Loretta Swit met her soulmate in the middle of this M*A*S*H episode

You can literally watch Loretta Swit actually falling in love onscreen.

Just before the final season of M*A*S*H, Loretta Swit was starting to feel done with the show.

She even considered quitting during the 10th season.

But something told her to stick with the show, and then, in the 11th season, she was filming an episode called "U.N., the Night and the Music" when a guest star named Dennis Holahan appeared on the show and suddenly, Swit heard not a gong signaling the end of her time on M*A*S*H, but wedding bells.

"There were times when I wanted to leave M*A*S*H and do other things," Swit told The Post-Crescent in 1988.  "When I met Dennis I said to myself, ‘so that’s why I’m still here.’"

Most people know that Swit ended up marrying Holahan the very same year after they fell in love onset of M*A*S*H.

On the show, he played her character’s love interest, and Swit confirmed that she recognized that he was her soulmate the moment she stumbled into her first scene with him.

"All I know is, when I met Dennis, suddenly I was bumping into furniture," Swit said. "I was behaving like a kid. A week later, I knew I could live with him for the rest of my life."

What many fans may have missed, though, was this Eighties interview where Swit actually went into detail about how she was feeling when she filmed those first scenes with Holahan.

Reading her reactions in real life can change the way you watch the M*A*S*H episode.

"Dennis played a Swedish army officer who came to visit the M*A*S*H unit," Swit said. "Margaret Houlihan immediately developed an enormous crush on him. Dennis’ character liked Margaret too, but he had been injured when his jeep went over a mine. He had nerve damage, he was impotent. Margaret didn’t care, she was in love."

"Suddenly I realized, so was I..." Swit said.

For Swit, this was quite the epiphany.

She said that her whole life, marriage had never really been a goal of hers the way that Swit said she always felt it was a goal of Margaret’s.

"For all her G.I. ways, Margaret Houlihan was always looking for a lasting relationship," Swit said. "She wanted to get married and have babies. But I wasn’t aware I was looking. Maybe that’s the best way to find someone special, when love is the last thing on your mind."

She wasn’t the only one who felt Cupid’s arrow hit.

"Call it a state of shock," Holahan said, about meeting Swit that way onset.

"That first morning we started to rehearse a love scene," Holahan said. "Nothing has ever happened so easily for me, it was so natural, so magical. It was as if it weren’t just characters falling in love … but real people."

At first, Holahan thought maybe they both were just a little too good at acting?

"I was quite worried for a while," Holahan said. "I wondered if this might not be another case of actors believing in their characters too much."

But like Swit, soon he found their true feelings became undeniable.

"The emotions stirred by that first rehearsal never waned, however, they seemed to set the tone for everything that was to come," Holahan said.

Soon, they became inseparable, and when the road did separate them, Swit found the distance unbearable. It was that kinda love.

"They say absence makes the heart grow fonder … I say absence doesn’t do anything," Swit said. "I miss Dennis even if he’s in the next room."

Although their marriage started out so strong, by 1989, their love had waned and they filed for divorce.

Reporters claimed Holahan was envious of Swit’s success.

In the filings, he asked for the 50% of her income he was entitled to as her husband, stating that his earnings were radically lower than hers and requesting at least $8,000 in monthly payments to keep up the lifestyle he was accustomed to from being her husband.

Swit famously never remarried, but she did say that falling in love onset of M*A*S*H helped her understand why so many people aspire to marriage.

"When I met Dennis, the concept of marriage became clearer for me," Swit said. "It was the concept of living very happily with a partner for the rest of your life in a relationship that will always be fresh and challenging and interesting and … terrific!"

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CarnivorousVulgaris 2 months ago
The 1972 WWII movie is Fireball Forward starring Ben Gazzara as Maj. Gen. Joe Barrett. His job is to whip a hardluck unit back into shape and get them back in the war. The movie also stars Eddie Albert, Ricardo Montalban, Dana Elcar and many others. However, there is a curious meeting in the movie. When Barrett and his aide are making the rounds, they pass a group of nurses in the field. The head nurse, a captain, approaches Barrett about a shower unit for her unit. This nurse/actress is not named or credited. It is Loretta Swit!!! Did we just meet Capt. Margaret Houlihan serving as a nurse in WWII prior to her promotion to Major and serving in the Korean War???
PDCougar 3 months ago
This article is missing one pretty big detail: If I remember right, during that wedding the bride was given away by ... Harry Morgan.
TinaMarieHaddadRhodes 3 months ago
Thanks Loretta Swit for years of enjoyment on M*A*S*H.
TinaMarieHaddadRhodes 3 months ago
I don’t know the circumstances of their relationship or their marriage but it seems a lot to ask for fifty percent of her income because you became accustomed to a certain life style after he married Loretta Swit, that actually sounds like he was a gold digger or had no confidence in his acting ability to make a good living to live how he was accustomed. Either way it’s a sad situation. To bad Loretta didn’t know there is no such thing as soulmates and instant love, you have to work at a relationship to keep it working no instant anything.
KellyTenace 3 months ago
According to Wikipedia, anyhow, it took them a while to actually divorce...

