M*A*S*H star William Christopher dies aged 84

He played priest Father Mulcahy in the US comedy from 1972 to 1983

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William Christopher, who played the priest Father Mulcahy in the TV series M*A*S*H, has died at 84.

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The actor, who had been suffering from cancer, was at home in Pasadena California with his wife Barbara when he passed peacefully and without pain, his agent Robert Malcolm told CNN.

He appeared in all 11 seasons of M*A*S*H, a hugely popular comedy about the life of a US medical unit during the 1950-53 Korean War.

The show ran from 1972-1983, with its final episode drawing 106 million viewers, a record at the time.

Christopher played the camp chaplain in M*A*S*H, a kind-hearted man who helped medical staff and patients during the chaos of the war. When the series ended, he briefly appeared in a spin-off, After M*A*S*H.

Christopher’s co-stars on the show have paid tribute to him.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, fellow M*A*S*H star Loretta Swit, who played Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan, said: “Our Dear Bill and his goodness are a great argument for there being a heaven. I never heard him complain or lose his temper. Everyone adored him. A great sense of humor and a great humanitarian. He became TV’s quintessential padre as Father Mulcahy on M.A.S.H. It was the most perfect casting ever known. He was probably responsible for more people coming back to the church.

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“If God is nigh, then surely he or she will welcome Bill with open arms.”