‘M*A*S*H’: ‘Radar’ Actor Gary Burghoff Went to Great Lengths to Hide His Hand on the Show

by Will Shepard
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One of the more popular television characters in the 1970s was “Radar” from M*A*S*H. Gary Burghoff gave arguably his best performance as an actor playing the iconic character on the show. However, there is one particular thing about the actor that might surprise you.

Gary Burghoff was born in 1943 in Connecticut, where he grew up. Later, he moved to Devalan, Wisconsin. During his youth, the M*A*S*H star began studying dancing and fell in love with it. So, he grew up focusing on tap dancing and later became a drummer.

The star of M*A*S*H had a special characteristic though. Gary Burghoff was born with brachydactyly, better known as short digits. The disease causes short fingers and toes, forming through bone dysostosis. In the actor’s case, his bone dysmorphia was caused because of Poland syndrome. So, three fingers on his left hand – the middle three – are significantly shorter than his right hand.

M*A*S*H Actor Gary Burghoff Hid His Hand From the Camera as Much as Possible

According to IMDb, Burghoff was self-conscious about the disease. During filming, he would reportedly always be holding his hand behind something. Perhaps he would be holding a clipboard or hiding it under a table. Another thing that he was famous for when hiding his hand was holding it in his pocket during filming.

Nonetheless, he was a phenomenal actor in M*A*S*H and was certainly recognized for his work. In fact, Gary Burghoff was nominated for six Emmy awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. In 1977, he was rewarded with an Emmy for the show’s 1977 season.

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