Blanche Krupa

Written by Blanche Krupa

Modified & Updated: 29 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Loretta Swit is a beloved American actress who is best known for her iconic role as Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the hit TV series, M*A*S*H. Throughout her career, Swit has captivated audiences with her incredible talent, earning her numerous accolades and a permanent place in the hearts of fans worldwide. However, there is so much more to this talented actress than meets the eye. In this article, we will delve into 19 surprising facts about Loretta Swit that you may not know. From her early life and career beginnings to her philanthropic endeavors and personal achievements, prepare to be amazed by the extraordinary life of Loretta Swit.

Key Takeaways:

  • Loretta Swit, best known as “Hot Lips” Houlihan, is not only a talented actress but also a passionate advocate for animal rights and philanthropic causes.
  • With two Emmy Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a Lifetime Achievement Award, Loretta Swit’s remarkable career continues to inspire and leave a lasting impact.
Table of Contents

Loretta Swit is best known for her role as Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan on the hit TV series M*A*S*H.

Throughout the show’s run from 1972 to 1983, Swit captivated audiences with her portrayal of the head nurse of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. Her character’s sharp wit and strong personality made her a fan favorite.

Swit was born on November 4, 1937, in Passaic, New Jersey.

Her early years were spent in the performing arts, studying acting and dance. Her passion and talent led her to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, eventually leading her to Hollywood.

Before landing her iconic role on M*A*S*H, Swit appeared in various TV shows and films.

She made guest appearances on popular shows like “Hawaii Five-O” and “Gunsmoke” and had small roles in films such as “The Boston Strangler” and “Freebie and the Bean.

Swit was an advocate for animal rights.

Outside of her acting career, she dedicated her time and efforts to organizations such as the Animal Rescue Foundation and the Humane Society.

She won two Emmy Awards for her performance on M*A*S*H.

Swit’s exceptional portrayal of Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan earned her the prestigious Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1980 and 1982.

Swit has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In recognition of her contributions to the entertainment industry, Swit was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Her star can be found at 1500 Vine Street.

She appeared in over 270 episodes of M*A*S*H.

Swit’s dedication to her character and the show was evident in her consistent appearance throughout the series, showcasing her versatility and commitment as an actress.

Swit is also a talented stage actress.

In addition to her on-screen success, she has showcased her acting abilities on stage in productions such as “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and “Shirley Valentine.

Swit has authored a book titled “Switheart: The Watercolour Artistry & Animal Activism of Loretta Swit.”

In this book, she combines her love for painting and her dedication to animal rights, showcasing her beautiful watercolor artwork while conveying important messages about the welfare of animals.

Swit was married to actor Dennis Holahan from 1983 to 1995.

Their marriage ended in divorce, but they remained on good terms and continued to work together on various projects.

Swit has been honored with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

In recognition of her outstanding achievements and contributions to society, she was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1992.

She is an active supporter of veterans’ causes.

Swit has expressed deep gratitude to the men and women who have served in the armed forces and has been involved in various initiatives and organizations that support veterans.

Swit has been a guest on numerous talk shows and game shows.

She has made appearances on shows such as “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” “The Merv Griffin Show,” and “Hollywood Squares,” showcasing her wit and charm to a wider audience.

Swit has also lent her voice to animated characters.

Her vocal talents can be heard in shows like “Berenstain Bears” and “Little Women,” further highlighting her versatility as an actress.

She has been involved in philanthropic work.

Swit has supported various charities and causes, including those focused on health, education, and the welfare of children.

Swit has been honored with the Governor’s Award for the Arts.

In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the arts, she received the Governor’s Award for the Arts in 1999.

She has made guest appearances on popular TV shows.

Swit has appeared on shows such as “Law & Order,” “Diagnosis Murder,” and “Cagney & Lacey,” showcasing her versatility as an actress beyond her iconic role on M*A*S*H.

Swit is an advocate for breast cancer awareness.

She has been actively involved in campaigns and fundraisers to raise awareness and support for breast cancer research and treatment.

Swit was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Broadcasters Foundation of America.

In recognition of her exceptional career and contributions to the world of television, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America in 2009.

These 19 surprising facts about Loretta Swit showcase her talent, dedication, and philanthropic efforts throughout her remarkable career. From her iconic role on M*A*S*H to her advocacy for animal rights, Swit has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry and beyond.

With two Emmy Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and numerous honors to her name, Loretta Swit continues to inspire and captivate audiences with her talent and compassion.


These 19 surprising facts about Loretta Swit have shed light on the incredible career and personal life of this talented actress. From her iconic role as Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan on the hit TV show M*A*S*H to her philanthropic work and dedication to animal rights, Swit has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with.

Through her commitment to her craft, Swit has garnered numerous awards and accolades, solidifying her status as a Hollywood legend. From her early struggles to her eventual rise to fame, her journey is an inspiration to aspiring actors and fans alike.

As we continue to celebrate the remarkable career of Loretta Swit, let us not forget the impact she has made both on and off-screen. Whether it’s her memorable performances or her tireless efforts to make the world a better place, Swit’s legacy will always live on.


Q: When was Loretta Swit born?

A: Loretta Swit was born on November 4, 1937.

Q: What is Loretta Swit best known for?

A: Loretta Swit is best known for her role as Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan on the TV series M*A*S*H.

Q: Has Loretta Swit won any awards?

A: Yes, Loretta Swit has won several awards, including two Emmy Awards for her performance on M*A*S*H.

Q: Is Loretta Swit involved in any charitable causes?

A: Yes, Loretta Swit is an avid animal rights activist and has been involved in various charitable causes throughout her career.

Q: What other TV shows or movies has Loretta Swit appeared in?

A: Loretta Swit has appeared in a number of TV shows and movies, including “The Love Boat,” “Hawaii Five-O,” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” among others.

Q: Is Loretta Swit still active in the entertainment industry?

A: While Loretta Swit has reduced her on-screen appearances in recent years, she continues to be involved in various projects and remains an influential figure in the industry.

Loretta Swit's fascinating life and career extend beyond her iconic role in MASH. Her dedication to animal welfare, stage acting prowess, and philanthropic endeavors make her a truly remarkable figure. If you enjoyed learning about Swit, you might also be interested in exploring the lives of other notable entertainers. Discover the extraordinary facts about her MASH co-star Alan Alda, or delve into Doris Day's legacy as an acclaimed actress and passionate animal rights activist. For a contemporary perspective, read about the captivating journey of American actress Marika Dominczyk.

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