Gary Burghoff thinks that being a father is more important than money or celebrity, therefore he gave up his job as Radar on M*A*S*H to focus on that.

Leaving the medical and military comedy battlefields M*A*S*H’s Gary Burghoff, who portrayed the likeable but cunning Radar, put his career on hold to focus on mending his crumbling family.

The newborn daughter of his son, Miles “Sonar” Burghoff, made the Emmy-winning actor, now 79, a grandpa for the first time.

For Gary Burghoff (Toronto Star photo by Doug Gryphon; made available by Getty Images))
A picture of Miles cuddling his newborn daughter was shared online around the end of March 2023.

The photo’s description says, “Today I reeled in the biggest, baddest 8-pounder of my life!” Please welcome Rylee Elisabeth Burghoff to the world!

Miles is a professional fisherman since he inherited his dad’s passion for the sport from him. “He’s the one who really started me out,” Burghoff’s son remarked of his father during a fishing competition.

To which his father said, “I’m simply here to provide moral support. This is a wonderful example of parents sharing their passions with their children.

Despite not following in his father’s footsteps professionally, Miles nevertheless shares a name with the legendary Radar. “I was called Sonar because my dad played Radar on M*A*S*H,” Miles said.

Burghoff’s two boys, Miles and Jordan, come from his marriage to Elizabeth Bolstrom (whom he wed in 1985 and divorced in 2005). This past November, Bolstrom passed away.

A 1974 photo of Gary Burghoff. Photograph by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)

Gena Gayle Burghoff was born to Burghoff and his ex-wife Janet Gayle in 1985; the couple split in 1979.

Burghoff didn’t take much with him when he departed M*A*S*H.

“I didn’t leave M*A*S*H a wealthy man,” Burghoff told People. If I had wanted to, I could have renegotiated my contract, but money wasn’t my top priority.You probably want to be a dad more than you want to be wealthy and famous. You can’t have it both ways.

Burghoff was offered parts on various 1980s sitcoms, including Newhart, but he turned them all down in favour of performing in provincial theatre. Also, he said, “I wanted to pick the number of weeks I’d work and spend the rest of the time with my family.”

Washington, D.C., with M*A*S*H co-stars Gary Burghoff (Radar O’Reilly) and Larry Linville (Frank Burns).

His acting career in the theatre fizzled out because his performance in M*A*S*H was so much more successful.

The series featured Burghoff as Cpl. Walter ‘Radar’ O’Reilly, a naive farm lad who served as the company clerk (and sometimes bugler) for the U.S. Army’s Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) during the Korean War (1950–1953). The show ran for seven seasons, from 1972 to 1983.

The film (1970) stars Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, and Sally Kellerman, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan (Loretta Swit’s part in the TV series). Burghoff is the only actor to play his character in both the TV series and the film.

After appearing in each episode for the first three seasons, Burghoff reportedly cut his character’s appearances to 13 episodes because the tight schedule was too much for his family.

Radar’s departure was addressed in the seventh season’s two-part goodbye, Good-Bye Radar, which detailed his dismissal from the military service.

Charles S. Dubin, the director of M*A*S*H, spoke with The Television Academy Foundation and said that Burghoff’s marital problems inspired the show. Dubin added that Burghoff “couldn’t go on” after seeing the Goodbye Radar episodes in which the protagonist must bid goodbye to the lady he loves.

When he started crying, I had to halt what I was doing and take him for a 15-minute stroll around the Fox studio lot. For more, Dubin said, “In the screenplay, he was talking about a future with her, presumably (which) pertained to his own home troubles. That likely had a significant role.

For the next three years, Alan Alda’s Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, Loretta Swit’s “Hot Lips” Houlihan, and Jamie Farr’s “Maxwell Q. Klinger” manned the M*A*S*H barracks.

Burghoff returned to his role as Radar for two episodes of the spinoff series AfterMash, as well as for the unaired series W*A*L*T*E*R, which was supposed to follow the narrative of Radar’s life after MASH.

Free for All

The producers had offered Burghoff a $US4 million deal to come back, but he turned it down. In 1991, “the money ran out,” and Burghoff was on the verge of collapse. It was reported that he claimed, “I was down to my last $500,” in a People magazine interview.

Off-Broadway actor, jazz musician, stamp collector, and creator of fish-attracting gadget Chum Magic Burghoff wanted to create a new work of art.


Burghoff began selling his canvases of oil paintings of North American animals in galleries for $25,000.

If you’re fortunate, you can find one at auction today.

Commons on Wikipedia

To help those who lost everything in the California fires four years ago, Burghoff donated to a GoFundMe page. Fans praised his acting and efforts in a video released by his son Jordan, even if he seems older in the clip.

Said one, “OMG When I was a kid, I used to watch mash and I remember him. His appearance and speech are unchanged. One more said, “Good to see you, Mr. Burghoff, I’m contributing not simply because of the need, but because I feel I owe you something.

I grew up watching MASH and appreciating your work. My wife and I have started watching it again from the beginning on Netflix. You made me feel things and think about them, and for that I am grateful. Please thank Jordan for sharing this.

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