Kellye Nakahara Wallett passed away from cancer in her California home at the age of 72 years old. The talented actor was best known for her role as Lieutenant Kellye Yamato on the television show “MASH,” which ran from 1972-1983 on CBS.
Her son shared the tragic news of her passing with the Associated Press, revealing that she died this past Sunday, Feb. 16, after a short battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband of 40 years, two children and four grandchildren.
Her death was also announced via her Facebook page at Kellye Wallett Studio. Pictured with her are her husband, David Wallett, and daughter Nalani Coleman.
Here are four facts you may not know about the “MASH” star:
1. She Was An Accomplished Artist
Along with her acting talent, Wallett was a gifted artist. She was also a dedicated philanthropist — along with her time and energy, she often donated her watercolors to children at the Ronald McDonald Houses. You can view some of her work online.
2. She Played Several Characters On “MASH”
While Wallett was best known for her role as Nurse Kellye, she actually played other nurses as well (Nurse Able, Lieutenant Baker and Lieutenant Charlie). This is because during the early seasons of “M*A*S*H,” all of the nurses (save Hot Lips, of course!) were named Able, Baker or Charlie after the phonetic military alphabet used by ham radio operators. But, in later seasons, Wallett became a semi-regular and her character was given the same name as her; outside the main cast, she is the actor with the most appearances in the show (more than 160 episodes).
3. She Had Impeccable Comedic Timing
Along with going toe-to-toe with “MASH” funny men like Alan Alda, Wallett’s career proved she was no slouch at comedy. Wallett had a key role in the cult comedy classic “Clue” in which she played Mrs. Ho, the cook, and she also had a small role as a dog owner in the 1998 comedy “Doctor Dolittle.”
Her other comedy credits include turns on the satire “Amazon Women on the Moon,” “Growing Pains,” “She’s Having A Baby,” and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.” She also acted in dramas such as “Crisis Center and “NYPD Blue.”
4. Her “MASH” Costars Loved Her
Upon hearing the news of her passing, “MASH” costars like Alan Alda and Loretta Swit shared their grief and remembered Wallett fondly.
“She radiated sparkle and goodness and joy,” Swit said to Fox News. “The light that her presence brought will be deeply and forever missed.”
Alda memorialized her in a Twitter post, calling her “adorable.”
Kelley Nakahara was a beautiful person and natural actor. She began in the background and eventually played the lead in an episode I wrote for her.She was adorable. Funnier and warmer and kinder than most of the rest of us are. Kelley was a treasure.https://t.co/0KhewRj56z
— Alan Alda (@alanalda) February 19, 2020
Our sympathy goes out to her family and friends. She will be missed.