Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thu Dec 03, 2009


Loretta Swit is an American stage and television actress known for her character roles. The naturally blonde Swit is best-known for her two-time Emmy-winning portrayal of Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on M*A*S*H. Swit was born in Passaic, New Jersey. She has Polish ancestry. She studied with Gene Frankel in Manhattan and considered him her acting coach. She regularly returned to his studio to speak with aspiring actors throughout her career. Swit is also a singer who trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before entering the theater. She graduated from Pope Pius XII High School in Passaic, NJ, in 1955. In 1967, Swit toured with the national company of Any Wednesday, starring Gardner McKay. She would continue as one of the Pigeon sisters opposite Don Rickles and Ernest Borgnine in a Los Angeles run of The Odd Couple. In 1975, Swit played in Same Time, Next Year on Broadway opposite Ted Bessell. She also performed on Broadway in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. From there, she played Agnes Gooch in the Las Vegas version of Mame, starring Susan Hayward and later, Celeste Holm. Most recently, Swit has toured with The Vagina Monologues. When Swit arrived in Hollywood in 1970, she performed in television shows, including Gunsmoke, Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, and Mannix. Starting in 1972, Swit played Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan in the television series M*A*S*H. She inherited the star-making role from actress Sally Kellerman, who portrayed Houlihan in the feature film. Swit, Alan Alda, Jamie Farr, and William Christopher stayed for all 11 seasons of the show, from 1972 to 1983. She, along with Alda, Christopher, and Farr, all had on- and off-screen chemistry with each other and spent a great deal of time together. She and Alda were the only two actors to have been on the pilot episode and the finale; she appeared in all but 11 of the total of 251 episodes. Swit received two Emmy Awards for her work on M*A*S*H. Later, she was also the first M*A*S*H star to visit South Korea, when she narrated the documentary Korea, the Forgotten War.

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