Loretta Swit, star of stage, screen, and television, best known to millions as “Hot Lips” is about to celebrate a major milestone.
Happy Birthday, Loretta Swit!
And that’s because she was born on November 4, 1937, in Passaic, New Jersey, which means that this beloved performer is turning 83 years old today! While employed as a stenographer, Swit honed her acting skills under the tutelage of Gene Frankel and trained as a singer at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
In 1967, she made her professional debut in the national touring company of Any Wednesday. Afterward, she joined the cast of Don Rickles/Ernest Borgnine-starring play, The Odd Couple.
Upon relocating to Hollywood, California, Swit guest-starred in a number of primetime television programs including Hawaii Five-o (1969, 1970, 1971. 1972), Mission: Impossible (1970), Mannix (1970), Cade’s Country (1971), and The Bold Ones: The New Doctors.
In 1972, Swit was hired to succeed film star Sally Kirkland in the role of Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the TV adaption of the feature film M*A*S*H. Swit would go on to be only one of four original cast members to remain with the series for its entire 11-year run (the others were Alan Alda, Jamie Farr, and William Christopher), and she would collect two Emmy Awards for her work.
During her tenure at the beloved comedy-drama, Swit continued to act in a plethora of other projects. Chief among them was a pilot film for a proposed, female-led police drama titled Cagney & Lacey. Swit portrayed Christine Cagney opposite Tyne Daly’s Mary Beth Lacey. When the project was granted a full series order, the role of Cagney was recast with Meg Foster and, at a later date, Sharon Gless.
Swit’s other acting roles from that period include guest spots in episodes of Ironside (1973), Petrocelli (1974), Good Heavens (1976), The Love Boat (1977, 1978), and Supertrain, with starring roles in made-for-TV movies like The Last Day (1975), The Hostage Heart (1977), Mirror, Mirror (1979), and The Kid From Nowhere (1982).
Swit also became a darling of the televised game show circuit, racking up credits – and winning big bucks – on shows like Pyramid, Match Game, Celebrity Bowling, and Password Plus.
Among Swit’s latter-day credits are episodes of Murder, She Wrote (1994), Burke’s Law (1995), and Diagnosis: Murder (1998) as well as features films such as Whoops Apocalypse (1986), Forest Warrior (1996), and Play the Flute (2019).
Outside of her acting, Swit is well known for her animal activism, her support of R. Adams Cowley, M.D., and his efforts to combat shock trauma, and her love of needlepoint.
Entertainment Hub would like to wish Loretta Swit a very happy birthday and many more.