Eileen Saki, the actress who played the feisty bar owner Rosie on the hit TV series MAS*H, passed away on May 1, 2023, at the age of 79. She had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2023 and fought bravely until the end. Her death was confirmed by her representative to Variety.
Eileen Saki’s Career and Legacy
Eileen Saki was born as Minako Borgen on November 18, 1943, in Jerome, Arkansas. She was the daughter of a gardener and moved to Japan with her family when she was three years old. She grew up loving performing arts and knew she wanted to be an entertainer since she was four years old.
She returned to the US and pursued her acting career, landing roles in films such as Meteor, History of the World: Part I, and Splash. She also appeared in TV shows such as Good Times, CHiPs, The Greatest American Hero, and Without a Trace.
However, she was best known for her role as Rosie, the owner of Rosie’s Bar, where the doctors and nurses of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit would hang out during the Korean War. She was the third and longest-running actress to play Rosie, appearing in nine episodes of MAS*H from 1976 to 1983. She also had a memorable cameo as a madam of a group of prostitutes in the season five premiere episode.
Saki brought humor and sass to her character, making Rosie a fan favorite. She said that Rosie was written so well that she didn’t have to work hard on it. She also revealed that she based her character on a Korean laundromat owner who was very serious.
Saki became a lung cancer survivor in 2004 and continued to work in the entertainment industry. She starred in a couple of commercials shortly before her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer. She also enjoyed talking to young actors about her journey and giving them advice.
Saki is survived by her husband, Bob Borgen, a freelance producer and writer. She was loved and respected by her co-stars, friends, and fans. Jeff Maxwell, who played Private Igor Straminsky on MASH, paid tribute to Saki on his podcast MASH Matters. He wrote on his Facebook page: “Our sweet Eileen. Our sassy Rosie. She read every email and responded to as many as she could. Our sweet, sweet Eileen. How we love you. How we will miss you.”
Pancreatic Cancer: Symptoms, Treatment, and Survival Rate
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly types of cancer, as it is often diagnosed at a late stage and has few effective treatments. It occurs when abnormal cells grow in the pancreas, an organ that produces digestive enzymes and hormones such as insulin.
According to the American Cancer Society, some of the common symptoms of pancreatic cancer are:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Dark urine
- Light-colored or greasy stools
- Abdominal or back pain
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Blood clots
However, these symptoms may not appear until the cancer has spread to other organs or tissues. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor if you experience any of these signs or have a family history of pancreatic cancer.
The treatment options for pancreatic cancer depend on the stage, location, type, and size of the tumor, as well as the patient’s overall health and preferences. Some of the common treatments are:
- Surgery: This involves removing part or all of the pancreas and sometimes other nearby organs or tissues. Surgery may be done to remove the tumor completely (curative surgery) or to relieve symptoms (palliative surgery).
- Chemotherapy: This involves using drugs to kill or stop the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given before or after surgery or alone if surgery is not possible.
- Radiation therapy: This involves using high-energy rays or particles to destroy or shrink cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be given before or after surgery or alone if surgery is not possible.
- Targeted therapy: This involves using drugs that target specific features of cancer cells that make them different from normal cells. Targeted therapy may be given along with chemotherapy or alone if chemotherapy is not effective.
- Immunotherapy: This involves using drugs that stimulate the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. Immunotherapy may be given along with chemotherapy or alone if chemotherapy is not effective.
The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is low compared to other types of cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, the five-year relative survival rate for pancreatic cancer is 10.8%, meaning that 10.8% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are alive five years after diagnosis. The survival rate varies depending on the stage of the cancer, with earlier stages having better outcomes than later stages.
Eileen Saki was a talented and beloved actress who left a lasting impression on the viewers of MAS*H and other shows and movies. She died from pancreatic cancer, a devastating disease that affects thousands of people every year. Her death is a reminder of the importance of raising awareness and funding for pancreatic cancer research and treatment. She will be missed by her family, friends, and fans, but her legacy will live on through her work and her spirit.