Gary Richard Burghoff (born May 24, 1943) is an American actor, best known for playing the character Corporal Walter Eugene "Radar" O'Reilly in the M*A*S*H series and Charlie Brown in the 1967 off-Broadway musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Life and career
Burghoff was born in Bristol, Connecticut and got his start in both acting and drumming during his high school years in Delavan, Wisconsin. He later was the drummer for a band called The Relatives in 1968. Actress Lynda Carter was the band's singer. The group opened at the Sahara Hotel and Casino lounge in Las Vegas, Nevada for three months. Remaining friends, Lynda helped cast him in an episode of her later hit series Wonder Woman, in the 1978 episode "The Man Who Wouldn't Tell".
Although several actors from the original MASH film made guest appearances in the television series, Burghoff was the only actor cast as a regular.
He left M*A*S*H after season 7 because of burnout and a desire to spend more time with his family, though he returned in season 8 to film a special 2-part farewell episode, "Goodbye Radar". Castmate Mike Farrell tried to convince Burghoff to stay on the show, citing the lacklustre careers of former M*A*S*H regulars Larry Linville and McLean Stevenson after their departures. Burghoff was nominated for 6 Emmy Awards for the show in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and, of those nominations, he won an Emmy in 1977.
In the episode "Showtime", Radar is seen playing a solo on the drums. It is a misconception that the sound was dubbed in; it was Gary Burghoff's actual performance.
Burghoff also frequently appeared on the game show Match Game in the 1970s, both as a stand-in for regular Charles Nelson Reilly and also as the "special male guest" occupying seat one. He often sat in for Reilly from late 1974 until Match Game episode 471 when Reilly returned in 1975 from Broadway. He appeared in 248 episodes of Match Game through its daytime run, syndicated run, and the nighttime version of the show. 215 episodes daytime, 18 episodes on Match Game PM (nighttime), and 15 episodes during the syndicated version.
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