Novelist, TV Actor
1932 – 1996
Who was Roger Bowen?
Roger Bowen was an American comedic actor and novelist, known for his portrayal of Lt. Col. Henry Blake in the 1970 film MASH. He often portrayed roles as a stuffy defender of the upper class and had regular roles on a number of television series. His successful acting career aside, Bowen always considered himself a writer who only moonlighted as an actor. He wrote eleven novels as well as sketches for Broadway and television. He was also one of the co-founders of Chicago's famed comedy and acting troupe The Second City.
Bowen was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts. He said he was writing theater reviews for the University of Chicago student newspaper when he was asked to pen material for an improvisational troupe that included Alan Arkin and Mike Nichols. The troupe, Compass Players, evolved into The Second City. Bowen spent most of the 1960s playing "preppie" types on a number of TV & radio commercials. His first film role was 1968's Petulia, but his big movie break came in 1970, when he created the role of lackadaisical Blake in the 1970 Robert Altman cult film MASH.