Biography and Timeline

Rather than duplicate the biography that is already on Wikipedia, I've included other items of note that will serve to supplement a rather thin bio. Sources as to where I located this information will be cited on the Sources page.

September 29, 1939
Born in Ojai, California, raised in Sacramento, California to Fay Pauline (who went by her middle name) and Harry Linville. Larry appears to have been first born (according to the 1940 census). He had two younger brothers, Paul and Lanny. Harry supervised an orange grove operation and Pauline was a nurse.

 

1951

At the age of 11 or 12, develops an interest in flying gliders after seeing a Baby Bowlus Sailplane at the California State Fair in Sacramento . Becomes a paper boy to earn money to take flight lessons from a local glider club. He would solo flight by the time he was 13 and was one of the youngest licensed glider pilots in the country. Click here to learn more about Larry and his gliders.

 

May/June 1957

Graduated from El Camino High School in Sacramento, CA. (Go, Eagles!) He had joined the drama club in high school as a way to meet girls after quitting the football team as an offensive end after just one game (he didn't like pain from tackling). His first production was in a Christmas play that was more comedic than serious (although not on purpose!).

 

Fall 1957
Attends University of Colorado Boulder to study Aeronautical Engineering; tests for the Air Force, but is declined as a pilot due to color blindness. Joins the Nomad Theater group there, where he is cast in 'The Glass Menangerie'. Switches majors a few times until he decides on drama. However, the University lists him on their website as Engineering.

 

1959

Competed in a National Shakespeare competition in New York and tied for first with Jonathan McMurtry. Both won a year long scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England. Note there are slight variations on this story. His competitor, Jonathan is still living and lives in San Diego, CA and this version comes from him. 

 

1961

As only one of six students, graduates from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and returns to the states after a two year program. "...that's the proudest piece of paper I own," he would admit. Begins an eight year regional stage acting career with the Barter Theater in Abingdon, Virginia, the Association of Producing Artists (APA) in Ann Arbor, Michigan as well as the Boston Arts Festival, San Diego Shakespeare Festival, St. Paul (MN) Repertory Theater and the Fred Miller Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

 

April 25, 1962
After meeting fellow actor, Kate Geer (daughter of actors Will Geer and Herta Ware), while with the APA, Larry marries Kate in Carson City, Nevada.
Read more here and here.  A nice photo can be found here

 

1968

Begins getting roles on TV, beginning with shows like Judd for the Defense, The Outsider, and Bonanza. IMDB has his (mostly) complete filmography.

 

1970
His only child, Kelly Linville, is born. You can see a photo of her and her dad at the Producers Guild of America Golden Laurel Awards on March 4, 1992 here.

 

January 1972

Larry's parents divorce in Sacramento, CA.

 

September 17, 1972
The first episode of M*A*S*H airs on CBS, entitled “M*A*S*H  Pilot". Larry was cast in the role of Major Frank Burns, a character he would be forever linked with and identified by. In an interview, Linville says he based his portrayal of Burns on “every idiot I’ve ever known.” "The days on set were often 12-15 hours long and the pressure was very intense. However, the show was such a success because the cast "wasn't held together by teamwork," he said. They were held together by 'human chemistry.'" You can find an article about his home life here, an article about being on the show, here, and an article about his character, Frank, here.

 

1975

Larry and Kate divorce after a 15 year marriage. In February, Larry ends up in Dallas, TX for some guest appearances at the Windmill Dinner Theater in the show, "Send Me No Flowers". He meets future wife Vana Tribbey at this time.

 

September 20, 1977
Linville’s last M*A*S*H episode, “Fade In, Fade Out,” airs. The character of Frank Burns would prove to be both a blessing and a curse on his career. After M*A*S*H, an episode of the The Rockford Files is his only other TV credit for the year.

 

December 25, 1977 

Larry marries Vana Tribbey in San Antonio, Texas at the home of Vana's mother and stepfather. The groom was 38 and the bride was 25. Here is article about the nuptials. His parents were in attendence. Two screen cap photos of Vana and a video. Here's an article from the San Antonio Express.

 

September 7, 1978

Promising pilot for "Grandpa Goes to Washington" airs on NBC, but would only run for 7 episodes. Show star Jack Alberston became ill during the filming and passed away shortly after the last episode filmed, thereby ending the series after only 11 episodes.

