After M*A*S*H ended, Loretta Swit got fed up and declared all these interview questions off-limits

No. 1 on the list: Do not even think about asking about M*A*S*H!

Read to Me

In the sixth season of M*A*S*H, there came an episode where Major Margaret Houlihan seriously worried she might be pregnant.

The only logical solution to test if she was pregnant or not? Obviously, Hawkeye had to perform surgery to extract the ovaries from Radar's pet rabbit to perform a pregnancy test.

In "What's Up, Doc?", Loretta Swit performed one of Margaret's most complicated moments when she confronts the reality that having a baby might end her military career. According to an interview that year with the Associated Press, Swit actually ended up with an odd little keepsake from this particular episode.

"I got a pewter rabbit from the woman whose idea it was that Margaret think she's pregnant and the only available rabbit for the test was Radar's pet," Swit said.

Swit never named the woman who gifted her the pewter rabbit, but she said that this memento led her to start a collection of pewter and silver rabbits. So next time you watch this particular episode, remember that Radar's rabbit's sacrifice left a much longer impression on Margaret than you might think!

For Swit, in early interviews when she was appearing on M*A*S*H, the actor was generous, sharing with reporters intimate details from her life, both behind the scenes of the show and beyond.

In 1975, the UPI called Swit chatty and listed off the things she spoke about during their interview: "Loretta Swit — 5-foot-5, 117 pounds, ash blonde, green eyes — loves to talk. She also loves Szechuan food, cooking, reading, old horror movies, collecting porcelain figures, tennis, needlepoint, painting in watercolor, charcoal sketching, Renoir, Pissarro and Edward Hopper."

However, it turns out that as Swit did more and more interviews, she began to grow less chatty and more tight-lipped. By 1995, Swit was done talking about a lot of stuff in her life, including M*A*S*H.

A reporter for The Los Angeles Times wrote in 1995 (under the catty headline "Major Houlihan to Major Bummer") that an interview request with Swit generated a list of guidelines the reporter would have to follow if they wanted to talk to the actor.

Why was Swit so distant after so much time? She said the press had abused her, and she refused to do interviews with anyone who wouldn't sign a written form promising not to abuse her.

"If you can agree that you can abide by these guidelines, we will arrange an interview with Ms. Swit," her press team promised the Times reporter.

Among the guidelines was a strict order not to ask about M*A*S*H, as well as guidelines for how to refer to Swit's M*A*S*H character, should the writer feel they must mention M*A*S*H in their story.

"There is no real purpose served by questions relating to Ms. Swit's role as Major Margaret Houlihan in the television series M*A*S*H, which ended 12 years ago," the form read, continuing to say, "If there is any reference in your piece to Ms. Swit's role in M*A*S*H, her character is not to be referred to as the derogatory 'Hot Lips'; she should be referred to as 'Major Margaret Houlihan.'"

The form goes on to almost point directly to Swit stories like that Inquirer piece quoted above as being guilty of very bad behavior.

"Ms. Swit's personal life and privacy are not the topic of this interview, therefore we ask that these aspects of her life be respected. We ask that you refrain from asking such questions as those which relate to where she lives, past, present or future romances, hair color… age, family, weight, height, religion, and other questions of personal and private nature."

The Times reporter declined to interview Swit because of all the rules, and it's likely that many others made the same decision, contributing to the mystique that has long surrounded Swit, who is perhaps the most guarded out of all the M*A*S*H cast. Not much is known about her personal life.

In 1978, though, Swit was still feeling chatty enough to spill a little to the Associated Press. She told the newspaper that she called her house "Chateau M*A*S*H" and although she lived alone, she usually had no trouble finding company.

"I have boyfriends, and I was almost married recently," Swit said.

Comparing herself to Margaret in 1978, Swit said there were certain aspects of the character that resonated true to her nature, too.

"We're both career ladies," Swit said. "We both like to be efficient. I appreciate sensuality. I share certain feelings by wanting to be peaceful and with one person. I think Margaret wants to stop running around and wants her marriage to work."

Although shortly after M*A*S*H ended, Swit was less inclined to discuss what went on in her home life, her interviews in the Seventies provide a brief window into her personal world, where she was apparently surrounded by pewter rabbits and, like many of us, could frequently be found posted up on her couch late into the night.

"I'm a real horror movie buff," Swit said in 1975. "I like the old horror movies, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney. If there’s something on TV at 3:30 in the morning that I like, I'll stay up for that."

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Coldnorth 3 days ago
I don’t blame her for not answering questions on her private life. But she should be happy to answer questions about MASH. Fans and viewers made her a favorite and she should keep that in mind
denny 3 months ago
Can't ask her any personal questions and can't ask her about MASH, interview over.

