‘M*A*S*H’ Star Gary Burghoff Reveals That He Had To Reshoot Radar’s Final Scene: “It Was Awful”

Gary Burghoff is best known for playing Radar in seven seasons of the 1970s sitcom, M*A*S*H, which followed a team of doctors and staff who were stationed overseas amid the Korean War. According to the actor, who reflected on his departure from the series, he had to reshoot his final scene because he did a “terrible” job delivering a dramatic goodbye the first time around.

While speaking in a preview for the upcoming special, M*A*S*H: The Comedy That Changed Television, Burghoff recalled filming his final episode, “Good-Bye Radar: Part 2,” which aired in 1979 and bid farewell to the character, who was granted a hardship discharge following his uncle’s death.

At one point in the episode, Radar’s goodbye party was interrupted by the influx of wounded soldiers, which inspired Burghoff to make a creative decision with his character’s emotions.

“I said to myself, what a wonderful moment, I can cry my eyes out and I can do this wonderful dramatic moment, I can just completely fall apart. And the director said, ‘If I were you, I would fight the tears.’ And I said, ‘No, no. Just let me do it, okay?’” he remembered.

However, Burghoff wasn’t satisfied with the outcome.

“The next day, in dailies, I look at the screen and it’s awful. I mean, it is just terrible. The director was right, I was wrong,” he admitted. “I said, ‘Please can I do this again?’ And he said, ‘Yes, you may.’”

Burghoff even opened up about his decision to leave the hit sitcom, which ran on CBS from 1972 to 1983.

“They’ve been asking me for 30 years why I left the show,” he explained. “My life, at that time, it was a beautiful picture that was all crooked and I had to step back big time in order to grow as a human being. Part of my stepping back, unfortunately, included M*A*S*H.

According to the star, his contract expired after nearly a decade on the show though it was his choice not to renew it.

“I didn’t leave the show. My contract expired. I had a seven-year contract,” he said. “I just didn’t renegotiate because I was stepping back from everything.”

All 11 seasons of M*A*S*H are currently available to stream on Hulu. Plus, M*A*S*H: The Comedy That Changed Television, which also features interviews with other original cast members, will air on Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.