Saturday, July 30, 2022

R.I.P.: Bert Metcalfe, M*A*S*H Producer and Director

Bert Metcalfe (March 19, 1935 – July 27, 2022)

Burt Metcalfe wore many hats during his long career in Hollywood. He started his career as an actor, then transitioned to the casting department before becoming an assistant then associate producer and eventually executive producer.

He was 87-years-of-age, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

He is best known for his work on the iconic dramedy M*A*S*H, which garnered him 13 Emmy nominations. In addition to working as a producer for the show’s entire run, he also directed 31 episodes, wrote three and made a cameo as a driver in the season seven episode “The Party.”

Burton Metcalfe was born in Saskatoon in the heart of Canada’s Saskatchewan province in 1935. His family moved east to Montreal where he spent most of his childhood.

Metcalfe studied theater at UCLA in California and soon found a way into showbusiness. He made his screen debut with a small role in the 1954 Korean War drama The Bridges at Toko-Ri.

It wasn’t long before he was booking gigs on TV in shows like General Electric Theater and Whirlybirds. One of his first major roles came in the 1959 movie version of Gidget starring Sandra Dee and James Darren. Metcalfe played a goateed surfer named Lord Byron.

In the 1960s, he appeared in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Outer Limits, three episodes of Perry Mason and the memorable Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.”

Metcalfe transitioned to a career working behind the scenes in the mid-Sixties, first working as a casting director before meeting Gene Reynolds, a young producer pitching a show about Army surgeons during the Korean War.

Metcalfe was tasked with casting the M*A*S*H pilot, no small feat considering the large ensemble full of many different personalities. But he found the perfect actors for each role and one of the best shows ever to hit the airwaves was born.

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