Saturday, December 18, 2010

Loretta Swit who played 'Hot Lips' Houlihan on the TV show M*A*S*H

Loretta Swit, born in 1937 in Passiac, New York is best known as Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on the TV show "M*A*S*H".

Loretta Swit (Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan) in the pilot of the TV show "M*A*S*H"

In 1967, Swit began her career on stage in "Any Wednesday", also starring Gardner McKay. She also starred on stage in "The Odd Couple" with Don Rickles and Ernest Borgnine.

Loretta Swit (Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan) in the TV show "M*A*S*H"

Loretta Swit then

Loretta broke into the TV scene in 1969 appearing an an episode of "Hawaii Five-O" starring Jack Lord, James MacArthur and Kam Fong.  She appeared in the show several more times through 1972. The year after her start in "Hawaii Five-O", appeared in 2 episodes of "H" starring Mike Connors, Gail Fisher and Ward Wood.  That same year she appeared in "Mission: Impossible" starring Peter Graves, Barbara Bain and Greg Morris.  And again that same year she appear in the series "Gunsmoke" 3 times with stars James Arness and Amanda Blake.

Loretta Swit in 1973

After appearing in a couple of more TV shows in 1971, Swit starred in her first film in 1972, "Deadhead Miles" a comedy starring Alan Arkin, Donna Anderson, Hector Elizondo, Richard Kiel, and Charles Durning.  That same year she appeared uncredited in "Fireball Forward" with Ben Gazzara, Ricardo Montalban and Anne Francis.  In 1972 she appeared in an episode of "Bonanza" with Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Pernell Roberts, and Dan Blocker.  That year she also starred in the film "Stand Up and Be Counted" co-starring Jacqueline Bisset, Stella Stevens, Lee Purcell, Gary Lockwood, Steve Lawrence, Hector Elizondo, and Meredith Baxter.

Loretta Swit (Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan) in the TV show "M*A*S*H"

Loretta Swit (Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan) in the TV show "M*A*S*H"

It was in 1972 that Loretta landed the role of Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on the TV show "M*A*S*H" co-starring Alan Alda ("Hawkeye" Pierce), Gary Burghoff ("Radar" O'Reilly), Harry Morgan (Sherman T. Potter), Jamie Farr (Corporal Klinger), David Ogden Stiers (Charles Winchester), Mike Farrell (B. J. Hunnicut), William Christopher (Father Mulcahy), Larry Linville (Frank Burns), Wayne Rogers ("Trapper" John McIntyre), McLean Stevenson (Lt. Colonel Henry Blake), and Kellye Nakahara (Nurse Kellye Yamato). Swit starred in the show as many times as lead actor Alan Alda for 251 out of 256 episodes.  Swit stayed with the show for it's full run of 10 years until 1983.

Partial cast of the TV show "M*A*S*H" Driver: Alan Alda ("Hawkeye Pierce), Left: Loretta Swit (Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan), Wayne Rogers ("Trapper" John McIntyre), and Mike Farrell (B.J. Hunnicut)

Loretta Swit (Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan) and Alan Alda ("Hawkeye Pierce) of the TV show "M*A*S*H"

Mike Farrell (B.J. Hunnicut), Loretta Swit (Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan) and Alan Alda ("Hawkeye Pierce) of the TV show "M*A*S*H"

During her stay on the "M*A*S*H" series, Loretta did other work as well such as appearances in "Ironside" (1973), as well as the TV movie "Shirts/Skins" with Rene Auberjonois, Bill Bixby, McLean Stevenson, Robert Walden, and Ron Glass (1973), "Love, American Style" (1972-73), "Freebie and the Bean" co-starring Alan Arkin, James Caan, Alex Rocco, and Valerie Harper (1974),  "The Last Day with Richard Widmark, Barbara Rush, Tim Matheson, Robert Conrad, and Tom Skerritt (1975), "Superman" with George Chandler, Geoffrey Horne, Kenneth Mars, Al Molinaro, and Lesley Ann Warren (TV movie, 1975), and "Race with the Devil" with Peter Fonda and Warren Oates (1975).

