Bitten by the acting bug at age seven, nothing could stop Loretta Swit from following fate. Swit followed her passion, training at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Arriving in Hollywood in 1970, she appeared in several television shows including Gunsmoke, Hawaii Five-O, Mannix and Mission Impossible. The talented singer and dancer also appeared on some of the era's most popular variety shows, The Perry Como Special and The Bob Hope Christmas Special.
Stardom came in 1972 when she took on the character of Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan in the television series M*A*S*H. She won two Emmy Awards for her work. She was also the first cast member of M*A*S*H to visit Korea, narrating a documentary, Korea, the Forgotten War.
In 1981, during hiatus from M*A*S*H, she starred in the pilot episode for Cagney and Lacey. After M*A*S*H, she continued to act, appearing on Broadway in The Mystery of Edwin Drood and winning a Sarah Siddons award for her performance in Shirley Valentine in Chicago. In 1992 she hosted cable's Those Incredible Animals and has toured in productions of the Vagina Monologues.
Straightforward, by the book and a seeming contradiction to her name, Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan is head of the Army Nurse Corps for the 4077. Literally born into the Army, Her dad Alvin Houlihan is a Colonel and growing up in this environment is how she developed her sense of strict decorum and regimen.
Major Houlihan has little patience for those she feels do not live up to her standards of discipline - notably Hawkeye Pierce, Trapper John and Col. Blake. When she's not spending her days battling with them, she's spending her nights with Major Frank Burns.
Her love life is quite complicated, from her affair with the married Major Burns, to her marriage (and later divorce) to Lt. Colonel Donald Penobscott; she seems in love with the idea of being in love. She also has a brief affair with Jack Scully and seems to harbor a secret crush on Trapper John.
Over the years at camp she develops a softer side, making peace with Hawkeye and becoming more of a friend to the nurses and doctors. She genuinely grieves for Col. Blake upon his death and has great respect and admiration for Col. Potter.