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Sally Kellerman was Hot Lips Houlihan on M*A*S*H — Here are 5 other roles you may not have known about

Sally Kellerman at the Suffragette premiere at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills in 2015.
Actress Sally Kellerman passed away the other day at age 84 from complications of dementia. Let’s look back on her 60-year career. Pic credit: ©ImageCollect/S_bukley

Legendary actress Sally Kellerman sadly passed away on Thursday at an assisted care facility in California. She was 84 years old.

The actress’s son, Jack Krane, told The Hollywood Reporter that his mother died from complications from dementia.

Sally, of course, was famously known for her role as United States Army Major Margaret Houlihan (known as “Hot Lips”) in the 1970 film M*A*S*H, which earned her both an Oscar and a Golden Globe nod.

But the actress was in a lot of great shows and movies throughout her lengthy career, including the classic TV shows such as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Star Trek, That Girl, and Bonanza.

Sally made her acting debut in 1957 in the film Reform School Girl

Sally Kellerman started her acting career in 1957 in the crime film Reform School Girl, directed by Edward Bernds. In the film, a young man steals a car and is involved in a hit-and-run fatality. He threatens the only witness, Donna Price, a teenage girl played by Gloria Castillo. When she refuses to testify, she is sent to a reform school. Sally plays the supporting role of Marcia, one of the other girls at the school.

She followed this up for the next few years with smaller roles in television and movies before breaking out in the mid-1960s with The Outer Limits, Star Trek, My Three Sons, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

Sally had a cult-comedy hit in 1986 in the Rodney Dangerfield college comedy Back to School. She played love interest and college professor Dr. Diane Turner. In the film, Dangerfield plays the part of Thornton Melon, a wealthy businessman, who enrolls at Grand Lakes University to help his son and encourage him to stay and complete his degree. The cult classic also showcased a young Robert Downey Jr., who played Derek Lutz, a fellow student on the swim team.

Television viewers may also recognize Kellerman’s voice, lending her vocal talents to voice-over work for such brands as Clairol, Hidden Valley Ranch, Volvo, and Woolite, among others. She became one of the most sought-after voice talents in the 1980s.

Toward the end of her life, Kellerman had a recurring role in the soap opera The Young and the Restless from 2014 to 2015. In her 10 episodes, she played the role of Constance Bingham, an elderly wheelchair-bound grandmother caring for a man she believed to be her grandson Gabriel. In true soap-opera fashion, Gabriel is actually the presumed-deceased Adam Newman, who stole Gabriel’s identity after he died in a car explosion. Her performance earned her a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2014.

Sally’s last role will be the upcoming film Underwater Upside Down, a comedy about two brothers from Malibu who have recklessly spent their inheritance and have just one week left to fix their money troubles. The film is currently in post-production and should be released in the near future.

Sally Kellerman died from complications from dementia

Sally’s son, Jack Krane, 32, told The Hollywood Reporter that his mother died on Thursday as a result of complications from dementia.

According to TMZ, the actress was diagnosed with the disease around 2017, and her health had declined over the years. Her son told TMZ that he said his final goodbyes on Wednesday night.

Sally isn’t the only M*A*S*H actor to pass away from dementia. In April 2020, actor and former football player Timothy Brown died from complications from dementia at age 82. He had played Corporal Judson in the film, and he also starred in the first season of the CBS TV show M*A*S*H (which ran from 1972 to 1983) as Captain Oliver Harmon “Spearchucker” Jones.

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