“Diagnosis: Murder” actress Loretta Swit became a household name with her breakthrough role as the feisty nurse Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Holihan in the show “M*A*S*H,” where she also met her husband.

    “Diagnosis: Murder” actress Loretta Swit became a household name with her breakthrough role as the feisty nurse Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Holihan in the show “M*A*S*H,” where she also met her one true love. Today, she is happily divorced and looks terrific for an 85-year-old. Despite never having children, she is a wonderful fur mom and enjoys rescuing animals.

    Born on November 4, 1937, “The First Affair” actress, Loretta Swit began performing when she was only seven. Her parents, Polish immigrants, were against her making a stab at show business and highly discouraged any further involvement in the field.

    However, Swit, a natural-born singer, was determined to make a livelihood from being a performer, and nothing, not even her concerned parents, could stand in the way.

    Actress Loretta Swit, the female lead in "M*A*S*H" circa 1972 | Source: Getty Images

    The actress trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before she started doing some work with repertory companies. Unfortunately, they considered her features too hard and plain to play innocent young woman roles.

    She then turned to light comedy and musicals, introducing to her audiences her snappy comic edge that would be the foundation of her decades-long career in film and comedy. The actress landed her first role in 1961 in a production of “The Balcony.”

    She relocated to Hollywood in the early 70s, where she lightened up several dramas with her humorous off-centered performances, such as “Mannix,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Mission: Impossible,” and “Gunsmoke.”

    She eventually landed her breakthrough role playing the lofty head nurse Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the TV series version of “M*A*S*H,” a role that earned her an Emmy nomination for ten of the eleven seasons the show was on the air.

    The show was nothing short of brilliant, and the actress remembers those days fondly. There were plenty of perks as there were challenges, including her almost quitting after season four because she felt her character had stagnated. But her biggest takeaway from the show was finding her one true love, Dennis Holahan.

    Swit and Holahan met on the show when Holahan was cast to play Per Johannsen, a Swedish diplomat who was Margaret’s love interest.

    Before the show reached its final season, Swit was already feeling done and had considered quitting after season 10. However, something told her to hold on. The “Love, American Style” actress did not know it then, but she was about to meet her soulmate and the man she would be with for the next 12 years.

    She was filming the “U.N., the Night and the Music” episode when a guest star, Dennis Holahan, appeared. Swit confessed she knew Holahan was her soulmate the moment they stumbled on their first scene together:

    “There were times when I wanted to leave ‘M*A*S*H’ and do other things. When I met Dennis, I said to myself, ‘so that’s why I’m still here.’”

    It was love at first sight for Swit, and she recalls suddenly bumping into furniture and behaving like a kid whenever Holahan was in the room. Right then, she understood that she could gladly spend the rest of her life with him.

    She described the details of her intense feelings for the man, saying that as her character, Margaret, fell deeply in love with Holahan’s character, the same was happening in real life.

    The situation was quite confusing for Swit, who had never in her life given marriage a second thought. Finding love was never a goal for her. It was, however, Margaret’s dream to fall in love and start a family.

    Actress Loretta Swit and husband Actor Dennis Holahan on May 26, 1986 dining at Nicky Blair's Restaurant in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

    She was surprised upon realizing that she and her character were in love. “Maybe that’s the best way to find someone special when love is the last thing on your mind,” she said, recognizing all too well the epiphany at play.

    Nevertheless, the feelings were mutual, and Holahan was equally surprised at how quickly he fell for Swit. He recalls the first morning as they filmed a love scene, saying that nothing like that ever happened so easily for him:

    “It was so natural, so magical. It was as if it weren’t just characters falling in love … but real people.”

    The initial confusion was rife for both, and Holahan was quite worried, at first, that their acting was so good they thought they’d fallen in love in real time. However, their emotions became even more pronounced as the days passed, and their initial attraction did not fade.

    Soon, they were inseparable, and when life got in the way and they had to be apart for a while, they both found it unbearable. Swit admitted she would miss Holahan even when he was in the next room.

    They walked down the aisle in 1983, and their marriage was idyllic for the first few years. However, by 1989, their love had waned off, and they filed for divorce. Reports claim that the reason for their falling apart was that Holahan was envious of Swit’s success.

    Holahan asked for 50% of Swit’s income in the divorce filings. He also requested at least $8,000 a month to keep up with the lifestyle he had been accustomed to from being her husband.

    They eventually went their separate ways in 1995, and Swit never remarried. However, because of her marriage to Holahan, she says she finally understood why people get married.

    Actress Loretta Swit attends the 23rd Annual International Emmy Awards on November 20, 1995 at the New York Hilton Hotel in New York City, New York | Source: Getty Images

    The concept of someone wanting to spend their entire life beside someone else can be enticing to anyone, and even though it did not work out for her in the end, the idea of marriage became clear to her:

    “It was the concept of living very happily with a partner for the rest of your life in a relationship that will always be fresh and challenging and interesting and … terrific!”

