How Gary Burghoff beat burnout in pastoral PA

Gary Burghoff starred off-broadway at the New Hope Playhouse.

Each episode of M*A*S*H was filmed over a three-day period following a full day of rehearsals. That's a four-day commitment for a half hour of television. That means Gary Burghoff spent 720 days of his life as Radar. That's just the show, too. Burghoff also played Radar O'Reilly in the Robert Altman movie. Technically, he was also Radar in two AfterMASH episodes and the TV pilot W*A*L*T*E*R. That's a lot of time pretending to be someone else. By the time it was all over, Burghoff was due a little R&R.

After seven years on M*A*S*H, Gary Burghoff strapped a canoe to his Jeep and headed to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a historical suburb of Philadelphia. There, Burghoff found not just respite but also work, as he appeared onstage at the Bucks County Playhouse, which is still in operation to this day in New Hope. The six-time Emmy nominee starred in the two-act comedy "Bony Kern" in the theater that purports itself as "America's Most Famous Playhouse."

"One of the joys of theater is that there are always surprises," Burghoff told the Courier-Post in 1993. "The audience is always different. You play to the audience. But the audience plays to you, too." 

One of the joys of New Hope, according to Burghoff, was getting to treat the trip like a three-week vacation. Straddling the Delaware River, New Hope is a few minutes walk to Lambertville, New Jersey, full of antique shops and eclectic galleries. Burghoff enjoyed the sights with his daughter Gina, his then-fiancee Elizabeth, and their schnauzer-doodle Becky. Burghoff learned, as many visitors do, that New Hope, in addition to being a destination for community theater, is very pet friendly. 

The family's canoe was assuredly put to great use along the banks of the Delaware, where Burghoff commented he planned to "relax and do some fishing." While the viewing public eagerly anticipated Radar's return to TV, Burghoff and his family had other plans.

"I built a log cabin in Connecticut, and that's where I live with my family. I have no complaints. It's my life right now," said Burghoff.

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12 Comments

cheryl1725 13 months ago
I don't live too far from The Playhouse. Some big names perform there & some small names that turn out later to become big stars. It's a great place.
cperrynaples 13 months ago
That's an old article! Doesn't Burghoff actually live in Hawaii now?
Billreick cperrynaples 13 months ago
"...Burghoff told the Courier-Post in 1993"
cperrynaples Billreick 13 months ago
Yes, that's 30 years ago! The only time he was seen since then was the MeTV interview shown with GFAA!
LoveMETV22 cperrynaples 13 months ago
No if you check his bio on IMDb under self, he has done a few projects/appearances since 1993. He's just not as active in the entertainment field as he was years ago.
kathleenreick 13 months ago
Oh wow who knows I may have run into Mr Burghoff and not realized it!!

Great article.
harlow1313 13 months ago
I saw Don Knotts star star in "A Good Look at Boney Kern" at the Bucks County Playhouse, back in the late seventies. The play was a standard vehicle for Knotts to do the Barney schtick. I did not much care for the play.
LoveMETV22 13 months ago

Thank You MeTV- Excellent story:
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" After seven years on M*A*S*H, Gary Burghoff strapped a canoe to his Jeep and headed to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a historical suburb of Philadelphia. There, Burghoff found not just respite but also work, as he appeared onstage at the New Hope Playhouse, which is still in operation to this day."
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Believe the " New Hope Playhouse" is referring to " Bucks County Playhouse" in New Hope, PA. Looks like a few famous celebrities such as Gary Burghoff and others have graced their stage.

cperrynaples LoveMETV22 13 months ago
Just out of curiosity, was it actually possible to walk to New Jersey from New Hope? i lived in Delaware County for 30 years and it seemed to me that to get over the Delaware River you would have to use a bridge! I can confirm it is possible to walk from Pennsylvania to Delaware!
LoveMETV22 cperrynaples 13 months ago
"Just out of curiosity, was it actually possible to walk to New Jersey from New Hope?"
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There are a number of articles with that search query. I suppose you could read them and form your own conclusion!
cheryl1725 cperrynaples 13 months ago
Yes. I don't know how far of a walk it is but I do know that New Hope is right across the bridge from Lambertville. They share the shad festival every year.
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