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Loretta Swit Information

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Loretta Swit Biography

    Equally versatile at comedy and drama, Loretta Swits parents, Polish immigrants who settled in Passaic, New Jersey, were not in favor of her making a stab at a show business career. Performing on stage from age 7, however, nothing and nobody could deter her. A natural singer who trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before finding work in repertory companies, her features were deemed a bit too plain and hard for ingénue roles so she attempted musicals and light comedy, imbuing her characters with a snappy, comic edge. Beginning with the 1967 national touring company of "Any Wednesday", starring Gardner McKay, she forged ahead as a scene-stealing "Pigeon sister" opposite Don Rickles and Ernest Borgnine in an L.A. run of "The Odd Couple" and, from there, earned more laughs as the hopelessly awkward "Agnes Gooch" in the Las Vegas version of "Mame" starring Susan Hayward and (later) Celeste Holm. Arriving in Hollywood in 1970, Loretta merited some attention by lightening up a number of dramas with her humorous, off-centered performances on such TV fare as "Gunsmoke" (1955), "Mission: Impossible" (1966), "Hawaii Five-O" (1968) and "Mannix" (1967). Her star-making role, however, came within two years of moving to the West Coast when she inherited Sally Kellerman s vitriolic "Hot Lips" Houlihan movie character for the TV series version of "M*A*S*H" (1972). She stayed with the show the entire eleven seasons and was Emmy-nominated every season the show was on the air (except the first). Although Lorettas post-"M*A*S*H" career may appear less noteworthy (it would be hard to imagine anything that could top her bookend Emmy wins on the M*A*S*H series), she has nonetheless remained quite active and provided colorful support in a handful of films including S.O.B. (1981), Beer (1985), Whoops Apocalypse (1988), Forest Warrior (1996) and Beach Movie (1998). She also kept up her TV visibility with episodic appearances and occasional mini-movies, including originating the role of "Chris Cagney" in the TV pilot of "Cagney & Lacey" (1981) {Pilot (#1.0)}. Returning to singing on occasion, she also inherited the Linda Lavin role in the TV version of the stage musical Superman (1975) . On stage, she made her Broadway debut opposite "That Girl" (1966) s Ted Bessell in "Same Time, Next Year" in 1975 and later replaced Cleo Laine on Broadway in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood". Honored with the Sarah Siddons award for her title role in "Shirley Valentine" (over 1,000 performances) in Chicago, she has more recently toured in productions of "The Vagina Monologues" and played the musical title role of "Mame" in 2003. Loretta also was a five-season host of the 1992 cable-TV wildlife series "Those Incredible Animals" (1992). Off-stage, Loretta was once married to actor Dennis Holahan, whom she met on the set of "M*A*S*H" (1972), in 1983. They had no children and divorced in 1995. Her natural spark and trademark blonde, curly mane are more prevalent these days at animal activist fundraisers. A strict vegetarian, she has served as a spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States and has been multi-honored for her long-time dedication and passion to animals. She is also the author of a book on needlepoint (A Needlepoint Scrapbook), runs her own line of jewelry and exhibits watercolor paintings. As a result, little has been seen of Loretta on film and TV, into the millennium.


