Linville as Frank Burns
|Born||Lawrence Lavon Linville
September 29, 1939
Ojai, California, U.S.
|Died||April 10, 2000
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Deborah Guydon (1993–April 10, 2000; his death)
Susan Hagan (October 15, 1986–1992; divorced)
Melissa Gallant (April 24, 1982–1985; divorced)
Vana Tribbey (December 25, 1977–April 20, 1982; divorced)
Kate Geer (April 25, 1962–1975; divorced) 1 child (Kelly Linville, b. 1970)
Lawrence Lavon "Larry" Linville (September 29, 1939 – April 10, 2000) was an American actor. He was known for his portrayal of the surgeon, Major Frank Burns, in the long-running television series M*A*S*H.
Early life and education
Linville was born in Ojai, California, the son of Fay Pauline (née Kennedy) and Harry Lavon Linville. Raised in Sacramento, he attended El Camino High School (Class of 1957) and later studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder before applying for a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
After returning to the United States, Linville began his acting career at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. It was a year-round repertory theatre and the director, Robert Porterfield, provided many new actors with opportunities.
||This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (April 2012)|
When the TV series M*A*S*H started, Linville signed a five-year contract. He played Frank Burns, a major and surgeon. He achieved wide recognition in this role, in which his character was contrasted with those played by Alan Alda and others in the ensemble. He was offered a renewal for two more seasons when his contract expired, but he declined. After five seasons, Linville had grown tired of playing the character. During that period, the show's tone had changed from pure comedy to more drama-focused story lines, as it reflected issues related to the Vietnam War (though M*A*S*H was set during the Korean War, it aired during the Vietnam era and tended to reflect this period in a roundabout fashion). Linville felt that he had taken the Frank Burns character as far as he could, and chose to leave the series to pursue other roles.
After M*A*S*H, Linville starred or appeared in many films and TV programs.
He was a guest-star on many television shows, most frequently Mission Impossible; Murder, She Wrote; Fantasy Island; The Love Boat; Bonanza; Mannix; The FBI Story; and CHiPs. He also appeared on episodes of Airwolf (he played Maxwell in "And A Child Shall Lead"); Adam 12; The Rockford Files; and before appearing on M*A*S*H, Linville played a doctor on the TV Movie The Night Stalker, a predecessor of the Kolchak television series-in an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, in which he played the youngest police captain on the force. After M*A*S*H, he played a stock character—the "Crazy General"—along with Edward Winter in the pilot episode of Misfits of Science. He also co-starred in the short-lived sitcom Grandpa Goes to Washington with Jack Albertson.
Linville appeared as jealous ex-boyfriend Randy Bigelow in the 1982 short-lived Disney series Herbie the Matchmaker. He also starred in an episode of "The Jeffersons" where he played Florence's boss when she got a job in a hotel as head of housekeeping. He also starred in the short-lived The Jeffersons spinoff Checking In, where he played Florence Johnston's (Marla Gibbs) nemesis, Lyle Block; however, this series only lasted four episodes. Linville co-starred in 1984 on Paper Dolls, a nighttime drama on ABC offering a glimpse behind-the-scenes of the fashion industry. In 1991, Linville appeared on an episode of the television series Night Court as a doctor. Linville also appeared in an episode of ER in 1994 as a medical consultant. He also appeared in an episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman season 1 episode 3 as a crackpot claiming to have been abducted by Superman and taken aboard his spaceship.
Marriage and family
He was married five times: to Kate Geer (sister of actress Ellen Geer), with whom he had a daughter, Kelly Linville (born 1970) before they divorced. Kelly was his only child. He also married (and divorced) Vana Tribbey, Melissa Gallant, and Susan Haganand. His final marriage was to Deborah Guydon, whom he was with at his death.
After doctors found a malignant tumor under his sternum, Linville underwent surgery in February 1998 to remove part of his lung. He received further treatment but had continuing health problems over the next two years. Linville died of pneumonia in New York City on April 10, 2000 after complications from cancer surgery. His ashes were scattered at sea off the coast of Bodega Bay, California.
- According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/39461
- "Larry Linville Biography (1939-2000)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
- Basofin, Pete (August 21, 2011). "In History's Spotlight: Larry Linville". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- a "Born in Ojai, Linville moved to Sacramento and graduated from El Camino High School." — ¶ 2.
- Larry Linville at the Internet Movie Database
- 'M*A*S*H' actor Linville dead at 60 at CNN.com
- Larry Linville at Find a Grave