Heard an interview with her a couple of years ago, she's a NUT, and made me like her less than I already did.
BobInBG78 3 months ago
So because of interview guidelines , Baba Wawa started asking celebs questions like "If you were a twee, what kinda would you be?"!?!
CouchPotato19 4 months ago
She sounds like a very cool lady by my estimation. Never cared for MASH, though. Her first hubby's last name is Holahan. That's ironic.
Andybandit 4 months ago
Interesting story. I liked Margret after Frank left. She was nicer on the show.
LaDolceVita 4 months ago
It must be very hard to be an actor who is good at her craft. You become famous then people want to know everything about you. You can have no privacy. I don't blame her for not wanting to talk to people she does not want to be abused by them and there nosy questons.
texasluva LaDolceVita 3 months ago
!!Wanted!! but preferred Alive
Those that wish to participate in the Weekly Movie Quiz.
Conversation as to what this movie might be. Along with a music vids, Movie trailers, Bonus movies, cartoons or Humorous items.
Winners name in MeTV Lights
Just plain ole fun
Friday Night....Friday Night .....We all get together on Friday Night!
Let's go to: Can you guess which classic Western these child stars are in?
No later then 10:00 P.M CT (start time)
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LaDolceVita 4 months ago
That is a vary vulgar comment. You should be ashamed for posting this. Please delete this it has no place here. Thank you.
JKMallaber 4 months ago
I don't believe actors, artists, and other such public figures owe us anything but the best job they can offer, something we all should strive for, if I may say so. Anything extra they give us is a gift indeed, and we do wrong to exploit it.

Also, on more than one occasion, I've been turned sour upon learning of some public figures' private leanings. Short of anything criminal, I don't need to know.
Greg 4 months ago
Can't blame her some of the stupid questions they ask.
The person that's the worst off is Bill Shatner. Having guest stared in countless shows and staring in 3 programs he is only recognized for Star Trek. How many times can you hear "beam me up Scotty" before you start flipping people off?
Adanor Greg 4 months ago
Do you ask your plumber about his personal life? So why do you need to find out about the personal life of actors and actresses?
Coldnorth Greg 3 days ago
My favorite role Shatner played was the twilight episode where he saw the hairy monster on the plane wing.that’s what I would ask him about
Brian 4 months ago
She's a great lady in the eyes of many here in the Buffalo NY area because she's visited Western NY multiple times, such as to walk in parades, especially to represent her Polish-American heritage. Kudos to Ms. Swit for that!

Brian 4 months ago
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harlow1313 Wilbur88 4 months ago
'Cause down the shore everything's all right
You and your baby on a Saturday night
Nothing matters in this whole wide world
When you're in love with a Jersey girl

-Tom Wauts
AngeliaKim 4 months ago
Without her Role on "M*A*S*H", she would be a nobody. A few appearances on "Gunsmoke" are the only other things I know her from.
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Corey EllisClevenger 4 months ago
Loretta Swit got screwed by the producers by not being let out of her contract to join Cagney and Lacey. M*A*S*H was clearly winding down although I see their point they can't afford another major cast member.
AngeliaKim 4 months ago
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Wiseguy EllisClevenger 3 months ago
Of course, that should be 1981, not 1972.
That's what finally ticked her off. The Cagney part was a plum, and she wanted it, but M*A*S*H wouldn't let her out of her contract. I can't blame her for not wanting to talk about M*A*S*H, or anything else about her life, for that matter.
glennh3365 4 months ago
No fan of the Media here, so I can understand.
musicman37 4 months ago
I know these are "public figures", and as such, they are subject to a certain amount of scrutiny. But think about it: what if all of a sudden your life were subjected to as much perusal and (in the extreme) had people following you 24/7, jumping out of bushes for photo ops, and digging through your garbage? I think you'd clam up in a hurry as well, and I don't blame anyone for that. Although certain actors and singers get very hot, very quickly, they are just people in the long run, and if they are not so forthcoming with information/interviews, it's understandable, they have lives to lead too. A certain amount of "the public wanting to know" is OK, but it reaches insane levels at times.
Pacificsun 4 months ago
With so many eccentricities, it's no wonder she decided to clam up. Somebody with more experience must've given her some wise advice.
lynngdance Pacificsun 3 months ago
You are invited to my Connecting The Dots Quiz! Saturday 05/29/2021 at The Giant Gomer Pyle quiz! (Since it’s been like a century since I did a quiz, there will be two questions this time so it’ll be extra fun 😁 (hopefully 😜)
lynngdance lynngdance 3 months ago
Whoopsy, forgot to mention, the quiz will be (starting at) 8:00 PM 😆😝
Pacificsun lynngdance 3 months ago
Got the Quiz, got the time.

But where is it going to be?

I'll be there!
lynngdance Pacificsun 3 months ago
(Saw some of the other comments, just wanted to clarify) it’s at 8:00 PM Central Time, and it’s AT the Gomer Pyle Quiz, it’s not going to be Gomer Pyle Themed, although I am going to have one question about Gomer Pyle. 😄
lynngdance lynngdance 3 months ago

It will be in the comment section of this 🙂
MrsPhilHarris 4 months ago
I have never understood why some no longer want to discuss the role that made them famous. Yes I realize they may have a larger body of work, but don’t spit on the role that gave you fame.
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madvincent Pacificsun 4 months ago
And don’t forget that they make more money for one episode than most people make all year.....
Guess it just gets boring.
MrsPhilHarris Greg 4 months ago
I suppose so, however, to be honest besides the Cagney & Lacey made for TV movie and an episode or two of Love Boat, I have no idea what she did after MASH ended.
harlow1313 4 months ago
Well, we share an appreciation for Chinese cuisine, Edward Hopper paintings, and old horror movies (I am currently fixated on "The Bride of Frankenstein.")

I, being a private person, think I can imagine what a pain in the buttocks it is to be a celebrity.

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one's name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
- Emily Dickenson
Pacificsun harlow1313 4 months ago
You're an interesting contributor!
And I appreciate that!!
CouchPotato19 Pacificsun 4 months ago
I second that observation!
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