At 80, ‘M*A*S*H’ Star Gary Burghoff Is A ‘Hardly’ Recognizable Grandfather Who Gave Up His Career To Be A Family Man

“M*A*S*H” (an acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) wasn’t only a show loved by millions of fans around the world; it was a pop culture phenomenon that transcended generations.

Even decades after the show went off the air, “M*A*S*H” has continued to resonate with fans – and pick up new ones – due to its stellar writing, enduring relevance, and, most of all, a charismatic cast whose camaraderie and hijinks almost made you wish you could be there with them.

Based on the critically acclaimed Robert Altman film of the same name released in 1970, “M*A*S*H” ran for 11 seasons from 1972 to 1983, which, in turn, was based on writer and surgeon Richard Hooker’s 1968 novel “MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors.” The show followed the story of a team of doctors and support staff stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Uijeongbu, South Korea, during the Korean War.

It made household names of all its top cast members, including Alan Alda, who played the roguishly handsome, war-weary yet endearing prankster Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, Wayne Rogers as Hawkeye’s loyal sidekick Captain “Trapper” John Francis Xavier McIntyre, and Gary Burghoff as the sweet and resourceful Walter Eugene “Radar” O’Reilly, among others.

After “M*A*S*H,” Gary continued to act, but he eventually turned away from the industry to instead focus on being a family man. Now, the 80-year-old is a proud grandfather. Although Gary’s looks have changed since fans saw him on the hit TV show, fans still can’t get enough of their beloved Radar.

Gary is best known for his role as Radar on “M*A*S*H,” but he also acted in the originating role of Charlie Brown in the off-Broadway musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” The star also went on to become a regular on the game show “Match Game.”

From 1971 to 1979, Gary was married to Janet Gayle, and the pair had one daughter together. Gary went on to marry Elisabeth Bostrom in 1985, welcoming two sons together before they eventually divorced in 2005. Bostrom later passed away in 2019, according to a touching post from her and Gary’s son, Miles “Sonar” Burghoff.

Although he had fame and fortune from his time as an actor, Gary left the spotlight to pursue other job ambitions and be more present in his family life. Gary is an inventor of Chum Magic, which is a fishing tackle invention that attracts fish toward the user’s boat. He also invented a toilet seat lifting handle. Gary also works as a philatelist — a person who studies or collects postage stamps.

The talented man also released a book titled “Gary Burghoff: To M*A*S*H and Back,” which shared more about his other skills in poetry, songwriting, musicianship and work as an artist. It also detailed the hardships of his two marriages and the challenges of being a single father.

In 2006, Gary opened up about leaving his acting career to focus on family life and said:

“Family, to me, became the most important thing. I was not available as a father because of my work. That doesn’t stop when the work stops. Whenever you go out as a family, you’re always torn from family to deal with public recognition.”

Afterward, Gary turned down many other opportunities that came his way. He briefly came out of retirement in 2010 for the film “Daniel’s Lot,” but has not acted since.

Gary’s daughter is named Gena Gale Burghoff. She has had small acting roles in a few movies and TV shows. One of Gary’s sons is Jordan Burghoff. Online, he has shared his love for tech and innovations.

According to his Instagram bio, Gary’s other son, Sonar, is a tournament angler, guide and YouTuber who loves fishing. He has given “M*A*S*H” fans a reason to smile over the years by uploading photos of himself and Gary.

Gary once said, “My son gave me the permission to accept my success.”

On March 23, 2023, Gary officially became a grandfather as Sonar welcomed his daughter Rylee Elisabeth Burghoff. He shared the heartfelt moment in an Instagram post with the caption: “I caught the best 8-pounder of my life today! Everyone meet Rylee Elisabeth Burghoff!” He added, “The emotions I felt today can only be described as real, and overwhelming.”

It’s hard to believe the man that won so many people over back in the 1970s is a grandfather! Back in 2018, Gary posted a video in support of the people affected by the California fires, and fans flooded the comment section to share their thoughts on his appearance and thank him for his support.

“Man, he aged,” one person commented. Another said, “Omg i could not believe it was radar, until i heard his voice.” Another person commented, “I hardly recognized Radar. He looks a lot like Harry Truman in his sunset years.”



What do you think about Gary Burghoff’s life today? Were you surprised to learn about how his career path changed after starring on “M*A*S*H”? Let us know, and be sure to pass this along to your family and friends.

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