Veteran actress Kellye Nakahara, perhaps best known for her role as Lieutenant Nurse Kellye on the classic comedy series MASH, has sadly passed away. According to a family member, Nakahara had been battling cancer when she died peacefully in her home in Pasadena, California on Sunday while surrounded by family members. She was 72 years old.
A native of O'ahu, Hawaii, Nakahara was born in 1947. An artist at heart, the future television star made the trek from Hawaii to San Francisco as a young woman in pursuit of a career as an artist. There, she met and married David Wallett, with whom she'd later have two children. Following their union, Nakahara would relocate to Los Angeles when she decided to try her hand at acting. By the early '70s, Nakahara had managed to snag some on-screen TV work early on, appearing in classic shows like Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Little House on the Prairie. Of course, her big break in television would come very early on in her acting career as well.
In 1973, Nakahara began appearing on M*A*S*H as Nurse Kellye. She would remain on the long-running series until its finale aired a decade later in 1983. Along with several other cast members, Nakahara also had a run as an IBM spokesperson as a result of her work on the show. After her time on the series, Nakahara would keep herself busy in subsequent years with other television roles as well. This includes stints on the television shows At Ease, Otherworld, and Growing Pains. After following up with roles on NYPD Blue and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which just had a cast and crew reunion, Nakahara would close out her acting career with a voice role on the animated Nickelodeon series The Wild Thornberrys.
Nakahara has appeared on the big screen at various points during her acting career as well. She played the cook Mrs. Ho in the 1985 movie Clue alongside Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, and Eileen Brennan. Nakahara would also play nurse roles in the movies 3 Ninjas Kick Back and the John Hughes romantic comedy She's Having a Baby. Additionally, Nakahara appeared in more serious roles in the 1991 crime drama Shattered and the 1995 thriller Black Day Blue Night. In 1998, she would appear on the big screen one last time with her role in the Eddie Murphy family comedy Dr. Dolittle.
After winding down her acting career, Nakahara returned to her first love, working once again as an artist. Focusing primarily on working with watercolors, Nakahara often painted and exhibited artwork using her married name - Kellye Wallett. She particularly enjoyed painting Christmas ornaments and even managed to hang one of her pieces in the White House. Nakahara was also said to be a staunch supporter of the Ronald McDonald House charity along with her husband.
At this difficult time, we send our well wishes and condolences to Nakahara's family and friends. Through her work as a painter and as a television star, the veteran actress and artist has ensured she will never be forgotten. May she rest in peace. This news comes to us from TMZ.