Linville as Frank Burns
Lawrence Lavon Linville
September 29, 1939
Ojai, California, U.S.
|Died||April 10, 2000 (aged 60)|
New York City, U.S.
(m. 1962; div. 1975)
(m. 1977; div. 1982)
(m. 1982; div. 1985)
(m. 1986; div. 1992)
(m. 1993; his death 2000)
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.
Before his five-year co-starring role on M*A*S*H, Linville had guest-starring roles on many of the well-known television series of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Included in his credits in that period are one appearance each on Bonanza, Room 222 and Adam-12. He had three appearances, as three different characters, on Mission: Impossible over three seasons of that television series. On the early seasons of Mannix, Linville had a recurring role as Lieutenant George Kramer, an ally of Mannix in the L.A. Police Department.
Linville played a doctor on the television movie The Night Stalker (1972), a predecessor of the Kolchak television series, and in the episode titled "Chopper" of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, he played the youngest police captain on the force investigating murders committed by a headless motorbike rider. He also had a small role in the film Kotch (1971), which was directed by Jack Lemmon and starred Walter Matthau. Linville also appeared as U.S. Treasury Agent Hugh Emery in the 1972 television series Search episode "One of Our Probes is Missing".
When the television 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. His character, an ill-tempered civilian doctor, embraced military discipline with a cartoonish overzealousness at odds with his medical indeptitude, was contrasted with the more competent and rebellious doctors played by Alan Alda and others in the ensemble. During that period, the sitcom'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 and post-Vietnam era and tended to reflect this period in a roundabout fashion). He was offered a renewal for two more seasons when his contract expired, but he declined. After five seasons, Linville felt that he had taken the Frank Burns character, which had become increasingly one-dimensional in the show's blend of comedy and drama, 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 television series. He was a guest-star on many television series, most frequently Murder, She Wrote; Fantasy Island; The Love Boat; The FBI Story; and CHiPs. He also appeared on episodes of Airwolf (he played Maxwell in "And a Child Shall Lead") and The Rockford Files, and appeared in the television movie The Girl, the Gold Watch & Dynamite (1981). He also 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 Love Bug. 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 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.
He also had roles in many films, including School Spirit (1985), Earth Girls Are Easy (1988), C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D. (1989), Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever (1991), A Million to Juan (1994), No Dessert, Dad, till You Mow the Lawn (1994), and Fatal Pursuit (1995).
Linville appeared as an interview subject for Memories of M*A*S*H, a 1991 special commemorating the 20th anniversary of the series. In 1997, he joined Larry Gelbart (the producer and creator of M*A*S*H) and David Ogden Stiers (who played Frank Burns' replacement on the sitcom, Major Charles Winchester) to attend a deactivation ceremony for the last remaining U.S. MASH unit in Korea.
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 Hagan. His last marriage was to Deborah Guydon, who was by his side when he died.
Surgery, illness, and 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.
|1968||The Sweet Ride||Man Dancing in Club||Uncredited|
|1971||Bunny O'Hare||Max (Collector #1)|
|1972||The Stepmother||Dick Hill|
|1985||School Spirit||President Grimshaw|
|1988||Blue Movies||Dr. Gladding|
|1989||Earth Girls Are Easy||Dr. Bob|
|1989||C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D.||Dr. Jewell|
|1991||Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever||Principal McGree|
|1994||A Million to Juan||Richard Dickerson|
|1994||No Dessert, Dad, till You Mow the Lawn||J.J.|
|1997||Pressure Point||Neil Kennedy|
|2004||West from North Goes South||Rev. Lowell||posthumous release|
|1968||The Doctors||Paul||Episode: #1.1405|
|1968||Judd, for the Defense||Martin Lederer||Episode: "The Ends of Justice"|
|1968–1970||Mannix||Lieutenant George Kramer / Detective Sergeant George Kramer||8 episodes|
|1969||The Outsider||Floyd Hendricks||Episode: "The Secret of Mareno Bay"|
|1969||Marcus Welby, M.D.||Dr. Beck / Doctor||2 episodes|
|1969||Bonanza||Lieutenant Will Tyler||Episode: "The Fence"|
|1969||Room 222||Counselor||Episode: "Arizona State Loves You"|
|1969–1970||Mission: Impossible||Colonel Leo Orlov / Alexi Silensky / Capt. Gulka||3 episodes|
|1969–1970||The F.B.I.||George Franciscus / George Tremont||2 episodes|
|1970||Here Come the Brides||Harry Miles||Episode: "Break the Bank of Tacoma"|
|1970||The Young Rebels||Reverend Wells||Episode: "The Ring of Freedom"|
