personal favorite side-character, Trapper John.

Arguably the best side-character in this spin-off was Dr. Stanley Riverside II, played by esteemed actor Charles Siebert. Even though that’s what I know him best from, and this was maybe his most major role, as he appeared in all 151 episodes, he had a long illustrious career that covered all manner of genres and roles.

During his career, he appeared as a guest or a recurring character on many shows, including “All in the Family, the spin-off “Maude”, “One Day at a Time,” “Kojak,” “Police Woman,” “The Rockford Files,” “The Incredible Hulk” and “Murder, She Wrote.” 

Even if you’ve never personally watched any of the above shows, they are all big enough now or big enough in their time that it’s pretty likely you’ve at least heard of some of them.

In addition to all of those many shows, Siebert also appeared in a number of feature films, and was generally just a pretty prolific actor all around.

Because of his overwhelming presence in Hollywood, there is no doubt in my mind that there are many groups of people who will be mourning the loss of this incredible actor, another person among the many claimed by COVID-related illnesses. 

Craig A. Miller, former artistic director of the 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa had this to say about Charles Siebert– 

“Charlie was never one to over-compliment, or gush, or flatter,”  “…He was serious about his craft; he worked hard, and he expected everyone around him to do the same. He lifted us all to a new level of theatricality and magic. As an actor, he didn’t want the praise — he wanted the damn notes.”

I can think of no better compliment than to say that someone elevated everyone to a higher level of theatre and magic. That’s just beautiful.

Had you heard of this actor before? Are there any actors that you feel the same way about?

[Image credit: YouTube]