Even after decades, MASH continues to be one of the best sitcoms of all time. But even they remain the gold standard in TV history. They still had some drama behind the scenes. Wayne Rogers left MASH after three seasons, and the producers were not happy about it.
The producers of the show tried to sue Wayne Rogers for breach of contract when he left. In the process of doing so, they discovered that Rogers did not sign his contract at all. Rogers was a free agent the whole time!
Why Did Wayne Rogers Leave the Show?
It was a shock to everyone when Wayne Rogers left the show after just three seasons. Rogers played the role of Trapper John, who often acted opposite Hawkeye, which Alan Alda played. He was a huge part of the show’s composition in those days.
Rogers just decided he did not want to be in the show anymore after his character received less attention than Alda’s. The writers gave Alda’s character more comic material, and they let Roger’s character be in the background, rolling eyes at his antics. It was no secret that Alda was the favorite, having more creative control and even having the chance to direct some of the show’s episodes.
Rogers did not want to be second to Alda. So to keep him from leaving, the producers tried to sue him for breaching the contract since actors can’t just go during the middle of the show’s production.
But, Rogers pulled a fast one on the producers by not signing his contract. At first, he did not want to sign the contract since he disagreed with the moral clause stipulated in the document. Rogers believed dictation of an actor’s behavior was outdated, so he joined the show without ever signing it. (Source: The Outsider)
What Did They Do With Wayne Roger’s Character on the Show?
By the time the 4th season started, fans were surprised to see that John Trapper, Rogers’ character, did not make an appearance. In the show, they explained that Trapper had been discharged from service.
Little did they know, there was a whole dispute happening behind the scenes.
Later on, the same producers developed the spin-off show Trapper John, M.D. Rogers was offered the lead role, but he turned it down. He didn’t want to be typecasted as a physician. Pernell Roberts took the role. (Source: The Outsider)
What Does Wayne Rogers Latest Work?
After Rogers’ stint in MASH, he went on to acting in various films and TV shows. He even went into producing and writing a few as well. His career as an actor was indeed fruitful. He even began investing in stocks and real estate, quite successful as a money manager without a doubt.
He made films until 2003. The last movie he appeared in was entitled Nobody Knows Anything! (Source: IMDB)
Sadly, Rogers passed away on December 31, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. He experienced complications of pneumonia at the age of 82. (Source: ET Online)