Known for his role as Walter "Radar" O'Reilly, Gary Burghoff was the only actor to reprise his character in both the film and the television series, M*A*S*H. Appearing on the show from 1972-1979, he won an Emmy for his role as the naïve but lovable Radar. He also played the character in a guest starring role in two episodes of After M*A*S*H and in the television pilot W*A*L*T*E*R.
Burghoff brought a lot of himself to the role. Known as "The Bird Man of Malibu," this characteristic was carried over into his character Radar who kept pets in the series. He also named his character "Walter" after a gullible childhood friend.
Born May 24, 1943 in Bristol, CT, he started acting in high school. He got his singing chops performing at New York nightclubs. Originating the role of Charlie Brown in the off-Broadway musical, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown; other performances included Play it Again Sam, The Owl and the Pussycat, Whose Life Is It Anyway and The Nerd.
Corporal Walter Eugene "Radar" O'Reilly comes to the 4077 as a naive farm boy. Fond of animals, he raises several during his tour of duty.
Gifted with seemingly super-human abilities to hear incoming helicopters, he is given the nickname "Radar." Starting out overwhelmed by his role as clerk, he eventually becomes indispensable to the unit, keeping it running like clock-work.
Radar has hero worship for Hawkeye and often conspires with him, Trapper John and later, B.J. Hunnicutt in their daily pranks. Radar's love life often becomes the obsession of his fellow troops. One of Radar's most difficult assignments is delivering the news that his beloved Col. Blake's plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan. He soon becomes close with Col. Potter and gifted him with a mare, "Sophie," that he, Hawkeye and Hunnicutt rescued.
Upon the death of his Uncle Ed, Radar receives a discharge and is sent back home to help run the farm. Leaving a boy, but returning a man, Radar leaves his teddy bear behind.