‘M*A*S*H’: Legendary Hollywood Actress Guest Starred Before Breakout Roles

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Long before she produced My Big Fat Greek Wedding or starred in Volunteers, Rita Wilson played a nurse in M*A*S*H.

And Wilson, who was 25 when she first appeared on M*A*S*H, even turned down Hawkeye for a date. We all know that Hawkeye (Alan Alda) thought of himself as a dashing ladies man, so rejection had to hurt, even if it was a funny scene on M*A*S*H.

Wilson portrayed Nurse Lacey on two episodes of M*A*S*H. The one in which she turned down Hawkeye was called Blood and Guts. It ran during season 10. Lacey blew off Hawkeye to go out with Clayton Kibbee, an older war correspondent.

(Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images for Fashion Media)

Horrors: In Her M*A*S*H Scene, Wilson Broke a Date with Hawkeye

Here’s some of the M*A*S*H dialogue between Wilson and Alda:

Hawkeye: “Ah, Lieutenant Lacey! No doubt curious about tonight. I got it all planned. We’ll meet at the Motor Pool at 8:00 and drive each other crazy.”

Lacey tries to let him down gently. “Hawkeye, I’m afraid I can’t make it.”

Hawkeye: Can’t make it? No! Lacey tells Hawkeye she’d like a rain check. Then Hawkeye gives her the age-old line. After all, M*A*S*H is set in the 1950s.

“Your lips tell me No-No, but there’s Please, Please in my eyes,” Hawkeye says.

Then Lacey explains that she’s going out with Clay. They’re having a drink together. That prompts Hawkeye to snap “a drink of what, prune juice?”

“Hawkeye, I figured you’d understand,” Lacey tells him. “I can go out with you anytime. Clay is only gonna be here for a few days and he is so charming. And he’s known so many famous people.

Hawkeye doesn’t take it well, giving us some clever and brainy, M*A*S*H put-downs “Oh, I know… like Grover Cleveland, Voltaire, Pocahontas.” He adds “Marco Polo, Galileo, Rasputin.”

Wilson also appeared in the M*A*S*H episode Hey Look Me Over. It served as the premiere for season 11. And it ran the day before Wilson’s 26th birthday. Six years later, Wilson married Tom Hanks. The two became one of the biggest power couples in Hollywood.

Loretta Swit Made Sure Show Represented Nurses the Right Way

And speaking of nurses, on M*A*S*H they played a significant role in both the comedy and drama. Fans can thank Loretta Swit, who played Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan, for that. She made sure that nurses were represented in a strong way.

“The thing about Margaret was that she was living in the ‘50s,” Swit told Fox News in 2017. I don’t think ‘feminist’ was even coined yet,” Swit said. “I think she existed before any kind of major movement took over… (And) I think that’s what made her so spectacular.

“The character was ambitious,” said the M*A*S*H star. “She’s very strong, very passionate… She had a passion for life and saving life. [But] she had a lot to prove. Her mother was a nurse and her father was a general. And he always wanted a boy.”

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