The negative perception of trailer parks was not improved by the creation of emergency trailer parks by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina, the quality and temporary nature of which was disputed. Many stereotypes have developed regarding people who live in trailer parks, which are similar to stereotypes of the poor and the term trailer trash is often used as an adjective in the same vein as the derogatory American terms white trash or ghetto. Though trailer parks appear throughout the United States, they are often associated with the Deep South and rural areas.
More recently referred to in the U.S. as "mobile home communities" or "manufactured housing sites", the stereotypes are often just that. Retirement communities exist in many locales that permit mobile home parks as "over-50 parks". Homeowners must be over the age of 50 and persons under the age of 18 are rarely permitted to live there. These can be gated communities with amenities such as swimming pools, clubhouses and on-site maintenance. Homes are often permanently installed on foundations. However, in certain circumstances residents may not own the land their homes occupy.
Christopher was born in Evanston, Illinois, in a family believed to be descendants of Paul Revere. He spent his youth in several of Chicago's northern surburbs, including Winnetka, where he attended New Trier High School. Christopher graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut with a B.A. in drama, focusing on Greek literature. While at college, he participated in fencing, soccer, and the glee club, and was initiated as a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
Christopher met his future wife, Barbara, on a blind date. They married in 1957 and the couple adopted two sons, John and Ned.
Christopher moved to New York and appeared in a variety of regional productions and later a number of off-Broadway productions such as The Hostage at One Sheridan Square. His Broadway debut came in Beyond the Fringe, a British revue, acting alongside Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.
Christopher left New York City for Hollywood to attempt to gain work in television where he guest-starred in several well-known series, including The Andy Griffith Show, Death Valley Days, The Patty Duke Show and The Men from Shiloh. He made several appearances on Hogan's Heroes, and had recurring roles on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and That Girl. In 1972, Christopher gained the role of Father Mulcahy in the television series M*A*S*H when the actor who was first cast in the role, George Morgan, was replaced after a single appearance in the pilot episode. Immediately following M*A*S*H, Christopher continued the role for the two seasons of the short-lived spin-off AfterMASH.
In feature films, Christopher performed in The Fortune Cookie, The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell, The Shakiest Gun in the West, With Six You Get Eggroll, and Hearts of the West. He had parts in telefilms including The Movie Maker, The Perils of Pauline, and For the Love of It. With Six You Get Eggroll is notable for fans of M*A*S*H, as Jamie Farr appears along with Christopher five years before they co-starred in the series, both playing hippies.
After gaining attention for M*A*S*H, Christopher appeared in various other television series, including Good Times (as the military doctor examining J. J. Evans) and Murder, She Wrote, and made multiple guest appearances on The Love Boat. In 1998, he guest-starred as a priest in an episode of Mad About You. He also remained active in the theater, including a tour of the United States in the mid-1990s with Farr, performing Neil Simon's The Odd Couple on stage. In 200809, he toured with Church Basement Ladies. One of Christopher's last roles was that of a priest (Father Tobias) on the NBC daytime drama Days of Our Lives.