About Lawrence Lavon "Larry" Linville
Lawrence Lavon "Larry" Linville (September 29, 1939 – April 10, 2000) was an American actor. He was known for his portrayal of obnoxious, pious, self-important and inept surgeon Major Frank Burns in the television series M*A*S*H.
In stark contrast to the belligerent, callous, mean-spirited, selfish Frank, Larry Linville himself has often been described by the show's other cast members as a kind, friendly man who was very open-minded and courteous to those around him. When the show started, Linville signed a five-year contract and was offered a renewal for two more seasons when his contract expired, but he declined. After five seasons, Linville had grown tired of playing the same negative, cartoonish antagonist, especially since during that period, the show's tone had changed from pure comedy to more drama-focused story lines. Linville also felt that he had taken the Frank Burns character as far as he could, given how M*A*S*H had developed, and decided to leave the series so he could pursue other, more challenging roles.
After M*A*S*H, Linville starred or appeared in many films and guest-starred in many television shows, most frequently Murder, She Wrote; Fantasy Island (he appears as an inept genie trapped in a bottle); The Love Boat; Bonanza (He played a corrupt Frank Burns-type POW officer); Mannix; The FBI Story and CHiPs. He also appeared on episodes of Airwolf (he played Maxwell in "And A Child Shall Lead") and Mission: Impossible (he usually played a vicious, unfunny Frank Burns-type Gestapo secret policeman), Murder She Wrote (in which he plays a policeman who thinks Jessica Fletcher is a CIA agent), Adam 12 (in which he plays a policeman); The Rockford Files (playing a petulant, Frank Burns-type psychologist), and before appearing on M*A*S*H, Linville played a doctor on the TV Movie The Night Stalker, a predecessor of the Kolchak television series-in an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, in which he played the youngest police captain on the force. After M*A*S*H, he played a stock character—the "Crazy General"—along with Edward Winter in the pilot episode of Misfits of Science. He also co-starred in the short-lived sitcom Grandpa Goes to Washington with Jack Albertson.
Linville appeared as jealous ex-boyfriend Randy Bigelow in the 1982 short-lived Disney series Herbie the Matchmaker. He also starred in an episode of "The Jeffersons" where he played Florence's boss when she got a job in a hotel as head of housekeeping. He also starred in the short-lived The Jeffersons spinoff Checking In, where he played Florence Johnston's (Marla Gibbs) nemesis, Lyle Block; however, this series only lasted four episodes. Linville co-starred in 1984 on Paper Dolls, a nighttime drama on ABC offering a glimpse behind-the-scenes of the fashion industry. In 1991, Linville appeared on an episode of the television series Night Court as a doctor. Linville also appeared in an episode of ER in 1994 as a medical consultant. He also appeared in an episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman season 1 episode 3 as a crackpot claiming to have been abducted by Superman and taken aboard his spaceship.
Linville was born in Ojai, California, the son of Fay Pauline (née Kennedy) and Harry Lavon Linville. Raised in Sacramento, he attended El Camino High School (Class of 1957) and later studied aeronautical engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder before applying for a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He was one of only three Americans out of 300 applicants to win.
He was married five times: to Vana Tribbey, Kate Geer, Melissa Gallant, Susan Haganand, and Deborah Guydon. Kelly Linville (born 1970) was his only child.
Linville underwent surgery in February 1998 to remove part of his lung after doctors found a malignant tumor under his sternum. His health problems continued over the next two years. Linville died of pneumonia in New York City on April 10, 2000 after complications from cancer surgery. His ashes were scattered at sea off the coast of Bodega Bay, California.