McLean Stevenson

Actor, TV writer, Athletic coach
Affable comedic actor McLean Stevenson was most widely known for his portrayal of Col. Henry Blake on the wartime ensemble dramedy "M*A*S*H" (CBS, 1972-1983), a ground-breaking show he left in order to pursue a series ... Read more »
Born: 11/14/1927 in Bloomington, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Actor (32)

Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

The 1993 Crosby Clambake 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Memories of M*A*S*H 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

The 1992 Crosby Clambake 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

The 1991 Crosby Clambake 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Dirty Dancing 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Surviving a Heart Attack 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Davy Crockett 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

America 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Condo 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

The Astronauts 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

Hello, Larry 1978 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

The Way They Were 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

Battle of the Network Stars V 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

In the Beginning 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

The Cat From Outer Space 1978 (Movie)

Dr Carl Link (Actor)

Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

The McLean Stevenson Show 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

Hi, I'm Glen Campbell 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

The McLean Stevenson Show 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

The Flip Wilson Special 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Actor

Dinah in Search of the Ideal Man 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

Win, Place or Steal 1974 (Movie)

Mr Hammond (Actor)

M*A*S*H 1972 - 1973 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Doris Day Show 1968 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

My Wives Jane 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

The Tim Conway Comedy Hour 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

The Christian Licorice Store 1970 (Movie)

Smallwood (Actor)

Class Cruise (TV Show)

Actor

Shirts/Skins (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Affable comedic actor McLean Stevenson was most widely known for his portrayal of Col. Henry Blake on the wartime ensemble dramedy "M*A*S*H" (CBS, 1972-1983), a ground-breaking show he left in order to pursue a series of his own. After receiving his start on the stages of New York and as a writer for such shows as "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" (CBS, 1967-69), he landed his first regular cast role with a spot on the series "The Doris Day Show" (CBS, 1968-1973). After two seasons on that show, and with his professional stock on the rise, Stevenson chose to abandon his role on "Doris Day" for the groundbreaking series "M*A*S*H" in 1972. Although his endearingly goofy portrayal of Blake earned him accolades and scores of TV fans, the actor soon began to chafe under the increasingly large shadow of the series' primary star, Alan Alda. Stevenson left "M*A*S*H" in 1973 in order to receive top billing on "The McLean Stevenson Show" (NBC, 1976-77). It would be only the first of several failed attempts by the actor to headline a series. Stevenson's late-career work consisted largely of guest turns on sitcoms and appearances on a number of game shows, prior to his passing in 1996. Although he later admitted that leaving "M*A*S*H" had been a mistake, Stevenson never lost sight of the fact that he had secured himself a place in the pantheon of all-time great TV characters with his pitch-perfect embodiment of Col. Henry Blake.

Relationships

Father

Jeffrey MacGregor

Son
survived him

Ginny Stevenson

Wife
survived him

Lindsey Stevenson

Daughter
survived him

Adlai Stevenson

Grandfather

Adlai Stevenson

Cousin

Ann Whitney

Sister
survived him

EDUCATION

studied acting with Sanford Meisner and Lee Strasberg

Northwestern University

Evanston , Illinois

American Musical and Dramatic Academy

New York , New York
attended on scholarship

Milestones

1994

Final TV appearance, "Armistead Maupin's 'Tales of the City'"

1978

Starred as a priest in the short-lived CBS sitcom "In the Beginning"

1978

Final film appearance, "The Cat From Outer Space"

1975

Left "M*A*S*H" to pursue other opportunities; character of Henry Blake killed in plane crash

1973

Began making regualr appearances on "The Tonight Show" (NBC); eventually became a frequent guest host substituting for Johnny Carson 58 times

1970

Feature film debut, "The Christian Licorice Store"

1970

TV-movie debut as a minister in "Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones" (ABC)

1969

Appeared regularly on the short-lived "The Tim Conway Comedy Hour" (CBS)

1968

Wrote for "The Summer Smothers Brothers Show" (aired from June to early September)

1964

Writer and occasional performer on "That Was the Week That Was" (NBC); castmates included David Frost, Buck Henry and Alan Alda

1962

Stage debut in summer stock production of "The Music Man"

1961

Decided to become an actor after Adlai Stevenson, a relative, had invited him to a party in NYC

Cast as Doris Day's boss, a magazine editor, on "The Doris Day Show" (CBS)

Played Max Kellerman on the CBS series "Dirty Dancing"

Played Col. Henry Blake on "M*A*S*H" (CBS)

Earliest TV appearances as commercial actor and guest performer on such shows as "Naked City" and "The Defenders"

Attended American Musical and Dramatic Academy; also studied acting with Sanford Meisner and Lee Strasberg

Hosted the annual "Crosby Clambake" on The Nashville Network

Served in US Navy

After graduating from Northwestern University, worked in various jobs, including playing a clown on TV in Dallas, TX, selling insurance and medical equipment; hired as assistant athletic director at Northwestern

Starred in short-lived NBC sitcom, "The McLean Stevenson Show"

Wrote and performed comedy material as member of the ensemble in the revue "Upstairs at the Downstairs" in NYC

Starred in NBC sitcom "Hello, Larry"

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