‘M*A*S*H’ Star Loretta Swit Reveals What She Kept From the Set of the Classic TV Show

by Joe Rutland

Imagine all the years that Loretta Swit appeared on M*A*S*H, then having the classic TV show end with a lot of memories in her mind. Swit, who played Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan on the CBS show, did get to pick up a few things upon everything ending. Stars will take items that mean something to them in their lives and careers. Well, here are some things Swit picked up from the set as well as mementos, too.

In an interview with TribLive, Swit says that she gave her scripts to the Yale library. “They have a theatrical section, so I gave those away,” she says. “I kept my army boots, which I did auction [off] for my charity, SwitHeart Animal Alliance. I have several dog tags – maybe six or seven – most have been given to me with my name, but one or two that says Houlihan.”

‘M*A*S*H’ Star Loretta Swit Receives Military Souvenirs From People

Swit adds that she doesn’t think that she kept anything else from M*A*S*H. “I have clothes that resemble the fatigues, which I like to wear at the autograph shows because people really enjoy that,” she says. The actress shares that she has a boatload of memories as well as private pictures she calls wonderful. No, those are not available for people all over the place to see. They are photos that mean something very personal to Swit.

What about military-themed medals or items? Swit does have her clusters and said majors have given those to her. “I’ve been given a lot of military souvenirs from different people,” Swit says. “There’s a coin (challenge coin), for example, that if you go into a lounge or bar – and you put it on the bar – if there’s somebody from the military there, they have to buy you a round of drinks. … I guess, all of those things are so much such a part of me, that I don’t think of them as souvenirs.”

Evolution of The ‘Hot Lips’ Character Takes Place In Later Seasons

The evolution of “Hot Lips” on the show definitely did take place. If you remember early on, Margaret was having fun with Major Frank Burns, played by Larry Linville. They would charge into Col. Henry Blake’s office with some issue with others, probably Hawkeye or Trapper John. McLean Stevenson played Blake while Alan Alda played Hawkeye and Wayne Rogers was Trapper on M*A*S*H.

Yet Margaret would become more of an even-keeled character. It started a little bit when she got married. As her character evolved in later seasons, Swit would bring depth to playing Houlihan. She wasn’t the only member of that cast to follow in the less-funny, more-serious path. M*A*S*H did this by looking at issues through different lenses.