Character actor Larry Linville, best known for his portrayal of the power-hungry and neurotic Maj. Frank Burns on the CBS television show “MASH,” died April 10 at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He was 60.
Linville suffered from cancer and had a lung removed in 1998 after a malignant tumor was discovered. Longtime manager Barry M. Greenberg of Los Angeles said Linville died of complications of pneumonia.
Linville, a native of Ojai, had been living in New York. He was part of a breakout cast that made “MASH” one of TV’s longest-running shows. He starred with Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swit and others as part of an ensemble that launched the show in 1972, on the heels of the hit movie of the same name.
Linville played a whiny, military stickler smitten with the unit’s head nurse, played by Swit. Much of the show’s early action revolved around the antics of tentmates Burns, the victim of pranks by Hawkeye Pierce (played by Alda) and Trapper John McIntyre (Rogers). But the show also took on serious topics of war and bloodshed as parallels to the Vietnam War played out in the show about the conflict in Korea a generation before.
Linville left “MASH” after the fifth season, went on to guest star on numerous television series and had roles in the features “Grandpa Goes to Washington,” “Checking In” and “Paper Dolls.”
Linville is survived by his wife, Deborah Linville.