Kellye Nakahara, who played Nurse Kellye on the long-running TV show “M*A*S*H,” died at age 72, according to a family member.
She died following a short battle with cancer, and her family was there when she passed away in Pasadena, California, the family member told TMZ. A Facebook page belonging to her company, Kellye Wallett Studio, also confirmed her death.
“Yesterday we lost one of the most beautiful souls on earth. We will miss you so much Kellye,” the page said.
Nakahara portrayed Nurse Kellye Yamato for 167 episodes on the popular show, which is still in syndication. She also appeared in “Hunter,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” “Clue,” “Doctor Dolittle,” “Black Day Blue Night,” and “At Ease,” according to her IMDB page. After acting, she became a watercolor painter and opened a studio.
Her website noted that she is “best known in her role as ‘Nurse Kellye'” but her “first love is as a painter.” It added, “Many of her paintings are on loan to the City of Pasadena and are on the walls of City Hall.”
The TMZ report said she leaves behind her husband, two children, and two grandchildren. She married husband David Wallett in 1968.
“What she was to me was a genuine person who wasn’t being looked at in the same way as the glamorous girls that were coming through the compound,” Nakahara said of her character years later, according to NPR. “And when she just stood up to Hawkeye and told him off, she made it clear that there’s so much more to me than you think there is.”
On social media, tributes poured in.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of the TV series MASH. Another cast member has passed on. RIP Kellye Nakahara,” one person said on Twitter.
“Condolences to the family. Her compassion for everyone was seen through the TV screen and her paintings,” another person wrote on her Facebook page.