Loretta Swit Filmography

  • (2010) The 11th Annual Canadian Comedy Awards as Herself - Presenter
  • (2010) The Real M*A*S*H as Herself
  • (2009) The 7th Annual TV Land Awards as Herself
  • (2006) Comic Relief 2006 as Herself (uncredited)
  • (2006) La imagen de tu vida as Major Margaret Houlihan (archive footage)
  • (2006) The 4th Annual TV Land Awards as Major Margaret Houlihan - 'Grey Anatomy' Skit
  • (2005) Battle of the Network Reality Stars as Herself
  • (2005) The 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments as Herself
  • (2004) The 100 Most Memorable TV Moments as Herself
  • (2003) CBS at 75 as Herself
  • (2002) 'M*A*S*H': 30th Anniversary Reunion as Herself / Major Margaret Houlihan (also archive footage)
  • (2002) M*A*S*H: TV Tales as Herself
  • (2002) Pyramid as Herself
  • (2002) TV Tales as Herself
  • (2001) History vs. Hollywood as Herself
  • (2001) The British Comedy Awards 2001 as Herself
  • (2001) TV Land Presents Blast from the Past as Herself (VG)
  • (2000) TV Guide's Truth Behind the Sitcom Scandals 3 as Herself
  • (1998) Beach Movie as Mrs. Jones
  • (1998) Hollywood Squares as Herself
  • (1998) So Graham Norton as Herself
  • (1996) Forest Warrior as Shirley
  • (1995) Cow and Chicken as Judge (voice) (as Lorretta Swit)
  • (1994) Burke's Law as Evelyn Turner
  • (1993) Bob Hope's Bag Full of Christmas Memories as Herself - 'Silver Bells' (archive footage)
  • (1993) Diagnosis Murder as Maggie Dennings
  • (1993) Intimate Portrait as Narrator
  • (1992) A Killer Among Friends as Det. Patricia Staley
  • (1992) Batman as Marcia Cates (voice)
  • (1992) Bob Hope's America: Red, White and Beautiful as Herself
  • (1992) The Big Battalions as Cora Lynne
  • (1991) Hell Hath No Fury as
  • (1991) Memories of M*A*S*H as Herself / Major Margaret Houlihan (also archive footage)
  • (1991) One on One with John Tesh as Herself
  • (1990) A Matter of Principle as Janet Short
  • (1989) Safe House as
  • (1988) 14 Going on 30 as
  • (1988) The 2nd Annual American Comedy Awards as Herself - Audience Member
  • (1988) Whoops Apocalypse as President Barbara Adams
  • (1987) A Christmas Calendar as Herself
  • (1987) Biography as Herself
  • (1987) Biography as Herself (also archive footage)
  • (1987) Happy 100th Birthday, Hollywood as Herself
  • (1987) On the Edge of Extinction: Panthers and Cheetahs as Herself - Host
  • (1987) Win, Lose or Draw as Herself
  • (1986) Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story as Deo Fisher
  • (1986) Miracle at Moreaux as Sister Gabrielle
  • (1986) The Mysterious Black-Footed Ferret as Herself - Host
  • (1985) Beer as B.D. Tucker
  • (1985) Muppet Video: Rock Music with the Muppets as Herself (archive footage)
  • (1985) Muppet Video: The Kermit and Piggy Story as Herself
  • (1985) Sam as Samantha Flynn
  • (1985) The Execution as Marysia Walenka
  • (1984) Aspel & Company as Herself
  • (1984) Murder, She Wrote as Kim Mitchell
  • (1984) The 10th Annual People's Choice Awards as Herself - Presenter: Favourite Television Children's Program
  • (1984) Your Choice for the Film Awards as Herself - Presenter
  • (1983) Animals Are the Funniest People as Herself - Host
  • (1983) First Affair as Jane Simon
  • (1983) Texaco Star Theater: Opening Night as Herself
  • (1983) The 9th Annual People's Choice Awards as Herself - Accepting Award for Favourite Television Comedy Program
  • (1983) The Best Christmas Pageant Ever as Grace Bradley
  • (1982) Games Mother Never Taught You as Laura Bentells
  • (1982) The 28th Annual Genii Awards as Herself
  • (1982) The 34th Annual Emmy Awards as Herself - Winner: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series
  • (1982) The 8th Annual People's Choice Awards as Herself - Accepting Award for Favourite Television Comedy Program
  • (1982) The Kid from Nowhere as Caroline Baker
  • (1981) Cagney & Lacey as Det. Christine Cagney
  • (1981) Entertainment Tonight as Herself
  • (1981) Making 'M*A*S*H' as Herself
