MASH Oscar-nominated actress Sally Kellerman dies at 84

Sally Kellerman, the Oscar and Emmy nominated actress who played Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in director Robert Altman’s 1970 film MASH, has died aged 84.

Kellerman died of heart failure at her home in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles on Thursday, according to her manager and publicist Alan Eichler.

The American actress enjoyed a career spanning over 60 years in film and television.

She was a regular in Altman films, appearing in 1970s Brewster McCloud, 1992’s The Player and 1994’s Ready to Wear.

Perhaps her most famous role is as Major Houlihan, a strict army nurse who is tormented by rowdy doctors during the Korean War in the military comedy film MASH.

In the film’s key scene, and its culminating moment of misogyny, a tent where Houlihan is showering is opened and she is displayed to an audience of cheering men.

“It’s not a hospital, it’s an insane asylum!” she shouts to her commander.

Ben Johnson, center, best supporting actor, with Richard Harris and Sally Kellerman at the 1971 Oscars (AP)

Kellerman said Altman brought out the best in her.

The film was nominated for five Oscars, but its best supporting actress was its only wink despite a cast that included Duvall, Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould.

The film would be made into a television series that ran for 11 seasons, starring Loretta Swit as Kellerman.

Kellerman was born in 1937 in Long Beach, California, the daughter of a piano teacher and an oil executive, moving to Los Angeles as a child and attending Hollywood High School.

She took an acting class at Los Angeles City College and appeared in a stage production of “Look Back in Anger” with classmate Jack Nicholson and several other future stars.

She worked primarily in television early in her career, with a starring role in Cheyenne in 1962 and guest appearances on The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Bonanza.

Her appearance in the original Star Trek pilot as Dr. Elizabeth Dehner earned her cult status among fans.

She would continue to work well into her 80s, with several acclaimed television performances during her later years.

In 2014, she was nominated for an Emmy for her recurring role on The Young and the Restless.

Kellerman was married to television producer Rick Edelstein from 1970 to 1972 and film producer Jonathan D Krane from 1980 until his death in 2016.

She is survived by her son Jack and her daughter Claire.

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