It was with great sadness that I learned that you had passed away on April 19, 2013. You lived to be 95, a great old age, but nevertheless I can't help but feel like it was much too soon.
I grew up with you as your character Dr. Sidney Freedman on M*A*S*H, and even though you only appeared on the show about once a year, in many ways he was my favorite character on the show. Sidney was brilliant, warm and understanding; yet he had a spine of steel: when faced with threats from the intimidating Col. Flagg, his response was a withering put-down, leaving the mad man to stand there, nonplussed (if only I could have responded to bullies in the same flippant, confident manner). You were an inspiration, and I don't think I was the only M*A*S*H fan who imagined a Sidney Freedman spin-off show. For my money, I could have watched you as that character for many, many more years after the 4077th packed up and went home.
A few years ago, it dawned on me that I frequently wait too late to make contact with people whose creative work is important to me. So I made an effort to try and track you down, if only just to get the chance to send you a letter and say how large you loomed in my life growing up. I called acting unions and agents; sadly no one ever got back to me and I never got the opportunity. I will always regret not being able to tell you how much Sidney Freedman meant to me.
I realize, of course, that you will never get to read this message, and that writing this blog post is probably a little crazy. But I figured who better than you would understand?