Oscar-Nominated ‘M*A*S*H’ Star Sally Kellerman Dies From Heart Failure

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
February 25, 2022Entertainmentshare
Oscar-Nominated ‘M*A*S*H’ Star Sally Kellerman Dies From Heart Failure
Sally Kellerman promotes "Read My Lips: Stories Of A Hollywood Life" at Barnes & Noble, 86th & Lexington in New York City, on May 2, 2013. (Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)

Sally Kellerman, an actress known for playing U.S. Army Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in director Robert Altman’s 1970 film “M*A*S*H,” died on Thursday. She was 84.

The Oscar and Emmy nominated actor died of heart failure at her home in the Woodlands Hills section of Los Angeles, her manager and publicist Alan Eichler said.

In addition to her work in “M*A*S*H,” she also guest-starred in a number of TV series, including “Star Trek.” She also made appearances in “The Twilight Zone” and the American anthology series “The Outer Limits.”

One of her last roles was in the fourth season of the web series “Decker”—where she played a parody of former First Lady Hillary Clinton. The veteran award-winning actress had a career of more than 60 years in film and television.

Kellerman’s appearance as Dr. Elizabeth Dehner in the second pilot of the original “Star Trek” series: “Where No Man Has Gone Before” produced in 1965 won the actress her cult status among fans. But for many fans, she will always be best remembered as Houlihan, a straitlaced, by-the-book Army nurse who is tormented by rowdy doctors during the Korean War in the army comedy “M*A*S*H.”

NTD Photo
Actress Sally Kellerman of the Slamdance film “Open House” poses for portraits during the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 21, 2004. (Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

Born in 1937 in Long Beach, California—Kellerman attended Hollywood High School after moving to Los Angeles as a child. In high school, she signed her first contract at the age of 18 with “Verve Records,” though she walked away from the jazz label after becoming discouraged by the task of becoming a recording artist.

Instead, Kellerman opted to pursue acting and didn’t put out any music until 1972, when she released the album “Roll With the Feeling.”

While attending Los Angeles City College, Kellerman enrolled in acting and took classes with Jeff Corey, a respected character actor who had film roles in movies such as “Superman and the Mole Men.” Within just one year, Kellerman appeared in a stage production of John Osborne’s “Look Back in Anger”—featuring several of her classmates and future stars, Shirley Knight, Jack Nicholson, Dean Stockwell, and Robert Blake.

During the next decades, she appeared in a number of popular TV series including the western “Cheyenne.” In 2014, she was nominated for an Emmy for her recurring role on “The Young and the Restless.”

The actress-singer was married to movie producer Jonathan D. Krane from 1980 until his death in 2016.

She is survived by her son Jack and daughter Claire.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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