68 (passed away Feb. 15th, 1996)
Nov. 14th, 1927
Normal, Illinois, USA
6' 2 1/2"
McLean Stevenson's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1978 - The Cat from Outer Space
Guest TV Roles
Dr. Norman Link
Dr. Theodore 'Ted' Zbornak
Lt. Miller (segment "Love and the Penal Code")
McLean Stevenson began in show business at age 31. During the 1960s, he worked in night clubs and comedy cabarets, did summer stock theater and some television before moving to Hollywood, where he worked as a comedy writer for Tom Smothers. He eventually began acting in sketches. Mr. Stevenson is best known as the fumbling commanding officer, Lt. Colonel Henry Blake, on the CBS television series "M*A*S*H" (1972). Over a period of thirty years, he also appeared on a number of television series and was a regular guest star on Johnny Carson (I)'s "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962) and the game show _"Hollywood Squares, The" (1966)_.
- Interred at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills), Hollywood, California, USA, in the Columbarium of Valor.
- After the news of Col. Blake's death on _"M*A*S*H" (1972)_ (qv) (He left at the end of the third season) shocked the world, the very next night on "The Carol Burnett Show" (1967), the opening shot was of Henry Blake in a smoking raft, waving his arms, hollering, "I'm OK! I'm OK!".
- Grandfather was Vice-President Adlai E. Stevenson, who served under President 'Grover Cleveland (I)' (qv) from 1893 to 1897.
- Spoke often at youth groups and organizations, promoting the acting field.
- To research for his role as an army surgeon on _"M*A*S*H" (1972)_ (qv), McLean Stevenson thoroughly studied a book on the history of medicine loaned from 'Alan Alda' (qv). Months later, that knowledge proved extremely useful when he came upon a person who was critically wounded in a car accident. Drawing on his research, he was able to keep the person alive until help arrived.
- One legacy of Stevenson is a word coined from his first name. "McLeaning" is a term used in media, especially television, to refer to cases when a character is killed off because the actor who played him decided to leave the show, as happened to Henry Blake when McLean Stevenson left M*A*S*H.
- The unexpected death of Stevenson's Henry Blake character from M*A*S*H's at the end of the third season (1975) caused such a strong fan backlash, with countless letters of hate mail being received over the character's death, that the show's writers and producers all agreed that in the future, should one of their actors wish to leave, they would never give that actor's character a tragic send off.
- Served in the Navy.