William Christopher, the actor best known for his role as the gentle "Father Mulcahy" in MASH, has died at the age of 84, his rep confirms to People. Christopher's son, John Christopher, tells KABC that his father died at his home in Pasadena, Calif., after a battle with non-small cell lung cancer. "[He was] not in pain, he went peacefully," the rep tells People, noting that Christopher had been diagnosed about a year and a half ago and that his health had declined "about a week ago," sending the actor into hospice care the day after Christmas.
Christopher's most famous character was a Roman Catholic priest, though the actor was Methodist in real life, per TMZ, which adds he got the gig on MASH after an audition that floored producers with a "rambling ad lib." The Los Angeles Times notes he played Father Mulcahy from 1972 to 1983, then again from 1983 to 1985 in the spinoff After MASH. John Christopher says his dad was somewhat like Father Mulcahy, telling the Times "he was a very sensitive man. He was a very thoughtful person." Christopher also had roles on such shows as Hogan's Heroes, Gomer Pyle, USMC, and The Love Boat, and he supplied voice-overs for the cartoon The Smurfs. Christopher is survived by his wife, Barbara, and his two sons, John and Ned.