M*A*S*H's Loretta Swit Uses Her Art To Help Animals

By Kristy Rice Jan 18, 2017

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Known to audiences worldwide as the spirited nurse, Maj. Margaret Houlihan, actress Loretta Swit of M*A*S*H fame spent her time away from the cameras surrounded by paints and brushes.
A collection of her paintings appear in a new book titled SWITHEART - The Watercolour Artistry & Animal Activism of Loretta Swit. The book was written by Mies Hora and includes dozens of images provided by Swit.
The best part? The proceeds will be donated to programs close to the television legend's heart.
“I’ve always used my artwork to support charities,” said Ms. Swit. “We plan to help many animals from the book sales.”
“As a child, my mother was forever telling me to go outside and play, but I wanted to just sit at the table with my sketchpad and pencils and doodle away,” Swit recollects.
Luckily, Swit has found a way to combine her artistic passions with her animal activism efforts. Not only has she spoken out about animal abuse but also condemns the killing of animals for fashion.
“A fur coat represents the death of 80 animals,” she said in a horrified tone. “Fake fur has come a long way. It’s twice as warm and just as beautiful – if not more so – than real fur. I have two of them and they’re so realistic I wear a button to say it’s fake!”
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M*A*S*H writers were well aware of Swit's love of animals and incorporated it into the show. In season six, the 'Images' episode, her character bonds with a stray dog found in the camp.
“The dog gets killed by a jeep and Margaret ends up in tears partly because of the dog but also because the story is woven into the stress of working in a wartime O.R. The writers knew about my animal activism and brilliantly used it to develop Margaret’s character.”
But Swit wasn't the only multi-talented M*A*S*H star.
"Gary Burghoff (Radar) did the most magnificent sketches of birds and also played a mean set of drums,” Swit stated. “David Ogden Stiers (Charles) is a brilliant musician who works with orchestras and he would go off on weekends to the theater and perform Shakespeare.”
Yet Swit's approach to the combination of painting and animals has the potential to help others in a way that most art doesn't.
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“Perhaps I see animals in a different way because I have so much passion for my activism,” she added. “I’m doing anything I can to better their lives.”
Source: Thespectrum
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