Gary Burghoff said that he didn't actually like being a celebrity
Radar was totally comfortable just being Gary.
As a star of one of the nation’s most popular television shows, Gary Burghoff has had plenty of experience being a celebrity, and guess what? He’s got no taste for it!
In an interview with The Desert Sun, Burghoff said: “I find being a person is more important than being a celebrity.” What, might you ask, makes a celebrity? Well, to quote Burghoff: “A celebrity, in my mind, is a person who wears $300 jackets, drives Rolls-Royces and lives a certain lifestyle. He never thinks about his family and that lifestyle.”
Not only did Burghoff argue that the celebrity lifestyle conflicted with his values, but it also went against his personality. He said, “What I tend to be shy of is too many bright lights and too many parties. It’s just not part of my personality. It takes a certain type of person to be a celebrity and I’m just not that type."
Burghoff has expressed himself as a man of more traditional values, electing to focus on his family over chasing fame. For a while, it seemed that with the success of M*A*S*H, Burghoff could be a family man and a celebrity simultaneously. But if he were pressed to choose between the two, it’s not a choice at all, for him. “If being a celebrity interferes with that closeness and warmth,” he said, “then I don’t want to be a celebrity. I just want to be Gary.”
Of his decision to leave M*A*S*H, Burghoff maintains that the show itself had nothing to do with his choice. He said, “It had nothing to do with M*A*S*H. It had to do with what Gary wanted to do for himself and his family.”
Burghoff was also worried about being typecast. He found himself constantly compared to Radar, to the point where he found that it diminished his self. He said, “When the whole world begins to refer to you as Radar, you begin to wonder if Gary exists. That was disturbing... All of a sudden, if Gary Burghoff wasn’t a household name, Radar was.”