  • (1981) S.O.B. as Polly Reed
  • (1981) The 33rd Annual Emmy Awards as Herself - Nominee: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series & Presenter: Best Drama Series
  • (1980) Bahamas Holiday as Herself
  • (1980) CBS All American Thanksgiving Day Parade as Herself
  • (1980) The 37th Annual Golden Globe Awards as Herself
  • (1980) The 6th People's Choice Awards as Herself - Accepting Favourite TV Comedy Award
  • (1980) The Big Show as Herself - Host
  • (1980) The Bob Hope Christmas Show and All-Star Comedy Special as Herself
  • (1980) The Love Tapes as Samantha Young
  • (1979) Circus of the Stars #4 as Herself - Ringmaster
  • (1979) Friendships, Secrets and Lies as B.J.
  • (1979) Mirror, Mirror as Sandy McLaren
  • (1979) Password Plus as Herself
  • (1979) Password Plus as Herself - Celebrity Contestant
  • (1979) Supertrain as Alice Phillips
  • (1979) The 31st Annual Emmy Awards as Herself - Nominee: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Comedy-Variety or Music Series
  • (1979) Valentine as Emily
  • (1978) The 30th Annual Emmy Awards as Herself - Nominee: Best Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
  • (1977) Battle of the Network Stars II as Himself - CBS Team
  • (1977) Battle of the Network Stars III as Herself - CBS Team
  • (1977) The Hostage Heart as Chris LeBlanc
  • (1977) The Love Boat as Anoushka Mishancov
  • (1977) The Love Boat as Kathy Ross
  • (1977) The Love Boat as Terry Larsen
  • (1976) Battle of the Network Stars as Herself - CBS Team
  • (1976) Good Heavens as Maxine
  • (1976) Liar's Club as Herself
  • (1976) The Captain and Tennille as Herself
  • (1976) The Muppet Show as Herself
  • (1975) Don Adams' Screen Test as
  • (1975) Race with the Devil as Alice Stewart
  • (1975) Rickles as Major Margaret Houlihan
  • (1975) Superman as Sydney
  • (1975) The Jim Stafford Show as Herself
  • (1975) The Last Day as Daisy
  • (1975) The Lion Roars Again as Herself (uncredited)
  • (1974) Celebrity Sweepstakes as Herself
  • (1974) Dinah! as Herself
  • (1974) Freebie and the Bean as Meyers' Wife
  • (1974) Petrocelli as Ella Knox
  • (1974) Policewomen as Police clerk (uncredited)
  • (1974) The $25,000 Pyramid as Herself
  • (1974) Tony Orlando and Dawn as
  • (1974) Tony Orlando and Dawn as Herself
  • (1973) Deadhead Miles as Lady with Glass Eye
  • (1973) Match Game 73 as Guest panelist
  • (1973) Match Game 73 as Guest panelist (1973 & 1978-1982)
  • (1973) Match Game 73 as Herself
  • (1973) Match Game 73 as Herself - Panelist
  • (1973) Shirts/Skins as Linda Bush
  • (1973) The $10,000 Pyramid as Herself
  • (1973) The 15th Annual TV Week Logie Awards as Herself
  • (1973) The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour as Herself
  • (1972) ABC Afterschool Specials as Wanda Karpinsky
  • (1972) Fireball Forward as Nurse (uncredited)
  • (1972) M*A*S*H as Major Margaret Houlihan
  • (1972) M*A*S*H as Major Margaret Houlihan (credit only)
  • (1972) Stand Up and Be Counted as Hilary McBride
  • (1971) Cade's County as Ginny Lomax
  • (1971) Celebrity Bowling as Herself
  • (1969) Love, American Style as Doris (segment "Love and the Pick-Up Fantasy")
  • (1969) Love, American Style as Mary Beth Scoggins (segment "Love and the Locksmith")
  • (1969) The Bold Ones: The New Doctors as Rosalyn
  • (1968) Hawaii Five-O as Anna
  • (1968) Hawaii Five-O as Betty
  • (1968) Hawaii Five-O as Wanda Russell
  • (1967) Ironside as Sally Pearson
  • (1967) Mannix as Dorothy Harker
  • (1967) Mannix as Jill Packard
  • (1966) Mission: Impossible as Midge Larson
  • (1965) The Hollywood Squares as Herself
  • (1963) You Don't Say as Herself
  • (1962) The Merv Griffin Show as Herself
  • (1962) The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson as Herself
  • (1961) Password as Herself
  • (1961) The Mike Douglas Show as Herself - Actress
  • (1959) Bonanza as Ellen Sue Greely
  • (1955) Gunsmoke as Belle Clark
  • (1955) Gunsmoke as Donna