Larry Linville (Major Frank Burns), Loretta Swit (Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan), Harry Morgan (Colonel Sherman T. Potter) on the TV show "M*A*S*H"

Loretta Swit (Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan) in the TV show "M*A*S*H"

David Ogen Stiers (Major Charles Winchester) and Loretta Swit (Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan) in the TV show "M*A*S*H"

In 1975, Swit starred in the Broadway show "Same Time, Next Year". Swit certainly kept busy through the "M*A*S*H" years continuing on with "Good Heavens" starring Carl Reiner (1976), "The Hostage Heart" with Sharon Acker, Belinda Montgomery, Allan Rich, Robert Walden, and Vic Morrow (1977), The Love Boat captained by Gavin MacLeod and also
starring Lauren Tewes, Bernie Kopell, Fred Grandy, Jill Whelan, and Ted Lange (1977-79), "Friendships, Secrets and Lies" co-starring Cathryn Damon, Shelley Fabares, Sondra Locke, Tina Louise, and Stella Stevens (1979), "Valentine" with Jack Albertson, Danny DeVito,  and Philip Michael Thomas (1979), "The Love Tapes" co-starring Martin Balsam, Mariette Hartley, Wendy Phillips, Jan Smithers, and Arte Johnson (1980), and the Blake Edward's comedy "S.O.B." in 1981 co-starring Julie Andrews, William Holden, Marisa Berenson, Robert Loggia, Richard Mulligan, Larry Hagman, Robert Vaughn, Shelley Winters, and Rosanna Arquette.

In 1981 Loretta Swit starred in the pilot of the series "Cagney & Lacey" as Cagney, however her current contract commitments would not allow her to continue the series.  The role was eventually played by Sharon Gless.  It was two years later in 1983 that the "M*A*S*H" series ended.
Swit starred in First Affair with  Melissa Sue Anderson, Amanda Bearse, Joel Higgins, Kim Delaney, Robin Morse, and Charley Lang (1983);

Loretta Swit (Cagney) and Tyne Daly (Lacey) in the pilot of "Cagney & Lacey"

Robert Reed and Loretta Swit on The Love Boat

In 1984 Swit appeared again on The Love Boat for 2 episodes, followed by "The Execution" co-starring Rip Torn, Jessica Walter, Martin E. Brooks, and Valerie Harper (1985), "Sam" (1985), "Beer" with Rip Torn, Kenneth Mars, David Alan Grier, and Saul Stein (1985), "Miracle at Moreaux" (1986).  Swit was on the Broadway stage again in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" in 1986. 

Loretta Swit and Rip Torn in "Beer" 1985

Loretta Swit in 1989

Swit returned to the movies again with "14 Going on 30" with Daphne Ashbrook, Harry Morgan, Patrick Duffy, Alan Thicke, and Dick Van Patten (1988), "A Matter of Principle" (1990), "Hell Hath No Fury" co-starring David Ackroyd, Barbara Eden, Richard Kline, and Stephen Lee (1991), "A Killer Among Friends" co-starring Patty Duke, Margaret Welsh and Tiffani Thiessen (1992), "Murder, She Wrote" (1994), "Forest Warrior" with Chuck Norris, Max Gail, and Megan Paul (1996), "Diagnosis Murder" with Dick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke and Victoria Rowell (1998), and "Beach Movie" with Alex DeBoe, Gabrielle Anwar, Douglas Spain, Traci Bingham, and Bronson Pinchot (1998).

Loretta Swit and Betty White in 2006
Loretta Swit and Jamie Farr in 2008

Also in 1998 Swit starred in the off-Broadway production "The Vagina Monologues".  Then in 2003, she starred another off-Broadway production "Mame" in North Carolina. In August 2010, Swit starred in the play, "Amorous Crossings" in Jacksonville, Florida.

Loretta Swit and Mike Farrell today
Loretta Swit in 2009

Loretta Swit in 2009

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