This is a prime example of how fickle show business can be. Did you know that Gary Burghoff, who is perhaps best known for his portrayal as Radar in both the movie MASH and its television re-incarnation, has a deformed left hand? It’s one hundred percent true. Gary Burghoff has a deformed hand, specifically his left one. He has a congenital deformity of three fingers. But he didn’t let this unfortunate deformity slow him or his career down. He successfully managed for the most part to keep this almost completely hidden during his acting career. But if you look ever so carefully, although Gary Burghoff hides his deformed hand, you will see it from time to time. It’s not a massive deformity, but it’s one that you can see.
As he was best known for his performance as Radar in MASH, an obvious disability would have shown a continuity errors. Why? Some say that he hid this hand deformity because a man with such a birth defect would not have been enlisted into the army. Although this is true, the reality is that he most likely hid it to protect his acting career. You might think this is crazy, but in a profession where image is everything, a glaring malformed hand could have ended even the most promising career. But Gary Burghoff’s deformed hand is not the only thing managed to hide during his acting career. According to some reports he had a personality issue. A very bad personality issue.
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Gary Burghoff’s deformed hand isn’t as bad as his personality
In 1983, TV Guide compiled an article at the completion of the popular show. It was then that the true feelings about Burghoff started to surface. Apparently no one would be quoted saying so on the record, but off the record the general consensus was “love Radar, hate Burghoff.” According to one person, he felt that there was a conspiracy against him, he was rude to everyone, and if anyone ever said anything back to him, he’d throw a tantrum. He also had regular spats with his cast members, especially Alan Alda. Once Mike Farrell took him to task and said he could dish it out, but he couldn’t take it, to which Burghoff replied, “And I’m getting real sick and tired of dishing it out.”