Gary Burghoff’s bio: age, career, net worth, wife and children

Gary Burghoff’s bio: age, career, net worth, wife and children

Gary Burghoff is an actor, wildlife painter, drummer and songwriter. He received an Emmy Award for acting as Radar O'Reilly on the CBS TV series/movie MASH. Gary has also featured on The Love Boat, Match Game, Daniel’s Lot, and more movies and TV series.

Gary Burghoff
Burghoff wearing glasses. Photo: @gettv_official
Source: Instagram

Gary Burgoff was born with deformed fingers, which never stopped him from doing what he loved. Besides his commendable acting accomplishments, he is a globally recognized wildlife painter and a drummer for several renowned bands. Most of his paintings cost a fortune.

Profile summary

Full nameGary Rich Burghoff
Date of birthMay 24, 1943
Zodiac signGemini
Place of birth Bristol, USA
CareerActor, jazz musician, inventor, wildlife artist, and songwriter
FatherRony Burghoff
MotherAnna Burghoff
BrotherDavid Burghoff
Marital statusDivorced
Relationship statusSingle
Former spousesJanet Gayle (1971-1979), Elizabeth Bostrom (1985-2005)
DaughterGena Gale Burghoff
SonsRodney and Ann Burghoff
Height5 feet 5.5 inches (1.66 m)
Hair colourBurnt auburn
Eye colourGrey
Net worth$6 million

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Who is Gary Burghoff?

He is a famous American actor, jazz musician, inventor, wildlife artist, and songwriter. He was born in Bristol, Connecticut, USA, on May 24, 1934, to Anna (mother) and Rony Burghoff (father).

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Rony was an employee of a clock company, while Anna was a local theatre dancer, choreographer, scriptwriter, poet, songwriter, and theatre play director.

Gary accompanied his mother to her rehearsals from a young age. The singers, tap dancers, musicians, and other stage performers would fascinate him.

Gary and his brother David grew up in a Victorian house in Forestville, where the siblings shared a room. David is six years older than Gary.

How old is Gary Burghoff?

Gary Burghoff's age is 79 years old as of July 2022.

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How tall is Gary Burghoff?

Gary Burghoff's height is 5ft 5.5 inches (1.66 m). He has grey eyes and burnt auburn hair colour.

What happened to Gary Burghoff's hand?

Gary was born with Poland syndrome, which caused brachydactyly. Hence, three of his fingers are significantly smaller than the rest, and he hid them behind a clipboard while acting on the MASH TV series. Due to this condition, drumming and painting were impressive achievements.

Education and professional training

Gary was artistically-talented since childhood. He moved from his hometown, Bristol, to Delavan, Wisconsin, during his sophomore year at Delavan-Darien High School to study dance and drumming.

Gary Burgoff
Burghoff. Photo: @lorettaswit
Source: UGC

While in high school, Burgoff drummed for the Bud Wilber Orchestra at the Milwaukee nightclubs. After completing high school, the Belfry Players helped the boy polish his acting skills in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

Gary also went to HB Studio in New York City for professional acting training. He was trained by Sanford Meisner, James Tuttle, and Charles Nelson Reilly.

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His career debuted in 1967 in an off-Broadway production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Gary joined The Relatives band as a drummer in 1968 and later formed a jazz band called The We Three.

He stopped the drumming profession upon landing a role in the CBS' MASH film in 1970, which later became a series. Gary received six Emmy Awards nominations for playing Radar O'Reilly. Eventually, their role gave him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1977.

Why did Gary Burghoff leave MASH?

He was on Mash for seven seasons and left in 1979 because the daily demands of an industry made him feel he could never give enough.

When Burghoff was away filming the series, his wife and daughter almost perished in a California brush fire. Firefighters contained the fire when it had already razed into Gary's ranch property. It miraculously stopped near his house's back door.

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Gary returned in season 8 for a special two-part farewell episode, Goodbye Radar. Fans hoped he would return for an episode or two every season, but that never happened.

Burghoff had decided to leave MASH before the incident. Hence, the fire made him realize he needed to be close to his family.

Gary Burghoff's movies and TV shows

After Burghoff left MASH, he appeared in numerous game shows, including Match Game, Showoffs, and Liar's Club. He also played in more films like B.S. I Love You and Daniel's Lot.

