Gary Burghoff's hometown once offered to declare a ''Gary Burghoff Day'' to celebrate the M*A*S*H actor — here's why he refused

Why Burghoff said no to what some consider the opportunity of a lifetime.

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

Like it or not, the place where you were raised had some effect on the person that you grew up to be. Sure, if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can achieve anything you want to, and sometimes that can be because of your hometown, or in spite of it. Plenty of stars might move to Hollywood for their work, but they'll still be sure to put in a good word here and there about the town they grew up in. Andy Griffith, for example, was always quick to celebrate his southern roots. But for some other people, a hometown can simply be a place you lived as a child, and a place that you're all too happy to forget as soon as you leave. It really just depends on your experience.

Gary Burghoff spent his childhood in more than one place. According to the book T.V Close-Ups by Peggy Herz, Burghoff moved from Connecticut to a town in Washington because of his father's job. By the time the family made the move, Burghoff was already nurturing a burgeoning career in the arts. He said, "I was in many school plays, but I was never a lead. Most of us ended up in bit parts — usually, the scholastically oriented kids got the big roles."

However, Burghoff's high school didn't place a great deal of importance on the arts, a slight that upset Burghoff years later. He explained, "I was always interested in the arts, but when I was in high school you'd get like one half-credit for art, and no credit for drama. A lot of gifted kids were given no training at all in the arts." Burghoff also noted that it was an attitude that wasn't limited to the school he attended. He said, "That came from the old idea of not attaching too much importance to dreaming or imagination. Learning your ABCs so you can earn a lot of money seemed to be more important!"

When Burghoff became a star on M*A*S*H for his role as Radar O'Reilly, his old hometown seemed eager to celebrate his success, and asked Burghoff if he'd be willing to sign off on a "Gary Burghoff Day," where the actor would be celebrated in town. However, when pressed, Burghoff refused. 

He explained, "I said no, not until the school system gives proper credit for the arts. I'm not going to do public relations for a town unless the town shows some respect for my profession."

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3 Comments

harlow1313 2 months ago
Personally, I feel Burghoff showed dignity in rejecting his day, but for the bitterness toward school. Perhaps his ego is under control.
KawiVulc 2 months ago
I would tell them that I would be honored if they took my suggestion which would be to take that day and instead honor their police force, fire fighters, EMTs, etc.
McGillahooala 2 months ago
Some people. Sheesh. I guess places like Connecticut and Washington have to expect that when the monster you make gets loose he might turn on you.
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