|1970||The Young Lawyers||Bud Morton||Episode: "Remember Chris Gately?"|
|1971||Men at Law||Episode: "Let the Dier Beware"|
|1971||Night Gallery||Sloane||Segment: "The Academy"|
|1972||The Night Stalker||Dr. Robert Makurji||Television film|
|1972||Adam-12||Sgt. Hugh Brasher||Episode: "The Tip"|
|1972||O'Hara, U.S. Treasury||Det. Ed Pierce||Episode: "Operation: Deathwatch"|
|1972||The Sixth Sense||Roger Carver||Episode: "The House That Cried Murder"|
|1972||Cannon||Ed Barrows||Episode: "Bad Cats and Sudden Death"|
|1972||Search||Hugh Emery||Episode: "One of Our Probes Is Missing"|
|1972–1977||M*A*S*H||Maj. Frank Burns||120 episodes|
|1975||Kolchak: The Night Stalker||Captain Jonas||Episode: "Chopper"|
|1975||Rickles||Maj. Frank Burns||Television film|
|1977||Calling Doctor Storm, M. D.||Dr. Jim Storm||Television film|
|1977||The Rockford Files||Dr. Eric Albach||Episode: "A Deadly Maze"|
|1978||Barnaby Jones||Tom Watkins||Episode: "Deadly Sanctuary"|
|1978–1979||Grandpa Goes to Washington||Maj. Gen. Kevin Kelley||7 episodes|
|1979||Supertrain||Jack Nordoff||Episode: "And a Cup of Kindness Too"|
|1979||A Christmas for Boomer||Jack||Television film|
|1979–1981||The Love Boat||Ty Younger / Lou Hayman||4 episodes|
|1980||Lou Grant||Thatcher||Episode: "Sting"|
|1980–1982||Fantasy Island||'Joe' Jonofoceles Armeniums Aristofeles / Jerome Pepper / Fred Webster||3 episodes|
|1981||Aloha Paradise||Episode: "Turn Me On/Treasure Hunt/A Child Will Become Father"|
|1981||The Jeffersons||Lyle Block||2 episodes|
|1981||Checking In||Lyle Block||4 episodes|
|1981||The Girl, the Gold Watch & Dynamite||Wesley Reins||Television film|
|1982||Herbie, the Love Bug||Randy Bigelow||4 episodes|
|1983||Night Partners||Chief John Wilson||Television film|
|1984||Paper Dolls||Grayson Carr||6 episodes|
|1985||Detective in the House||Mel||Episode: "Gelt by Association"|
|1985||Misfits of Science||Gen. Theil||Episode: "Deep Freeze (Pilot)"|
|1985||Airwolf||Clinton Maxwell||Episode: "And a Child Shall Lead"|
|1985||Riptide||Edgar Harrison||Episode: "Does Not Compute"|
|1985–1995||Murder, She Wrote||Paige Corbin / Lt. Steven Ames / Prof. Kent Radford||3 episodes|
|1987||The Law & Harry McGraw||Andrew Paxton||Episode: "Old Heroes Never Lie"|
|1988||Starting from Scratch||Brandon Shepherd||Episode: "James' Brother"|
|1991||Night Court||Dr. Nagelson||Episode: "To Sleep, No More"|
|1991||Dream On||Uncle Danny||Episode: "Toby or Not Toby"|
|1992||A Different World||Sen. Hutchinson||Episode: "Special Delivery"|
|1992–1993||Nurses||Himself / Mr. Garrett||2 episodes|
|1993||Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman||Grover Cleveland||Episode: "Neverending Battle"|
|1997||Fast Track||Rusty Phillips||Episode: "Kennedy Gets a Ride"|
|1999||Crucible of Empire: The Spanish American War||Theodore Roosevelt (voice)||Television film documentary|
|1999||Great Performances||Everett Baker||Episode: "Crazy for You"|
- According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at Family Tree Legends
- "Larry Linville Biography (1939–2000)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
- Basofin, Pete (August 21, 2011). "In History's Spotlight: Larry Linville". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on July 26, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- a "Born in Ojai, Linville moved to Sacramento and graduated from El Camino High School." — ¶ 2.
- Cole, Gloria (August 14, 1995). "Linville travels far from 'M*A*S*H'". United Press International. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- "'M*A*S*H' co-star shaken by Linville's death". Las Vegas Sun. April 14, 2000. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- Tennis, Joe (June 10, 2013). "Barter Theatre has 80th birthday". Bristol Herald Courier. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- Wampler, Angela (February 25, 2007). "Robert Porterfield's Legacy". A! Magazine for the Arts. Archived from the original on July 30, 2016. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- Sherman, Dale (2016). "16". M.A.S.H. FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Best Care Anywhere. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Applause Books. ISBN 9781480355897.
- "Actor Larry Linville Dies at 60". The Washington Post. April 12, 2000. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- Bobbin, Jay (May 30, 1999). "- Has David Letterman ever made a..." Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- "Larry Linville, 'M*A*S*H' Star, Dies at 60". Los Angeles Times. April 11, 2000. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- Martin, Douglas (April 12, 2000). "Larry Linville, TV Actor, 60; Officious Major of 'M*A*S*H'". The New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- Jelinek, Pauline (June 15, 1997). "The Real-Life MASH Unit Celebrates Its Final Episode". Los Angeles Times.
- "'M*A*S*H' actor Linville dead at 60". CNN. April 11, 2000. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- "HEFNER HONOR PASSES COUNCIL COMMITTEE". Chicago Tribune. April 11, 2000. Retrieved March 10, 2018.