Wayne Rogers loved business almost as much as he loved acting

As Wayne Rogers once said: "Acting is business."

Image credit: The Everett Collection

If Wayne Rogers wasn't busy starring in M*A*S*H, he probably would have been running the entire studio. You may recognize Rogers from his time onscreen as Capt. Trapper John McIntyre, but Rogers considered himself much more than an actor. He was a businessman, too.

According to a 1974 interview with The Times Herald, Rogers described himself as a very "practical" person, who regarded acting as business, and business as acting.

Rogers played the role of Trapper John for only a few seasons (1972-1975) but during his time with the series he was able to find a good amount of fame. With his business-savvy mindset, Rogers used his acting career to help him in other areas of his life, too.

On short breaks or while on hiatus from M*A*S*H, Rogers would look for other acting gigs but said he found the film industry to be in a depressive state.

"I attribute it to the fact that the business is run badly," Rogers said in a 1974 interview with The Times Herald. "In the early days, you didn't train executives. And when television came along, they weren't ready for it."

Prior to M*A*S*H, Rogers had small roles throughout classic TV. Some of these roles included: Gunsmoke, The Big Valley, Cannon, The F.B.I., and Barnaby Jones. M*A*S*H, however, was his second series in a leading role. The first series was Stagecoach West (1960).

He continued to search for film roles that could propel him forward in the industry, but the business was just changing too much for the businessman to be able to change it.

"Disaster presents a challenge to me," Rogers said. "If I were running 20th Century Fox, I'd have built Century City myself. They sold off the property, they could have run it."

Like many actors who have had success in TV series, Rogers invested a lot of money in different ways. For example, Rogers was a partner in a $2 million, 500-acre grape vineyard in Northern California.

Rogers said acting and business shared two common links: They are both creative and they both require deep problem-solving, which Rogers found thrilling.

"I'm not into business because it's business," Rogers said. "I'm into business because it's interesting. It's creative to start something. Business per se bores me... I think acting and business are synonymous. In business you're always acting, and in acting you're always problem solving."

When asked in the interview if he would ever give up acting for business he said: "Oh Lord, no. I think the most important thing is the life experience. Acting is business. Anything that's intangible, out of the way, is life experience. That's exciting."

According to the interview, Rogers saw a lot of himself in Trapper John. They both knew how to get down to business when necessary.

"M*A*S*H is a world of controlled absurdity and insanity," Rogers said. "I'm fascinated by those things that lend themselves to insanity. What a better place to act out your fantasies than in a show that calls for it."

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29 Comments

Vickisue17 10 months ago
Scott Bakula was te time traveler. Great show!
Vickisue17 10 months ago
The time travel show was Quantum Leap! Ncis New Orleans star was the main guy.
Susilla 10 months ago
I looked forward to seeing him every Saturday morning for years on the "Business Block" on Fox--four half hours between 10 and 12 with different hosts--even though I wasnt an investor (not on any for about ten years).Wayne Rogers was mostly on the 11:30 show. He was great.
teethclenched 10 months ago
Wow! I've never seen that photo before; what a great picture!
Rogers went on to star in a show (only lasted a season, tops) titled CITY OF ANGELS set in the '40s co-starring the adorable Elaine Joyce, that I loved as a kid. (ELLERY QUEEN with Jim Hutton and David Wayne was around at the same time and I loved that show, too, also set in the '30s/'40s)--I must have had an old soul!
Mark 10 months ago
He had one hell of a sense for investing money and made a good living on the side managing the investments for other actors, including his close friend Peter Falk.