Loretta Swit Trivia and Facts

  • Wanted to leave "M
  • A
  • S
  • H" (1972) after the 8th season, but FOX wouldnt let her out of her contract. She has said that she wanted to star in the series "Cagney & Lacey" (1981) , after she made the pilot movie, but her MASH commitment prevented her from doing so.
  • Is Polish
  • Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989.
  • Wrote a book on needlepoint.
  • Wears a size 7 shoe.
  • During a "M
  • A
  • S
  • H" (1972) season hiatus, Loretta starred as "Chris Cagney" in the pilot episode of "Cagney & Lacey" (1981) in 1981. She wanted to leave the show, which was in its ninth season, to star as the police officer when the pilot was picked up. The "M
  • A
  • S
  • H" producers, however, wouldnt let her go. Meg Foster subbed in for Loretta, who in turn was replaced by Sharon Gless.
  • Her outspoken stand against the killing of fur-bearing animals for high-fashion wear has been rewarded with acknowledgments from the American Humane Society and the Animal Protection Institute of America. In addition, she teamed with Robert Redford for a PBS special centering on animal species that were threatened with extinction and is an active board member for Actors and Others for Animals, and other similar organizations.
  • Has her own line of jewelry which she has sold at jewelry shows across the nation.
  • Best remembered by the public for her role as "Maj. Margaret Houlihan" on TVs "M
  • A
  • S
  • H" (1972) (1972-1983).
  • Is vegan.
  • Up until Harry Morgan s death on 7 December 2011, he was her best friend and neighbor for years. Morgan co-starred with Swit on "M
  • A
  • S
  • H" (1972).


Loretta Swit Quotes

  • Hot Lips changed a lot in eleven years. Initially Margaret Houlihan behaved as though a man were the only thing that could complete her life, and she didnt see what richness her life contained. She gained a lot of self-esteem through the years, and she came to realize that what she did, what she offered, was valuable. To oversimplify it, I took each traumatic change that happened in her life and kept it. I didnt discard anything. I didnt go on into the next episode as if it were a different character in a different play. She was a character in constant flux. She never stopped developing.
  • I mean, certain things had to remain the same. She had to remain one of the antagonists because that was the structure of the show. In the second season, we saw for the first time that she was unhappy with "Frank" and wanted more from her life. Then around the third or fourth year, in an episode called "M
  • A
  • S
  • H" (1972) {The Nurses (#5.5)} , "Hot Lips" gave the nurses a speech telling them how lonely she was because she was in charge and thats the way it was, so she couldnt really have any friends. Her marriage and her divorce changed her. Her affair with "Hawkeye" in "M
  • A
  • S
  • H" (1972) {Comrades in Arms: Part 1 (#6.12)} changed both characters, so that they were never really rivals again.
  • Sometimes I would get letters from nurses saying how grateful they were that a nurse was finally being portrayed as a person, a caring human being. As far as the audience was concerned, I think it identifies with at least one or two or maybe all of us. We have become people to them and never caricatures. Were very real to them.