 

April 9, 1981 

Another pilot for the Marla Gibbs' vehicle (and The Jeffersons' spin off), "Checking In" debuts on CBS, but due to a writers' strike (and likely studio executive decisions), only went 4 episodes and was promptly pulled. An interview with Marla Gibbs' on how the show likely wouldn't have lasted anyway and an interview with director, Jack Shea on how the show wasn't given a chance, can be found here.

 

April 20, 1982

After a 3 1/2 year marriage, divorces Vana Tribbey. Vana ends up marrying Paul Tinder, whom she met during filming for soap opera, "Another World" in or around 1981.  Larry marries wife #3 four days later.

 

April 24, 1982
Marries Real Estate agent, Melissa Gallant. The wedding was at the bride's grandmother's house in Palos Verdes, CA. Approximately 30 friends and family were in attendence and the reception was held on a yacht, where 150 guests sailed the San Pedro harbor for 2 hours. Article states that the couple was to go on a 2 month honeymoon. No M*A*S*H co-stars attended the wedding or reception. According to People Magazine, they "dropped the word 'obey' from their vows. 'The dog is supposed to,' explains the thrice-married Larry, 42. 'Other than that, we negotiate.'
 ...As soon as the Protestant minister pronounced them man and wife, Melissa turned to Larry and blurted, 'Gotcha!'"" Find an article clipping with photos here. (You might need a magnifier to read.) 

 

August 2, 1982 

Larry and Melissa appear on the TV Game Show, Tattletales, hosted by Burt Convy. Their opponents were Doug Davidson & Cindy Fisher and Gordon Jump & Anna Jump.

 

February 26, 1983 

Appears at a "Last M*A*S*H Bash" Charity event in Cleveland, OH to benefit the Rainbow Baby and Children's Hospital. A photo of Larry with James Brady at this event, can be found here. Wife Melissa can be seen in the background of this photo, upper right hand corner.

 

1984 

It is very probable that Larry began doing college visits and lectures before '84, but the earliest listing I could find was for this year. You can see an incomplete list here. An 1987 article mentions his wife Melissa accompanied him on all of his campus visits, but he was married to Susan at the time the article was published. Either the article's author was using old information or it was an unfortunate typo! You can see a list of schools he visited here. Larry's father, Harry also died this year, date unknown.

 

1985

After 2 1/2 years of marriage, Larry and Melissa divorce. He marries again about a year later.

 

October 15, 1986

Marries script editor Susan Hagan in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

 

April 1987

Is hired with most of the past M*A*S*H actors for a series of IBM commercials. Larry said he did it for 'fun and the money'. Most of the ads are on YouTube and are awesome to watch!

 

1991

Interviewed for Memories of M*A*S*H, a special to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the show.

 

1992

After about a 5 year marriage, divorces Susan Hagan. According to People Magazine, "Linville went through a bitter divorce from his fourth wife. That meant the shedding of his Hollywood trappings: 'I dumped the whole damn thing—the house, the terraced yard, the swimming pool, the hot tub, the gardener and the pool man.' Now he lives with his cat, Mad Max, in a condo in Arcadia, Calif., and works mainly on the Canadian stage. Linville's income is stretched by his M*A *S*H residuals ('just about enough to pay my car insurance'). He has no regrets over Leaving the show. 'It's my own choice to be stupid and basically run and jump off cliffs,' he says. 'I try to enjoy the fall before I get to the bottom. So far I haven't hit the bottom yet. I'm still flying.'"  

 

May 2, 1992

Larry appears on the Howard Stern Show and they briefly touch on his bad divorce from Susan without mentioning names. You can find the episode here.

 

 

Spring/April? 1994

Marries Deborah Guydon in Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, "[Larry] met his wife, Deborah, when he visited Chicago for a promotion sponsored by WCKG-FM 105.9, where she worked from 1988 to 1994 as a newscaster." 

 

June 15, 1997
Attends a deactivation ceremony for the last remaining U.S. MASH unit at Camp Humphreys, South Korea with M*A*S*H creator Larry Gelbart and David Ogden Stiers, who played Major Charles Winchester on the show.

 

February 12, 1998
Diagnosed with lung cancer. Has surgery to remove a small tumor behind his sternum and part of his lung. He was expected to go through chemo and radiation and make a full recovery.

 

April 10, 2000
After months of health problems and having only been admitted to the hospital a day earlier, Larry passes at the age of 60 of pneumonia in New York City due complications from lung cancer surgery from two years prior.

 

March 3, 2001

Premiere of the play entitled, "Seeds", by Larry and his wife Deborah written for and performed by the Winters' Community Theater. You can read about the plot and a review here.

 

 

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