    Life after M*A*S*H and a Peek into Her Onetime Hideaway
    Swit’s time on “M*A*S*H” was phenomenal. The sitcom was loved by viewers and cast alike, and the actors made lasting bonds, but for Swit, the sitcom affected tremendous change in her life. For starters, it was her breakthrough role, propelling her to indelible fame.

    Secondly, during her time there, she met her soulmate, fell in love, and married. But everything that has a beginning has an end, and for the show, the end came in 1983 after 11 seasons.

    Swit did not hang up her acting coat after the show and instead went on to play various other roles, including Kathy Ross in the romantic comedy “The Love Boat,” Jane Short in “A Matter of Principle,” Connie Stewart in “Hell Hath No Fury,” and Cora Lynne in “The Big Battalions,” among many others.

    Shortly after the show ended, Swit felt inclined to discuss everything about her life; however, as she did more and more interviews, she became less chatty and would give a list of preferred questions whenever she was booked for interviews.

    By 1995, she would not discuss anything about her private life and stopped taking interviews, claiming that the press had abused her. As a result, most of her private life has remained a mystery in recent years following her decision.

    However, what remains clear is that the actress never remarried and has been single for the past 28 years. When not filming movies, she spent most of her time at her one-time hideaway Hollywood Hills West home.

    The Hue De Olive, a French-influenced mansion on the coveted St. Ives Drive in Los Angeles, became a haven for Swit, with its extensive ivy-covered brick wall and a double door opening to scallop-shaped brick steps that led down to the stunning house.

    With nearly 4000 square feet of interior space, the home included three bedrooms and four bathrooms, a gym, a study, a den, a library, a dining room, a fireplace, and beam ceilings.

    The outdoor space featured a spa, a swimming pool, a waterfall, a cabana, and multiple patios and was surrounded by trees and plants. She sold the hideaway home to film director and producer Alan Parker in 1987 for $840,000.

    The “14 Going On 30” actress has continued to inspire many with her good looks, and at 85, fans agree that she still looks beautiful and youthful.

    After posting a photo of herself in a lovely floral summer dress and dark sunglasses, fans flooded her comment section, praising her for maintaining her beauty over the years and for having a heart of gold.

    User @pilebuck99 pointed out that Swit has stayed the same after all those years and only keeps getting better with age. @Schoenbornrob wrote:

    “You haven’t aged a bit. Ahhh! Summertime where the living is easy.”

    Mr_crossman 2 called her fabulous and lovely, emphasizing his point with a love heart emoji. Once described as a 5-foot-5, 117 pounds ash blonde with green eyes, Swit has maintained her looks and mesmerizes many with just how good she looks at 85.

    Swit Now Rescues Suffering Animals
    Swit may have made a conscious choice never to have children, but she still has plenty of love for her rescue animals. Her love story with animals came almost as an instinct when she was still a toddler being pushed around in a stroller.

    The “Hollywood Squares” actress says her parents retold how excited she would become whenever she spotted a dog and would always yell, “Doggy, doggy, doggy.”

    Unfortunately, her parents were strict about not allowing any animals into their home, and that was heartbreaking, to say the least. She could not understand their stand, knowing how much love animals brought to the world.

    She rekindled her love for animals while on an episode of “M*A*S*H,” where nurse Margaret suspected she was pregnant. Per the script, the only way to confirm whether she was indeed pregnant was by having a doctor extract the ovaries from a rabbit to perform the pregnancy test.

    Swit kept her little souvenir from the episode, a pewter rabbit that led her to start a collection of pewter and silver rabbits. She disclosed:

    “I got a pewter rabbit from the woman whose idea it was that Margaret thinks she’s pregnant, and the only available rabbit for the test was Radar’s pet.”

    Her fondness for animals also showed in season six of the show, where she developed a liking for a stray dog in the camp. That was a long time ago, yet her love for animals carries on.

    Today, the “Burke’s Law” star is a passionate animal activist and the founder of Switheart Animal Alliance, which strives to care for, protect, rescue, and train animals, preserve their habitat, and raise awareness on animal cruelty and abuse issues.

    She uses her gift as an artist to paint and sells her pieces to fund her organization. But she has gone a step further and now, through her alliance, helps to bring back dogs from Afghanistan and reunite them with their first handlers. She also helps match them with veterans that need companion animals.

    She understands how painful and heartbreaking it can be for veterans to wait months to reunite with their war dogs, and she strives to make the process easier and faster. She noted:

    “It’s a situation we hope we can change, and our campaign is dedicated to making that happen.”

    She believes that animal abuse comes from a lack of awareness and understanding and makes it her duty to educate people on animal care.

    Her love of animals has also seen her become a fur parent. She has several animals in her own house, including Sahara, a Siamese mix, and Munchkin, a little Yorkie.

    The “Play the Flute” actress and her dogs share a beautiful relationship, and they look up to her with love and admiration. And the best part? They think she invented treats. She shared:

    “They love us unconditionally. Let’s give back and care for them unconditionally.”

    Swit disclosed that 80 animals die to make one fur coat, which is horrifying. In her mission to protect animals, she advises those who care enough to listen to instead go for fake fur coats, which are just as warm and stylish and help fight against animal cruelty and unnecessary deaths.

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