Gary Burghoff played cuddly radio operator Radar O'Reilly on "M*A*S*H," a TV sitcom based on the 1970 movie about United States Army surgeons coping with the Korean War. Three-quarters of American TV households tuned in for the show's finale on Feb. 28, 1983, still a record.
The actor's 1967 lead role in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" landed Burghoff in "M*A*S*H," the film. It became a TV series in 1974.
Radar's on-screen affection for animals reflected Burghoff's real-life passion. He won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in 1977, but left eight years into the show's 11-year run.
He went on theater tours, settling in northern California with his wife, children, and animals. There he began a new career as a wildlife artist. His paintings are on display nationwide. He still does commercials and other projects.
"Being so identified as one character has been a double-edged sword," Burghoff told the Monitor by phone recently. "It's opened some doors, but closed others."
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