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Loretta Swit Other Works

  • Played Agnes Gooch in the first national company of "Mame".
  • Starred in "A Passionate Woman", March 21, 2000 to April 16, 2000 at
  • Florida's Coconut Grove Playhouse.
  • TV commercial for IBM Personal Computers (1980s)
  • TV commercial: AM/PM Mini Markets: late 80s
  • TV commercial for Comcast High-Speed Internet / Cable TV, featuring an
  • extended digitally edited clip from her appearance on "Pyramid"
  • (2002).
  • TV commercial: Mastercard (Mid to late 80s)
  • Starred in the Willy Russell play "Shirley Valentine" on various national tours. In 1989, she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in the Chicago production of the play.
  • Same Time, Next Year (1975). Comedy. Written by 'Bernard Slade' . Directed by 'Gene Saks' . Brooks Atkinson Theatre (moved to The Ambassador Theatre from 16 May 1978 to close): 14 Mar 1975- 3 Sep 1978 (1453 performances + 4 previews). Cast: 'Ellen Burstyn' (as "Doris"), 'Charles Grodin' (as "George"). Replacement cast during run: 'Ted Bessell' (as "George") (from 1 Dec 1975 - ?) [only Broadway role], 'Sandy Dennis (I)' (as "Doris") (from 8 Mar 8 1977 - ?), 'Conrad Janis' (as "George") (from 20 Oct 1975 - ?), 'Hope Lange' (as "Doris") (from 30 May 1977 - ?), 'Monte Markham' (as "George") (from 3 Jan 1978 - ?), 'Don Murray (I)' (as "George") (from 8 Mar 8 1977 - ?), 'Betsy Palmer' (as "Doris") (from 24 Oct 1977 - ?), 'Loretta Swit' (as "Doris") (from 1 Dec 1975 - ?), 'Joyce Van Patten' (as "Doris") (from 10 Oct 1975 - ?). Produced by Morton Gottlieb, Dasha Epstein, Edward L. Schuman and Palladium Productions (Gabriel Katzka, Steven Bach). Associate Producer: Ben Rosenberg and Warren Crane.
  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1985). Musical comedy. Music by 'Rupert Holmes' . Material adaption by Rupert Holmes. Lyrics by Rupert Holmes; Suggested by the unfinished novel by 'Charles Dickens' . Musical Director: Michael Starobin. Music orchestrated by Rupert Holmes. Directed by Wilford Leach. Imperial Theatre: 2 Dec 1985- 16 May 1987 (608 performances + 24 previews). Cast: 'Betty Buckley (I)' (as "Edwin Drood"/"Miss Alice Nutting"), 'Cleo Laine' (as "The Princess Puffer"/"Miss Angela Prysock"), George Rose, Patti Cohenour, Howard McGillin, Jerome Dempsey, Karen Giombetti, Stephen Glavin, 'Charles Goff (I)' (as "Horace"/"Mr. Brian Pankhurst, Citizen of Cloisterham"), Susan Goodman, Joe Grifasi, Nicholas Gunn, John Herrera, Judy Kuhn, Herndon Lackey, Francine Landes, Rob Marshall, George N. Martin, Peter McRobbie, Brad Miskell, Donna Murphy, Jana Schneider. Replacement cast during run included: 'Loretta Swit' (as "The Princess Puffer"/"Miss Angela Prysock"). Produced by 'Joseph Papp' . Associate Producer: Jason Steven Cohen.
  • Active on Broadway in the following productions:
  • (February-April 2010) Stars in a dinner theater production of the play "Cactus Flower" at New Theatre Restaurant, Overland Park, Kansas.
  • (2009) She read Susan B. Anthony's "Women's Rights to Suffrage" speech for Phoenix Audio's "The Greatest Speeches of All Time".


Loretta Swit Trademarks

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Loretta Swit Frequently Asked Questions

  • When is Loretta Swit's birthday?

      November 4, 1937

  • How tall is Loretta Swit?

      5' 6"

  • How much does Loretta Swit weigh?

      Submit Loretta Swit Weight Submit Loretta Swit weight.

  • Where was Loretta Swit born?

      4 November 1937, Passaic, New Jersey, USA

  • What is Loretta Swit's nickname?

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