He retired from acting in 2010 to focus on his well-being and family. Here is a table of Burghoff's movies and TV shows throughout his career life:


1970MASHCpl. "Radar" O'Reilly
1971B.S. I Love YouTed
1979The Man in the Santa Claus SuitBob Wills
1980C*asinoBill Taylor
1992Small KillFleck / Lady Esmerelda
1995Behind the WaterfallMr Connors
2010Daniel's LotPastor Mahoney

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1967 NET PlayhouseBoy
1969The Good GuysMike Butterworth
1970The Name of the GameWatson
1972–79MASHCpl. Walter "Radar" O'Reilly
1973Love, American StyleSydney Melvin Wimple / Wilbur Wright
1974–75InsightMilo / Mombo
1974–75Match GameGary Burghoff
1976Ellery QueenGerald Hacker
1977The Love BoatDonald M. Flanders
1978America 2-NightHimself
1978Fantasy IslandRichard C. Delaney
1978The New Adventures of Wonder WomanAlan
1979$weepstake$Roscoe Fuller
1980Fantasy IslandGordon Hughes
1981The Love BoatEddie Martin
1981Tales of the UnexpectedHarry Flock
1984AfterMASHWalter "Radar" O'Reilly
1984WALTERWalter "Radar" O'Reilly
1995Burke's LawPatrick Noyes

Gary Burghoff's paintings

Burghoff learned how to paint on his own, and his wildlife paintings earned him global recognition worldwide as time went by.

For instance, he received a Hallmark Award for the 1961 painting ‘’Men of Jazz’’ and represented Wisconsin in the Hallmark Student Art Exhibit in Washington, D.C.

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Gary's paintings represent his love for wildlife. He took a license to care for wounded ones and was honoured to choose a postal stamp for the United States hunters in 1993.

Is Gary Burghoff still alive?

Fake news about Gary Burghoff's death filled the air in March 2022 after Donald Shaffer's death. He was a company clerk at Dr Richard Hornberger's army evac hospital.

Richard wrote the best-selling book M*A*S*H using a pseudonym, and Donald inspired him to write the Radar O'Reilly character. The book was later turned into a film and TV series.

Who is Gary Burghoff's wife?

Burghoff is a Christian and a dedicated father. He turned down several lucrative deals in the film industry so that fame would not tear him away from his family, but he still encountered two rocky marriages.

Gary married Janet Gayle in 1971 and had a daughter named Gena Gale Burghoff, born on July 20, 1975, in Santa Monica, California, USA. Since leaving MASH could not save the marriage, the couple split in 1979.

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Burghoff lost his father while dealing with the divorce and struggling as an actor. Hence, the man moved with his daughter to his home town, Connecticut, to start over as a single-parent family.

Gena is now a successful actress, model, and television personality. Studying the Bible helped her father overcome dark times. Gary married Elisabeth Bostrom in 1985, and they had two sons, Miles Burghoff and Jordan Burghoff.

The second marriage ended in 2005 because of a communication gap between them. Elisabeth did not share the same Christian beliefs with her husband. As a result, she moved to California with their sons.

Gary had planned to return to his New England roots but decided to move to California so they could raise their kids together. He lived down the street from his estranged wife for 12 years.

Gary Burgoff's paintings
Gary playing with an animal. Photo: @tenzcompanion
Source: Instagram

What does Gary Burghoff do now?

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Burghoff is single, has a close relationship with his children and keeps two principles, Christian fellowship and the Word. He usually travels around the world to promote wildlife-related causes.

How rich is Gary Burghoff?

Gary Burghoff's net worth is around $6 million.

How much money did Gary Burghoff make on MASH?

The show gave him a $4 million contract in 1979 (about $15 million in today's economy), but he rejected the deal because he still wouldn't have been its highest-earning cast member.

Alan Alda took the contract, earned $5.6 million per season for his role, Hawkeye, and joined the play's writing team. Meanwhile, the show paid Carroll O'Connor $4.8 million per season to play the role of Archie Bunker's Place.

Are Gary Burghoff and Alan Alda friends?

Alda created a podcast reunion in February 2019 with his former MASH castmates Gary Burghoff, Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr, and Mike Farrell. The actors said they were all still friends.

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Did Radar play the drums on MASH?

Gary showcased his drumming skills while the role of Radar on this CBS TV series. Additionally, he drummed in some Off-Broadway productions he featured in.

Fun facts about Gary Burghoff

  • Gary enjoys fishing and playing baseball.
  • He invented a fishing tackle called Chum Magic and a toilet seat lifting handle.
  • The legend wrote more than 100 songs.
  • He received the ASCAP Award for Excellence three times.

Gary Burghoff is a veteran actor and renowned wildlife painter. He is a strong believer in God, the scriptures, and Christianity. The veteran actor also put his family first throughout his career life.

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