Kellye Nakahara, the actress best known for her role as Lieutenant Nurse Kellye Yamato on CBS’s M*A*S*H, has died at the age of 72 after a brief battle with cancer, according to her family.
She died peacefully on Sunday surrounded by loved ones at her family home in Pasadena, a family member told TMZ.
Her family shared the sad news of her death on the Kellye Wallet Studio Facebook page today. The announcement was accompanied by a photo that showed Kellye with her husband David and daughter Lani.
“Yesterday we lost one of the most beautiful souls on earth. We will miss you so much Kellye!”
This breaks my heart but it looks like we lost Kellye Nakahara yesterday, this was posted on her company Facebook Page. pic.twitter.com/EFhXS4YASG
— MASH 4077 Podcast (@MASH4077Podcast) February 17, 2020
Kellye Nakahara death: Twitter reacts
Following the news of Nahakara’s death, fans have been paying tribute on social media with a variety of posts remembering the M*A*S*H star.
I was a plump teen. Growing up, watching reruns of MASH, Kellye Nakahara was one of the few not size 6 or below on TV. It made me love her. That she was a good actress only made it better. Thank you, Kellye. RIP. https://t.co/NfGohcFiVM
— WriterIowa (@writeriowa) February 17, 2020
— Treky64 (@treky64) February 17, 2020
Loved the episode mentioned in this appreciation where she called out Hawkeye for not really seeing her. RIP Kellye Nakahara
Sent from my iPhone https://t.co/ueYbN5qkpM
— Julie Hinds (@juliehinds) February 17, 2020
RIP Kellye Nakahara.
Quite rightly remembered as Lt. Nurse across M*A*S*H series.
But if you love CLUE like me, then yep she was the Cook!
Thanks to her we all found the secret passage from the kitchen to the study.
(Killed by 2 different characters depending on which ending) pic.twitter.com/ygc63RA8we
— Rhett Bartlett (@dialmformovies) February 17, 2020
Nakahara’s death comes a little less than two weeks after Gene Reynolds, the TV producer who created M*A*S*H with Larry Gelbart, died of heart failure in Burbank, California, at the age of 96.
Who was Kellye Nakahara?
Kellye Nakahara was born on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, in 1950. She was of mixed Asian and Hawaiian heritage.
Nakahara attended and graduated from Kalani High School in Honolulu, Hawaii.
She moved to San Francisco as a young woman to pursue a career in art, but she later moved to Los Angeles to start a career in acting.
Nakahara was best known for playing Lieutenant Nurse Kellye Yamato (1973-1983) in the acclaimed TV show M*A*S*H, a war comedy-drama series that aired on CBS from 1972 to 1983. The show followed a team of medics at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in South Korea, during the Korean War in the 1950s.
To date, M*A*S*H is one of the highest-rated TV shows in U.S. television history.
She played roles in movies, such as Clue (1985), She’s Having a Baby (1988), Doctor Dolittle (1998), and Black Day Blue Night (1995).
She was also a skilled artist and created high-quality paintings with watercolors. She supported the non-profit Ronald McDonald House Charities that focus on programs to improve the well-being of young children.
She lived in Pasadena and was an arts commissioner for the city. She was involved with several arts and performance groups such as the East West Players, an Asian American theater group in Los Angeles. She was also involved with Town Singers, a vocal group, and the Pasadena Cherry Blossom Festival.
Nakahara married David Wallett in 1968. They had two children, a daughter named Nalani and a son William. The also had grandchildren.