And since he and Falk were buddies, I have to wonder why Rogers was never tapped to do a Columbo episode?
JJ614 10 months ago
I don't know who runs advertising for METV. But you're advertising this coming week's Trapper spotlight as a continuation of "May in June" - but....this week is ALL July.
Not surprised though. I mean, we're 7 months past the time you dumped Perry Mason movies on Sunday night - and you STILL run those commercials. And of course, you still run A-Team commercials and you haven't shown any of those episodes in 2 months.
Truth in advertising seems to mean NOTHING to METV. I don't know of ANY other network that runs like this.
DanDolgin JJ614 10 months ago
Yes, this coming week is supposed to be Trapper week, but they left Klinger out without giving him a week. How many hours of MASH do we really need 4 hours x 5 days plus another hour on Sundays = 21 hours of MASH weekly. This Summer of ME didn't add any new shows into the lineup. All they did was expand MASH one additional hour on weekdays and expanded Popeye on Sat. mornings back to it's original one hour format and dumped the Panther. They should have added at least one show for the Summer.
Bricat2001 DanDolgin 10 months ago
they also no longer show the betty boop cartoons on the popeye block(which used to show other fleicher cartoons), betty boop is now only on TIWM :(
Bricat2001 DanDolgin 10 months ago
honestly we should just rally people together and just email METV or Weigel and tell them that we dont like how they are running things lately, if more of us complain to them, maybe they will listen?
Bricat2001 JJ614 10 months ago
i dont think ive seen any of the A team or perry mason movie ads in my area ever since they were removed, maybe its only specific stations that this is happening.

sorry for the comment spam 😅 had more things to say then i thought
Adamtwelvia DanDolgin 3 months ago
I'll never understand why FRANK BURNS got his own week and Klinger didn't! Klinger made the show and kept it a comedy! He's always my favotite.
Adamtwelvia DanDolgin 3 months ago
Toon In With Me still airs Pink Panther.
Adamtwelvia Bricat2001 3 months ago
Pull a Hawkeye
WE WANT SOMETHING ELSE!
WE WANT SOMETHONG ELSE!
WE WANT SOMETHING ELSE!
Wiseguy70005 10 months ago
Sorry, MeTV, but Wayne Rogers appeared on Barnaby Jones AFTER M*A*S*H premiered. I remember watching it and I knew who he was from M*A*S*H. The fact that M*A*S*H premiered in September 1972 and Barnaby Jones premiered in January 1973 doesn't seem to both the fact checkers (aren't there any?).
musicman37 Wiseguy70005 10 months ago
He also played Major Nelson in the "I Dream of Jeannie" TV movie after he left M*A*S*H.
DanDolgin Wiseguy70005 10 months ago
Wayne Rogers also was on Cannon for one episode when Cannon was playing an undercover truck driver. Mike Farrell (Trapper's replacement on MASH) also appeared on one episode of Cannon.
JJ614 musicman37 10 months ago
Yep - that showed up in the June lineup on LAFF.
JJ614 musicman37 10 months ago
Which Wayne was fine in, but we missed Larry Hagman with Barbara. Of course by then, Tony had been magically - and VERY believably - transformed into the conniving JR.
LoveMETV22 11 months ago
So it seems the week following the July 4th holiday (7/10-7/14)- the M*A*S*H episodes are back to following the broadcast schedule. Wonder if they're done with the theme related promo?
McGillahooala 11 months ago
Great actor. The good ones always seem to see it as just another job. The bad ones think it’s a gift or an art form. Give me John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, or Wayne Rogers any day.
JJ614 McGillahooala 10 months ago
The bad ones think THEY'RE a gift to us and we owe them. Bwahahaha
MrsPhilHarris 11 months ago
I had read he told Alan Alda to buy Apple stock. Not sure if it’s true or not.
JJ614 MrsPhilHarris 10 months ago
I've been wracking my brain trying to remember the name of the time-travel comedy where the star goes back in time - and before he returns, tells his best friend to buy stock in...google? Yahoo? Something. Anybody remember that one and can remind me the name?
MrsPhilHarris JJ614 10 months ago
Hmmm…I don’t know. 🤔
texasluva JJ614 10 months ago
I believe it was the movie Frequency when he tells him to buy Yahoo.
Andybandit 11 months ago
Always good to have something to fall back on for he didn't do well in acting, which he did well in.
LoveMETV22 11 months ago

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Think Wayne Rogers liked the word "business."
musicman37 LoveMETV22 10 months ago
And a nice guy - I'll never forget meeting him after a taping of "The $20,000 Pyramid".
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