"Spouse(s) Dennis Holahan​
​(m. 1983; div. 1995)"

On a side note, it's a little aggravating that unlike virtually any other site where comments are posted, here one can not edit one's own post, but instead one has to delete entirely, and repost. Wish they'd change that.
It's useful to copy and paste what you posted that you want to edit so you don't have to rewrite the whole thing, but it's still more steps than need be.
JosephScarbrough 3 months ago
Loretta Swit wanted to leave M*A*S*H even earlier than that. She wanted to leave around the same time Gary Burghoff did - during M*A*S*H's hiatus, she starred in the pilot movie of CAGNEY & LACEY, and when that pilot went to series, she wanted to do that instead, however, they refused to let her out of her M*A*S*H contract, which is why she continued to stay on the show
With a few added dollars no doubt. That show could hardly do with any more cast changes than they had. So an actor either wants to move up in prestige (like Alda into writing Story Concepts) or as Executive Producer which also justifies a salary increase. Without having to increase the other actor's salaries. I can't imagine what else LS would've been suitable for doing. Particularly if you look at her resume after MASH. But she would've been a very good fit in Cagney & Lacy (IMO much preferable than who they ended up with).
TlorDagama 3 months ago
So much for a soulmate, that is a forever and ever thing
Pacificsun 3 months ago
This was a nicely written and interesting story, thanks MeTV Staff. And thanks for posting it on a usually (dead) Friday afternoon! Yes, we notice.

Especially like the quotes from interviews! So no quibble there! However, regarding the ultimate relationship, either the Tea Leaves were read wrong, or somebody saw opportunity. And sad to think considering the outcome. For soulmates to have found one another, 12 years isn’t a long time to be married. Except in Hollywood. Where they are almost always doomed. And I wonder why. A roving eye. Dashed dreams. Envious egos. But 50% of someone’s earnings pretty much says it all, even in California! And no children are mentioned.

These well written curious stories, always send me to Wiki. And you would think a bankable Star would have a challenging resume following MASH's high point. And yet she stuck to television (TV Movies) and game shows. And Love Boat! One can imagine, having turned into a homebody (Needlework is her craft). But living the balance of those years (perhaps) disillusioned, is sad. And one would have to become more than happy with living a solitary and rewarding lifestyle.

Perhaps MeTV’s most notable story on LS, was the one where she said she was giving up interviews. Either because they were asking the same questions, or irrelevant questions. And I wonder if they were around that period of time, or thereafter. Am guessing a very self-confident, independent thinker, just hoping she found happiness along the way. Certainly giving her fans, endless hours of enjoyment, thank you Loretta Swit.

[ deleted and replaced, corrected the spelling of her last name ]
Andybandit 3 months ago
No Frank or Donald. I don't remember this guy that Margaret liked.
justjeff 3 months ago
...So "Houlihan" became Mrs. Holahan... Hmmmm......
RobertM justjeff 3 months ago
"Hot Lips" Holahan would be more like it.
justjeff RobertM 3 months ago
Touche!
MrsPhilHarris 3 months ago
Interesting story. Maybe it’s me but I’m not sure couples should split earnings 50-50 after 12 years of marriage and no kids. If one spouse worked to support the other’s dream such as the first Mrs. Stallone, and raised the kids, yeah give her 50%, but to expect to get 8 grand a month seems a bit unfair, unless he gave up his career to be a stay at home husband.
Pacificsun MrsPhilHarris 3 months ago
Well said! But that's California. Community property. And it could work in reverse where the wife expects 50% of the husbands pay. In this case, it does seem like taking advantage of her "Hollywood" salaried advantage.
Rick MrsPhilHarris 3 months ago
It’s one thing when the spouses are both new to the industry and one stays home and raises the children while the other works in the industry. Buts it’s quite another when the more successful person has the history and years of working that Loretta Swit had. For a working husband to expect 50% of her earnings after just a few years of marriage and NO children is just wrong.
MrsPhilHarris Rick 3 months ago
I agree.
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