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Interview with Loretta Swit (”Hot Lips” Houlihan), at Fox Theatre July 28-August 2 for “42nd Street”

Loretta Swit, forever known as Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan on “M*A*S*H” from 1972 to 1983, remains active as ever at age 71.

She’s coming to the Fox Theatre later this week to play Dorothy Brock in the classic Broadway musical “42nd Street.” She will follow this up with a European theater tour, another play in New York City, a role in a spoof horror flick, then four months early next year in the play “Cactus Flower” in Kansas City.

What drew her to the current musical role was her long-standing friendship with Atlanta Chris Manos, producer at Theater of the Stars, which put together “42nd Street.” She had done two Atlanta productions with him in the past.

“This is a wonderful reunion,” she said. “I adore him.”

She said the Brock character is “a bit underwritten. So it calls upon the actor to provide some of this life and give her a life.” And she praises her acting cast. “It has comedy. drama, extraordinary dancers. The company is dazzling. It’s such a fabulous working unit. And the more you do it, the tighter it gets. It’s hard to describe. You start to soar. Everyone trusts everyone and are willing to take chances.”

She seldom sees repeats of “M*A*S*H” simply because she seldom turns on the TV except to catch films.

“I saw one this morning, a gem,” Swit said. “I nearly know it by heart. It’s called ‘Fracture’ starring Anthony Hopkins. A great psychological mind game about a murderer who is determined to get away with murdering his wife.

While “M*A*S*H” colleagues such as Alan Alda and Mike Farrell have written memoirs, the only book in Swit’s portfolio was about needlepoint in the mid-1980s.

“I was approached by Doubleday to do that,” she said. “Someone read that I did needlepoint. So I interspersed my experiences with where I was or what inspired me to do a particular pattern.”

But she does have a new book up her sleeve, this one focused around her watercolor paintings mixed in with memories of her life on TV and in theater. “It would be a big coffeetable book,” she said.

In fact, monies from her artwork go to charities she supports, especially animal rights. (She currently has an exhibit of her watercolors at Best Friends in Utah, the largest dog and cat sanctuary in North America.)

YouTube, always a great place to see actors from decades yore, features not only Swit’s appearances on “What’s My Line” and “The Muppet Show,” but also her brilliant work on “10,000 Pyramid.”

“I had the record for most money a celebrity has won for the contestants,” she said. “I played well. I had fun. I loved giving money away.”

IF YOU GO
“42nd Street” starring Loretta Swit
Fox Theatre
July 28-August 2
404-249-6400, www.ticketmaster.com

More info here.

13 comments Add your comment

Neil

July 27th, 2009
3:19 pm

Classy lady. Great research on her age and game-show appearances.

willie

July 27th, 2009
3:24 pm

anyone got the hook up on ticktes? I’m down for going on the way to the compound. hit me back.

Dr. Watson

July 27th, 2009
3:33 pm

I saw some recent pictures of her in an above-the-knee skirt. She’s still in great shape. I’m 47 and thought my cougar-loving days were over. She brought them back. Thanks, Loretta!

Mike Vick Supporter

July 27th, 2009
5:16 pm

71?

REALLY???

I’d still hit that.

Yeah, you dogz know what I’m sayin!

Atlanta I'm Back

July 27th, 2009
6:09 pm

Hot lips, a brain, and oh what a body she has, a total package..
I always loved her acting and I still love dreaming about her in those army greens.

John

July 27th, 2009
8:56 pm

Rodney,

Toucher and Rich forced to move to a sports station. Basically, like 99X, WBCN in Boston failed because of bad ratings so now they will be a web station. Since Toucher and Rich are under contract they will move to a company owned sports station until their contract is up. Crash probably canned.

World Be Free

July 27th, 2009
9:36 pm

Always thought SHE was the center of M*A*S*H, such a strong performer.

JTesla

July 28th, 2009
12:12 am

She is looking good for 71, was MASH really that long ago? Thanks for the interview and info Rodney.

To do list: July 28 | Inside Access

July 28th, 2009
12:29 am

[...] Stage: “42nd Street” opens, 8 p.m., Fox Theatre, Atlanta. STORY. [...]

RK

July 28th, 2009
1:44 pm

nice article on an underappreciated star. she always plays her roles to perfection, and IS lovely to look at.

Peter

July 28th, 2009
3:10 pm

Great lady… Great actress… a generous and pleasant guest at our Cape Cod restaurant ( http://www.scargocafe.com )across from the Cape Playhouse when she starred in a summer stock production about 10 years ago. In her early sixties she made my heart jump. I’m sure she’s just as “hot” today.

Beagle Bailey

July 28th, 2009
8:39 pm

LOVE HER. Love her work in M*A*S*H. I watch every time I see one on the TV. I’m 65; do you suppose she’d go for a ‘younger man’?

A.S.

August 2nd, 2009
10:44 am

We saw lovely Loretta in 42nd Street yesterday at the Fox. She was amazing!!! I can’t believe she’s 71 – she sang beautifully and looks incredible! I highly recommend the show! It was fantastic!