Thrust into national limelight for her role as Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the television series M*A*S*H, Loretta Swit is an American theater and television actress who has picked up two Emmy Awards along the way. Loretta is also a committed animal rights advocate and author of Switheart: The Watercolour Artistry & Animal Activism of Loretta Swit.
Swit appeared in The Last Day, a 1975 TV movie alongside Robert Conrad and Richard Widmark. She also appeared in television series The Love Boat (1977), Supertrain (1979), The Love Tapes (1980), The Kid from Nowhere (1982) among several others.
Loretta Swit’s Biography
Loretta Swit was born on November 4, 1937, in Passaic, New Jersey to Lester and Nellie Swit. Swit is of Polish descent. She attended Pope Pius XII High School in Passaic where she graduated in 1955. She also attended Katharine Gibbs School in Montclair, New Jersey and graduated in 1957.
She started out her working life in Bloomfield, New Jersey with a stenography job. Swit’s career in drama and acting began when she started studying at acting coach Gene Frankel’s studio in Manhattan, New York City. Through the course of her career, she went back to the studio from time to time to offer support and encouragement to up and coming actors. Swit’s training also included time at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and she is considered a singer of repute.
Swit’s acting career started on stage. This was marked by her touring with the Any Wednesday Company which starred Gardner Mckay. She went on to play as one the Pigeon sisters alongside in The Odd Couple opposite Ernest Borgnine and Don Rickles.
She played opposite Ted Bessell in the Broadway play, Same Time, Next Year in 1975. Another Broadway performance of hers was in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. She was also part of the Mame (Las Vegas version) which starred Susan Hayword in which she played Agnes Gooch. In more recent times, which has been part of The Vagina Monologues tour.
Since the 1990s, Swit performed Shirley Valentine, a one-woman play which has appeared in many revivals and locals. She starred as the title character in the October 2003 production of Mame by the North Carolina Theatre. In 2010, she starred in Amorous Crossings, a Mark Miller play at the Alhambra Dinner Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida directed by Todd Booth. She also appeared in Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks in 2017 at Buffalo, New York.
Swit started appearing television series in 1969 after she arrived at Hollywood. She played guest roles in several TV series including Hawaii Five-O, Gunsmoke, Mannix, and Mission: Impossible.
Swit began playing the role of Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan, a head nurse in M*A*S*H, a television series set in a mobile army hospital during the Korean War. Sally Kellerman had played Houlihan in the feature film. She remained the star of the comedy-drama through its 11 seasons. Only three other cast members achieved this feat – William Christopher, Alan Alda, and Jamie Farr. The show’s finale was aired in 1983. Her performance in M*A*S*H earned her two Emmy Awards. Swit narrated Korea, the Forgotten War, a documentary based on the war. She was the first M*A*S*H to actually visit South Korea.
Swit’s roles in feature films include Hilary McBride in Stand Up and be Counted (1972), Alice in Race with the Devil (1975), Polly Reed in S.O.B (1981), B.D. Tucker in Beer (1985); Mrs. Jones in Beach Movie (1998) among a few others.
There have been discrepancies about Loretta Swit actual net-worth with some sources putting it at $4 million while some other sources put it as high as $96 million. What is certain however is that an actress with her longevity and accolades is definitely well covered financially.
Who is Her husband?
Loretta Swit married Dennis Holahan in 1983 (his second marriage). Dennis Holahan is an American attorney and actor. Swit and Holahan were both in an episode of M*A*S*H. He is a partner at one of the largest law firms in California – Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith where he specializes in entertainment, media, and intellectual property litigation. Before joining Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, he had run one of the top entertainment-related law practices in the Los Angeles area for over 20 years.
Holahan was born on November 7, 19,42 in Stamford, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale in 1965 and served in the United States Navy between 1967 and 1969. Among awards won for his service in the Navy are the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal.
Holahan began his law practice after graduating from Hastings College of Law in 1973 but took a break in 1976 to pursue an acting career. He is known for his role as Jerry the Banker in Scarface alongside Al Pacino. Among his other roles were performances in Collision Course, Haywire, Aspen Extreme, and Kuffs. His television appearances include Lou Grant, M*A*S*H, The Rockford Files and Street Blues.
Holahan was first married to Wylie O’Hara between 1966, and 1972. He has two children and seven grandchildren from that marriage. Swit and Holahan got divorced in 1995. They never had any children together. Loretta Swit did not remarry afterward.