|Born||October 20, 1932
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||December 31, 2016 (aged 84)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
William Christopher (October 20, 1932 – December 31, 2016) was an American actor, 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 member of the Sigma Chi fraternity while in college.
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 City stage for Hollywood to attempt to gain work in television, where he guest-starred in several well-known series, including The Andy Griffith 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 made several guest appearances 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. 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 M*A*S*H. Farr and Christopher also had bit parts (co-pilot and radio operator respectively) in the military comedy movie, No Time for Sergeants.
Christopher has appeared on various series, including Murder, She Wrote and Hogan’s Heroes (Season 3 Episode 21). In 1998, Christopher guest-starred in an episode of Mad About You. Christopher also remained active in the theater, including a tour of the U.S. in the mid-90s with Jamie Farr doing Neil Simon‘s The Odd Couple on stage. In 2008-09, he toured with Church Basement Ladies.
Christopher, whose son, Ned, has autism, devoted 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.