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Loretta Swit

The Governor's Ball following the
41st Annual Emmy Awards, 1989.
Born November 4, 1937 (1937-11-04) (age 72)
Passaic, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1967–present
Spouse(s) Dennis Holahan (1983–1995)
Official website

Loretta Swit (born November 4, 1937) is an American stage and television actress known for her character roles. The naturally blonde Swit is best-known for her two-time Emmy-winning portrayal of Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on M*A*S*H.


Early life

Swit was born in Passaic, New Jersey of Polish descent. She studied with Gene Frankel in Manhattan and considered him her acting coach. She regularly returned to his studio to speak with aspiring actors throughout her career. Swit is also a singer who trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before entering the theater. She graduated from Pope Pius XII High School in Passaic, NJ, in 1955.


In 1967, Swit toured with the national company of Any Wednesday, starring Gardner McKay. She would continue as one of the Pigeon sisters opposite Don Rickles and Ernest Borgnine in a Los Angeles run of The Odd Couple.

In 1975, Swit played in Same Time, Next Year on Broadway opposite Ted Bessell. She also performed on Broadway in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. From there, she played Agnes Gooch in the Las Vegas version of Mame, starring Susan Hayward and later, Celeste Holm. Most recently, Swit has toured with The Vagina Monologues.

In October–November 2003, she starred as the title character in North Carolina Theatre[1] production of Mame in Raleigh, North Carolina.


When Swit arrived in Hollywood in 1970, she performed in television shows, including Gunsmoke, Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, and Mannix.


Starting in 1972, Swit played Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan in the television series M*A*S*H. She inherited the star-making role from actress Sally Kellerman, who portrayed Houlihan in the feature film. Swit, Alan Alda, Jamie Farr, and William Christopher stayed for all 11 seasons of the show, from 1972 to 1983.

She and Alda were the only two actors to have been on the pilot episode and the finale; she appeared in all but 11 of the total of 251 episodes. Swit received two Emmy Awards for her work on M*A*S*H. Later, she was also the first M*A*S*H star to visit South Korea, when she narrated the documentary Korea, the Forgotten War.

Cagney & Lacey

In 1981, Swit played the "Cagney" role in the movie pilot for the television series Cagney & Lacey, but was precluded by contractual obligations from continuing the role; therefore, actress Sharon Gless eventually replaced her on the series.

Other TV work

Swit also guest-starred in shows such as The Love Boat, Match Game, Pyramid, and Hollywood Squares. She also starred in Christmas programs such as the television version of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and 1987's PBS Special A Christmas Calendar.[2] Loretta's latest appearance was on GSN Live on October 10, 2008.

Personal life

Swit married actor Dennis Holahan in 1983 and divorced him in 1995. Holahan played Per Johannsen, a Swedish diplomat who became briefly involved with Swit's character in an episode of M*A*S*H. Swit has not remarried and has no children.

Swit has written a book on needlepoint (A Needlepoint Scrapbook). Swit is a very strong advocate for animals and animal rights, donating much of her time to animal-related causes.

In her 1986 book A Needlepoint Scrapbook, she declares that "We are Ms. Pac-Man fanatics in our house." She owns a Ms. Pac-Man machine. The book also includes a Ms. Pac-Man needlepoint design.

Awards and honours


External links

Simple English

Loretta Swit
File:Loretta Swit at the Governor's Ball following the 41st Annual Emmy Awards
The Governor's Ball following the 41st Annual Emmy Awards, 1989
Born November 4, 1937 (1937-11-04) (age 73)
Passaic, New Jersey, U.S.
Spouse Dennis Holahan (1983-1995)
Awards Hollywood Walk of Fame
6338 Hollywood Boulevard

Loretta Swit (born November 4 1937) is an American actress. She is most famous for her role as Margaret Houlihan on the M*A*S*H TV series.

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