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Nakahara was born on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. Before becoming an actress, Nakahara moved from Hawai‘i to San Francisco to pursue a career in art. She married David Wallett, and moved to Los Angeles to try acting. Other than M*A*S*H, she has had small roles and guest spots on several other television shows, had a small part in the films Clue (1985) as Mrs. Ho, the domestic cook, and in the 1996 film Black Day Blue Night. Along with several other M*A*S*H cast members, she was a spokesperson for IBM.