McLean Stevenson said that he had a ''love-hate'' relationship with Gary Burghoff

The two weren't as close as Blake and Radar were on screen.

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

While television can be a fun escape from reality every once in a while, it's important that, as a viewer, you understand that much of the content portrayed comes from a place of fiction. The actors on screen are not factually best friends, no matter how much they appear to be, or how much you'd like them to be in real life. Like any other occupation, an actor's work is sometimes filled with as much trouble as it is with joy.

While a majority of the cast of M*A*S*H got along swimmingly with each other, the show wasn't without its problems. You don't get to eleven seasons on a network without your fair share of issues.

Notably, while the series was an ensemble show, actors like McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers were rumored to have left the series because they couldn't wrangle the spotlight that seemed to shine on Alan Alda, who played Hawkeye.

In an interview with the Hartford Courant, Rogers' manager, Arthur Gregory, spoke on his client's departure.

"There is simply no need for Wayne to subject himself any longer to that nonsense," he said. In response, M*A*S*H producer Gene Reynolds couldn't help but disagree. "Wayne has not been deprived," he said. "He was in nearly every scene and I don't think he has any justifiable complaints."

Mclean Stevenson, for his part, didn't seem to hold any animosity toward Alda and felt that he got along with most of the cast, save for one person. Stevenson claimed that he had a love-hate relationship with actor Gary Burghoff, best known for playing Colonel Blake's right-hand man, Radar O'Reilly.

"Probably, of the six of us he did the best job as an actor," Stevenson said of Burghoff to the Kingston Whig-Standard. "He's a brilliant actor. But sometimes I was a problem for him and he sometimes was a problem for me." Stevenson didn't explain further but was willing to admit there were times when he let his character's popularity inflate his ego a bit, a quality that he could, in hindsight, admit was wrong.

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24 Comments

mcharris 10 days ago
In Sharon Gless's memoir she reveals that when she took over the role on House Calls previously held by Lynn Redgrave, Wayne Rogers was not pleasant to work with. An opinion shared by Ms. Redgrave when she left the show.
sagafrat69 mcharris 10 days ago
Rogers was offered the lead role in "Trapper John MD" and turned it down. He hated Hollywood so much that he kind of shot himself in the foot so to speak on many roles he could've had. It's a head scratcher. In the MASH finale, I wish Hawkeye could've read a letter from Trapper with maybe Rogers agreeing to do a voice over. That would've been a fitting end to his participation to the series. He had talent that was really kind of wasted. As you mentioned he had an attitude problem so it's not that big of a surprise he had problems with other actors on other shows.
QazWiz sagafrat69 9 days ago
Rogers was envious but didn't understand he was Alda's Ed McMahon ... yes Alda was "parr" with Johnny Carson. (pun intended)

if you make millions standing on the king's coattails .... superglue yourself there
DocQuatermass 12 days ago
I've read a couple different places that Burghoff was difficult to work with on the M*A*S*H series. It's a shame he left. Radar was the hub of the series. Pernell Roberts was given the lead in the M*A*S*H spinoff hour long medical drama Trapper John with the understanding he would not be as difficult as he was on the series, Bonanza.

The pilot for the spinoff series, Walter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS8Vd1vVqXc
wanderer2575 12 days ago
< Stevenson didn't explain further but was willing to admit there were times when he let his character's popularity inflate his ego a bit, a quality that he could, in hindsight, admit was wrong. >

He said in an interview that he realized too late (after he had left the series) that while fans loved Henry Blake they didn't care at all about McLean Stevenson.
Charlotte 15 days ago
If you watch Gary Burghoff on the Match Games he was not "Radar" at all. That's called good acting.
LabLove Charlotte 15 days ago
Totally different person for sure!
Jerryfan 15 days ago
It's not too surprising as I've heard that other actors had trouble with him as well.
JamesB 15 days ago
Wayne Rogers was never the reason for watching M*A*S*H*. Trapper was a great supporting character but it wasn't a 50/50 share with Hawkeye. The TV producers made a brilliant decision to turn the show away from the limited character and plot potential of the original feature film.
musicman37 15 days ago
Well, Vivian Vance and William Frawley hated each other, but the chemistry and professionalism in their performances speaks for itself.
I read that Desi Arnaz offered Frawley and Vance a spinoff "Fred and Ethel' series after the end of I Love Lucy in 1957. Frawley was willing to do it with her, but Vance couldn't stand to work with him again, and that was the end of that series!
Avie 15 days ago
"'There is simply no need for Wayne to subject himself any longer to that nonsense,' he said. In response, M*A*S*H producer Gene Reynolds couldn't help but disagree. 'Wayne has not been deprived," he said. "He was in nearly every scene and I don't think he has any justifiable complaints.'"

It actually began earlier than that: when Rogers was signed to play Trapper, he was (so he said) under the impression that the show would revolve around the character, as it mainly did in the feature film with Elliot Gould's Trapper the focus of attention, only to have the series' focus shift to Alan Alda the moment the studio signed him.
ncadams27 Avie 14 days ago
He discussed this with Tina Louise.
RogueZ 16 days ago
All of the actors did well. Gary's on-screen persona was incredible.
I though Alan Alda's Hawkeye had too much screen time, although his acting was super.
For him the physic problem that he faced about the women smothering the baby on the bus to keep the North from hearing him was really moving.
jmworacle 16 days ago
Gary Burghoff seemed to rub the cast the wrong way while the preceived jerk Larry Linnville was easy to get along with.
jmworacle 16 days ago
It seemed Gary Burghoff had that effect on the rest of the cast. I thought I heard that after he left the series he tried to return after the year was up and was turned down.
Wiseguy70005 jmworacle 16 days ago
Never heard that, but even if true, how could they possibly write him back into the series after such a big sendoff? It would have been silly.
sagafrat69 16 days ago
Maybe someone from MeTV could talk to Burghoff and ask the question twhat was not answered. What the heck happened between them? Stevenson was going through a divorce when he left and thought the audience loved him more than the character he played. Big mistake. Burghoff I suspect suffered from a "short guy- little man" complex. He was probably teased as a child. Yet both were incredible actors because it appears they were nothing like the good guy characters they portrayed.
I saw a repeat of "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" that McLean was a guest with Johnny. McLean mentioned how he thought he was the person other producers would want to star in another series, but he found out it was his Col. Blake character they loved, not him so much!
Stevenson was one of the rotating guest hosts that Carson had then. My mom and her friends saw a taping of the show when Mac was guest hosting. He was told Carson was ready to leave soon and he'd be considered for the permanent job. NBC through him a lot of money for his own show and he took the bait. Wish we could've had a few more seasons of Henry Blake but unfortunately didn't work out for him or us.
ncadams27 17 days ago
The article didn’t explain any more than what was already stated in the title.
McGillahooala ncadams27 16 days ago
Their articles are all that way.
WordsmithWorks 17 days ago
I have frequently read that Burghoff was difficult. He, Rogers and Stevenson sure bit the hand that fed them.
AH76 WordsmithWorks 16 days ago
Gary Burghoff's problem was that he wanted to spend more time with his family and maybe that's why he was so difficult to work with because he was missing his family so much.
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