Gary Burghoff admired his M*A*S*H role, but was less competitive on set

There was no need to be competitive when he had a frozen yogurt store and a fish farm as his lifeboats.

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It takes a lot for someone to be vulnerable, and although Radar O'Reilly was a fictional character, it's something Gary Burghoff admired about his M*A*S*H role. He embraced the character and often credited it for helping him reach his inner child.

We've all heard stories about what it was like behind the scenes of the classic show and, of course, why some actors like Burghoff left the series. Before departing, the actor felt he was less competitive on set because he had a business and a fish farm.

"I'm not at all the sensitive artist type," he said to The Napa Valley Register in 1978. "There's a world of difference between me as Radar and me as the executive."

Burghoff's company, Smiles, Inc., operated his frozen yogurt store in the little resort town of Lahaina, Hawaii. For some, stores are just investments, but for the actor, it was more than just a way to bring in more money. Whenever he was on the island, Burghoff did everything from filling the yogurt machines to waxing the floors.

"It's great meeting people, working behind the counter," he told US Magazine in 1978. "You may go home at night with your muscles aching, but you sleep great."

He also operated a fish farm in the backyard of his Malibu home, raising rainbow trout and catfish while recycling tap water. How did he have time to do those things and work on M*A*S*H? Easy, he just didn't care to be super competitive on set.

"All these enterprises are my lifeboats. If anyone ever tries to limit my full potential, I'll just leave the ship, get into one of these lifeboats, and pull away," Burghoff added.

Clearly, the "lifeboats" could keep him afloat if something were to happen with acting. Perhaps his success in different industries and outside of M*A*S*H is an additional reason why he turned down millions to return.

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GioLovesMash 15 months ago
attention staring may 1st. the a team well be gone to air M*A*S*H at. 6pm/ 5pm and 6 30pm/ 5 30pm but one M*A*S*H well to be still aring from the original time 7pm/6pm 7 30/ 6 30 pm are they lost the rights
to the a team or this is going to be in summer time?????

GioLovesMash GioLovesMash 15 months ago
4 block of M*A*S*H on metv
allivanaip 15 months ago
I read he lived in a mobile home and was struggling in life. I don't believe anything about this article.
Pacificsun 15 months ago
IMO, somebody was pulling the Interviewer's leg. Look up the fish to see what kind of water they prefer. Which is not to say they "can't" live in alternate environments. But ... why .... go to all that trouble adjusting your .... pool ... water ... in Malibu, next to he ocean???

And do you really picture Gary Burghoff waxing the floors of his Frosty Freeze shop in Hawaii??
tootsieg 15 months ago
Gary Burghoff had a lot of feathers in his cap. Sounds like he had as much fun working off screen as well as working on screen.
Runeshaper 15 months ago
Sounds like a very creative and talented guy,
Pacificsun 15 months ago
"He also operated a fish farm in the backyard of his Malibu home, raising rainbow trout and catfish while recycling tap water."


I think that quote might've deserved a hyperlink.
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 15 months ago
" I think that quote might've deserved a hyperlink."
Yes, that would have been interesting. I did a quick search on:

Burghoff's company, Smiles, Inc., operated his frozen yogurt store in the little resort town of Lahaina, Hawaii." But it came up empty.

There are similar business in or near Lahaina, Hawaii, that sell frozen confections. I was looking to see if any had a connection to GB.
Coldnorth Pacificsun 15 months ago
I wonder if his neighbors liked the fishy smell coming from his fish farm.
Adanor 15 months ago
I'm glad that the term "lifeboat" was explained. I was trying to figure out how he raised fish inside a lifeboat. It's always good to have a lifeboat or two. It eases stress at work, no matter what job one might have; acting, sitting in front of a computer, slapping paint on a wall, constructing, etc.
JHP Adanor 15 months ago
society doesn't do that much of that therapy anymore - we more falsely want to be needed and notarized by others instead of tuning in to one's self - just my 3 cent opinion
LoveMETV22 JHP 15 months ago
I like the ending of your comment, adjusting for inflation? OOps hold on a tic, 2 cents in 1978 would be 9 cents in 2023. LOL
Adanor JHP 15 months ago
Your remark was good, but I believe that the "lifeboat" that Gary Burghoff had consisted of TWO SOURCES OF INCOME so that he did not have to rely totally on M*A*S*H. He also had an additional source of income from occasionally appearing on game shows such as Match Game.
JHP Adanor 15 months ago
yep - and I watch Match Game every night so funny of a show!
Andybandit 15 months ago
That is cool that Gary had his own fish farm, and ice cream company.
LoveMETV22 15 months ago
Thank You MeTV. That was in interesting article on Gary Burghoff's enterprises outside of his television career. He seemed content with his decisions before and after M*A*S*H.
cperrynaples 15 months ago
Michael Lerner died this weekend! Not the mother of The Waltons [that's Learned], but an actor who appeared on many MeTV shows including MASH! He is best remembered as the studio head in Barton Fink! He definitely deserves a MeTV tribute!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 15 months ago
Checked IMDB, he was Captain Futterman in the episode where Hawkeye needs new boots!
Sad news, he had a long and busy acting career. Appeared in a season 2 episode of MASH playing an army dentist.
Yep, he would get Hawkeye the boots if he got him a 3-day pass to Japan!
Mblack cperrynaples 15 months ago
I thpught it was someone else.

He is noteworthy. He was on the Rockford File three times. The Brady Bunch and the Doris Day show. And a host of ofher MeTV shows.

He is worth mentioning, thanks. Once I saw a photo I recognized him. Had a distinctiveness.
JHP michaelevensen 15 months ago
him and his love for Japan :)
Runeshaper cperrynaples 15 months ago
R.I.P. Michael Lerner
Moody michaelevensen 15 months ago
I remember him as Arnold Rothstein in the movie "Eight Men Out".
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