Gary Richard Burghoff was born on 24 May 1943. Gary Burghoff is an American actor, best known for playing the character Corporal Walter Eugene “Radar” O’Reilly in the M*A*S*H series and Charlie Brown in the 1967 off-Broadway musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Gary Burghoff was born in Bristol, Connecticut and got his start in both acting and drumming during his high school years in Delavan, Wisconsin.
Episode 24 Season 1 of the M*A*S*H television series titled “Showtime” features Radar playing a solo on the drums. It is a misconception that the sound was dubbed in; it is actually Gary Burghoff’s performance.
Gary Burghoff left M*A*S*H after season 7 because of burnout and a desire to spend more time with his family, though he returned in season 8 to film a special 2-part farewell episode, “Goodbye Radar”. Castmate Mike Farrell tried to convince Gary Burghoff to stay on the show, citing the lackluster careers of former M*A*S*H regulars Larry Linville and McLean Stevenson after their departures.
Although several actors from the original MASH film made guest appearances in the television series, Gary Burghoff was the only actor cast as a regular.
Gary Burghoff also frequently appeared on the game show Match Game in the 1970s, both as a stand-in for regular Charles Nelson Reilly and also as the “special male guest” occupying seat 1. Gary Burghoff sat in for Reilly from 1974 until Match Game episode 471 when Nelson Reilly returned in 1975 from Broadway. Gary Burghoff appeared in 248 episodes of Match Game through its daytime run, syndicated run, and the nighttime version of the show. 215 episodes daytime, 18 episodes on Match Game PM (nighttime), and 15 episodes during the syndicated version.
Gary Burghoff occupying the Charles Nelson Reilly seat in Charles’ absence.
Gary Burghoff also appeared on an episode of The Love Boat. Gary Burghoff appeared regularly on TV, making appearances on other game shows as well like Tattletales and Showoffs. Gary Burghoff also appeared in a comedy from 1971, P.S. I Love You. Gary Burghoff’s M*A*S*H character Radar O’Reilly was spun off into an unsold TV show called W*A*L*T*E*R.
For years he appeared in commercials for the Gulf Petroleum Company (now British Petroleum) as the “Gulf Guy” In addition to acting, Gary Burghoff also works as a professional jazz drummer, heading the trio The We Three, and as a wildlife painter. Gary Burghoff’s other activities include outdoorsmanship and rifle shooting. Gary Burghoff is also the inventor of the “Chum Magic”, a fishing tackle invention that attracts fish to your boat.
Gary Burghoff is a philatelist and was the star of a United States Postal Service video for beginning stamp collectors. In 2000, Gary Burghoff was also a spokesperson for dot-com era auction aggregation site PriceRadar.com.
Gary Burghoff’s left hand is withered and misshapen with the fingers being very short—no cause is known about it though it is presumed to be a birth defect. In M*A*S*H, he is often seen carrying a clipboard or other object to conceal the defect.
Gary Burghoff was married to Janet Gayle, from 1971 to 1979; they had 1 child before the marriage ended in divorce. In 1985, he married Elisabeth Bostrom; they have 2 children together. Gary Burghoff currently resides in Paradise, California and appears in TV ads for local doctors.
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