‘M*A*S*H’ Star Loretta Swit Also Appeared in ‘Gunsmoke’

Loretta Swit is famous for her role as Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan on the TV comedy M*A*S*H. But before becoming everyone’s favorite Army nurse, Swit guest-starred on other shows. One of her stints was a small role on the CBS western Gunsmoke.

'M*A*S*H' star Loretta Swit wearing an Army uniform and doctor's coat during a scene from the TV series.
M*A*S*H star Loretta Swit I CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Loretta Swit guest-starred on ‘Gunsmoke’ before joining ‘M*A*S*H’

Swit became a star with her 11-year run as Margaret on M*A*S*H. Her award-winning role as the beautiful yet stern nurse made the show a must-watch series. Before joining the 4077, Swit had minor roles in other shows, including another CBS classic.

Swit was featured in a two-part episode of the Western drama Gunsmoke in 1970. According to IMDB.com, Swit played Donna, a train passage in “Snow Train.” The episode has Donna, Matt Dillon (James Arness), and other train passengers held captive by the Sioux. But luckily, Dillon saves the day and rescues Donna and her fellow passengers.

‘Gunsmoke’ and ‘M*A*S*H’ are part of TV history

CBS has created many classic shows, including M*A*S*H and Gunsmoke. M*A*S*H premiered in 1972, and the comedy/drama quickly became a success. During the next 11 seasons, viewers tuned in to watch the latest antics of the 4077.

After 11 years, the cast and crew decided it was time to hang up the Army boots. The final episode aired on Feb. 28, 1983, with the 4077 saying goodbye as the war ended. No one will forget Hawkeye’s (Alan Alda) copter taking off with B.J. Hunnicutt’s (Mike Farrell) goodbye message written in stone. An estimated 83 million viewers tuned in for the final episode, making it one of the most-watched finales in TV history.

Gunsmoke also earned its spot in TV history. The western drama premiered in 1955 and became a hit with viewers. In 1967, the show faced cancellation after executives initially planned to scrap it for Gilligan’s Island. However, network president William S. Paley’s wife Babe, a Gunsmoke fan, demanded her husband change his mind.

The show would run for eight more years but ended on Mar. 31, 1975. Gunsmoke‘s 20-season run earned it a spot as one of the longest-running TV shows.

What is Loretta Swit up to now?

Swit has the privilege of being part of two iconic TV shows. Thanks to her guest appearance on Gunsmoke and other CBS shows, she earned the role of Margaret on M*A*S*H. Swit’s work earned her fame, money, and two Emmy awards.


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After the show ended, Swit remained busy with guest roles on The Love Boat and Diagnosis Murder. She also reunited with her M*A*S*H co-stars for several reunion specials. These days Swit is semi-retired from acting. She’s focusing her time on her other loves, needlepoint and animal rights.