7 smashing facts about Loretta Swit

The real-life Hot Lips could have been Cagney, too.

Image: The Everett Collection

As Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on M*A*S*H, Loretta Swit quickly became a fan favorite on one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Holding her own in the boys club that was the 4077th, Houlihan, as well as Swit, became an important part of television in the 1970s.

Swit celebrates her birthday on November 4. To celebrate, here are seven smashing things about the real-life woman dubbed "Hot Lips" on 'M*A*S*H.'


1. She was born in the same town as Sherwood Schwartz

Swit was born in Passaic, New Jersey, the same town where legendary TV producer Sherwood Schwartz was born. Passaic is also the hometown of fictional character Randolph Agarn on F Troop.

Image: AP Photo/Nick Ut

2. She appeared in 'The Odd Couple'

In the late '60s, Swit appeared as one of the Pigeon sisters in the Los Angeles run of The Odd Couple. The play was turned into a film, which was subsequently turned into a TV show in 1970 (and again in 2015!). 

3. She was committed to M*A*S*H

Besides Alan Alda, Swit is the only actor to appear in the pilot episode and series finale. She is credited for all 251 episodes of the series, although she doesn't appear in a few of them. 

4. She was the first M*A*S*H star to visit South Korea

Swit narrated the documentary Korea, the Forgotten War. Through the project, she was able to visit South Korea, becoming the first cast member after the series wrapped to visit the country where the series took place. 

5. She almost starred in 'Cagney & Lacey'

In the pilot episode of Cagney & Lacey, Swit played one of the titular characters, Christine Cagney. However, she couldn't continue with the series due to contractual obligations with M*A*S*H. 

Image: Orion Television

6. She's kind of obsessed with Ms. Pacman

In the book, A Needlepoint Scrapbook, she wrote, "we are Ms. Pac-Man fanatics in our house." How obsessed is Swit? She owns a Ms. Pac-Man machine, and even included a needlepoint design of the video game character in her book. 

Image: Pinterest

7. Her real-life husband played her love interest on the show

Swit was married to actor Dennis Holahan from 1983 until 1995. Before their marriage, Holahan played a Swedish diplomat in the season 11 episode, "U.N., the Night and the Music."

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