84 (passed away Dec. 31st, 2016)
Oct. 20th, 1932
Evanston, Illinois, USA
William Christopher's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
William Christopher was an American actor who is best known for playing Father Mulcahy on the television series M*A*S*H and Private Lester Hummel on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Christopher attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, and graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, with a B.A. in drama. He also participated in fencing, soccer, and the glee club. He was initiated as a a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity while in college. He met his future wife on a blind date, with whom he would eventually have two sons, John and Ned.
Christopher appeared in a variety of regional productions, and eventually a number of Off-Broadway productions, such as The Hostage at One Sheridan Square. His Broadway debut came in Beyond the Fringe, a British revue.
Christopher left the New York stage for Hollywood to attempt to gain work in television, where he guest-starred in several well-known series, including: The Andy Griffith Show (he portrayed a new, young doctor scheduling Opie Taylor for a tonsillectomy) and also as an IRS agent who came to collect taxes due from Aunt Bee (who had won some prizes on a TV show), Death Valley Days, The Patty Duke Show , The Men from Shiloh and Good Times (he portrayed the military doctor examining J. J. Evans). Christopher had recurring roles on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., That Girl and Hogan's Heroes. He also made a guest appearance on The Love Boat. In 1972, Christopher landed the role of Father Mulcahy in the television series M* A* S* H, when the actor who originated the role, George Morgan, was replaced after just one appearance in the pilot episode.
Immediately following M*A*S*H, Christopher continued the role for the two seasons of the short-lived spin-off, AfterMASH.
In feature films, Christopher performed in The Fortune Cookie, The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell, The Shakiest Gun in the West, With Six You Get Eggroll, and Hearts of the West. He won parts in such telefilms as The Movie Maker, The Perils of Pauline, and For the Love of It. The Doris Day film With Six You Get Eggroll is notable for fans of M*A*S*H as Jamie Farr appears along with Christopher five years before the show, both playing hippies. The film also features Herb Voland, who played General Clayton in seven episodes of the first two seasons of M*A*S*H. Farr and Christopher also had bit parts (co-pilot and radio operator respectively) in the 1958 Andy Griffith movie, No Time For Sergeants.
Christopher has appeared on various series, including Murder, She Wrote. In 1998, Christopher guest-starred in an episode of Mad About You. Christopher has also remained active in the theater, including a tour of the U.S. in the mid-1990s with Jamie Farr doing Neil Simon's The Odd Couple on stage. He appeared with Jamie Farr and Loretta Swit in an episode of Diagnosis: Murder and Lois & Clark.
Christopher was seen in 2008–2009 across the U.S. on stage in productions of Church Basement Ladies. In the fall of 2009, he was on tour with the show.
Christopher, whose son, Ned, is autistic, devotes much of his spare time to the National Autistic Society, doing public service announcements to bring attention to autism. In 1985, he and his wife Barbara wrote Mixed Blessings, a book about their experiences raising Ned.
- Longtime student of Homeric (classical) Greek.
- Member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity
- Although best known for playing the Catholic Priest, Father Francis Mulcahy, on "M*A*S*H", he is actually a Methodist. He didn't appear in the pilot show.
- Father of two sons: John and Ned.
- His son Ned is autistic.
- Admitted that although his character on MASH was a amateur boxer, he had no knowledge nor had ever boxed before production of the show.
- Attended New Trier Township High School as did 'Adam Baldwin' (qv), 'Bruce Dern' (qv), 'Charlton Heston' (qv), 'Virginia Madsen' (qv), 'Ralph Bellamy' (qv), 'Rock Hudson' (qv), and 'Ann-Margret' (qv).
- When auditioning for his "M*A*S*H" role, Christopher essentially ignored the monologue prepared for him, and instead ad-libbed a rambling speech in a priestly tone. While the producers were disappointed that Christopher didn't deliver his prepared lines, they liked his performance and manner well enough to offer him the role - on the condition that from then on, he would stay with the script.
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