Gary Burghoff, who played the iconic character Radar in the hit TV series MAS*H, decided to surrender his career to fix his family that was slowly breaking down.
The Emmy-winning actor, now 79 years old, recently became a grandfather when his son, Miles “Sonar” Burghoff, had a baby girl. Miles is a professional angler and his father passed on his love for fishing.
The younger Burghoff revealed he was dubbed Sonar because of his father’s character. Miles and his brother Jordan are the sons of Burghoff and his second wife, Elizabeth Bolstrom, whom he married in 1985 and divorced in 2005. Burghoff also has a daughter, Gena Gayle Burghoff, born in 1985, with his first wife, Janet Gayle, whom he divorced in 1979.
Burghoff left MAS*H, refusing several offers for roles in 1980s sitcoms, to focus on regional theater, which allowed him to spend more time with his family. He appeared in the hit TV series as Cpl. Walter ‘Radar’ O’Reilly, a naïve farm boy working as the company clerk and sometimes bugler with the US Army’s Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) during the Korean War.
He played the character in both the TV series and the film adaptation.
Burghoff appeared in every episode for the first three seasons, but his demanding schedule took a toll on his family, leading to reducing his character’s appearances to 13 episodes.
The seventh season marked Radar’s departure, with a two-part farewell episode that explained his discharge from the army. The director of MAS*H, Charles S. Dubin, said Burghoff had trouble with his wife at the time, and the Goodbye Radar episodes, where the character had to say good-bye to the woman he loved, were difficult for him to shoot.
After leaving MAS*H, Burghoff declined a $4 million contract to reprise his role in spinoff series, but the money eventually ran out, leaving him near bankruptcy. He then decided to start painting North American wildlife, producing canvas oil paintings displayed in galleries, which sold for $25,000 each.
Four years ago, Burghoff supported a GoFundMe campaign for people affected by the California fires. His son Jordan posted a video of him looking older, which had fans praising his acting and efforts. Today, you can find his artwork at auction.