The beloved 1972 sitcom “MAS*H” brought to life several iconic characters, from the witty yet empathetic Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce to his lovable comrade, Captain B.J. Hunnicutt. These characters made lasting impressions on viewers.

Corporal Walter Eugene “Radar” O’Reilly, the 4077 MASH unit’s company clerk, although often underestimated by his military peers due to his timid demeanor, captured the hearts of the audience. Despite being frequently overlooked on the base, Radar’s contributions did not go unnoticed by fans.

Gary Burghoff portrayed Radar from the series’ inception in 1972 until his departure in the seventh season in 1979. Burghoff stepped away from the role to focus on personal relationships and recover from professional exhaustion.

While Burghoff enjoyed his time as Radar, the role eventually became burdensome. Publicly, he struggled to distinguish himself from Radar, a challenge that grew tiresome. He expressed his frustration with being perpetually perceived as endearing due to his small stature, saying, “Aw, I know I’m cute. Cute, cute, CUTE! I was always cute because I was always the smallest kid on the block. I hate cute.”


Burghoff often had to defend his height, arguing that at 5 feet 6 inches, he was not exceptionally short. He humorously noted that he would have towered over celebrities like Arte Johnson or Mickey Rooney had they met.

Despite his frustrations, Burghoff did not let these perceptions hinder his acting career. His congenital disability, Brachydactyly, part of Poland Syndrome, left him with notably smaller fingers on his left hand — a challenge from childhood that he acknowledged made him feel unique.

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